New EU Commissioner for Sport
The team of Juncker also includes a new Commissioner for Sport. Tibor Navracsics from Hungary will take up this portfolio in combination with Education, Culture and Youth. The nomination of Navracsics had steered criticism in recent weeks, first by the European Parliament which requested Juncker for a change in the portfolio, and secondly, by the European Sports Movement over the fact that sport had been overlooked in the initial version of the Commission.
Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, expressed his approval over the decision to finally include sport in the official portfolio: "It's better late than never. I am happy to see that Mr. Juncker has heard our message, which was backed by the European Parliament. Sport represents 3.7% of European GDP, employs 15 million persons and is essential to social cohesion, public health and economic growth. In times when European society needs exactly that, it makes sense to put sport high on the EU agenda. We are looking forward working with the new EU Commission to help sport brings its full potential to European citizens".
Also Patrick Hickey, President of the EOC, welcomed the inclusion of sport in the final portfolio of the Commissioner: “We are pleased that the role of sport in European society has been properly recognised with this correction and I hope that this is the start of more meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders in Europe who want to place sport higher up on the EU agenda. I am confident that if the EU firmly embraces sport it can be a force for good in Europe’s social development and peaceful coexistence”.
However several other Commissioners will be important for sport, considering the broad range of policy fields on the European Agenda which have a potential impact on sport: health, tax policy, data protection, trade, visa policy, social inclusion, gender equality, regional policy, intellectual property rights, gambling regulation, etc.