On 1 July Germany took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. For six months, meaning until the end of December, Germany will be responsible for preparing numerous meetings and coordinating decision-making within the Council. As was the case with Croatia before, Germany must shift from its originally planned priorities during its Presidency in order to focus on managing the Covis-19 crisis.
On 1 September, the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Mr Stephan Mayer, presented the priorities of the German Council Presidency to the CULT Committee of the European Parliament.
Mr Mayer said that the main task is to draft and adopt the new EU Work Plan for Sport. This new Work Plan shall be adopted on 1 December during the meeting of the European Sport Ministers. Its implementation shall start from 2021 onwards. According to the initial proposal by the German Presidency, the new Work Plan would revolve around three main themes:
· Strengthening value-based sport
· Socio-economic and environmental dimension of sport
· Promotion of physical activity
Mayer did not specify which concrete topics are addressed by this as it is up to the negotiations between the Member States. However, he stressed the need to involve organised sport in the implementation of the work plan:
"Sport in Europe is mainly driven by civil society. It is therefore of great importance for us to respect the autonomy of sport. For this reason, it is essential for us that experts from the sports movement and other stakeholders in the field of sport are involved and can contribute to the implementation of the Work Plan. This is the only way to ensure that our EU policies have a practical impact".
The EOC EU Office had already published a comprehensive position paper in June on its expectations concerning the upcoming Work Plan. Director Folker Hellmund subsequently had the opportunity to present the Office's proposals to the Sport Directors of the Ministries of the EU Member States on 25 June.
As a second important priority of the German Council Presidency Mr. Mayer mentioned the promotion of cross-sectoral cooperation for more sport, physical activity and social cohesion:
"It would be useful to establish closer links between sport and, for example, school, health, youth, social affairs, public space, urban and rural development, environment, mobility, employment and tourism. In this context, it is important to make it clear to the decision makers in other policy areas that they can also better achieve their own sectoral objectives through cooperation with the field of sport".
Against this background, the German Presidency conference during the European Week of Sport also dealt with the topic, as the conference name revealed: "Partnerships for Physical Activity and Sport - Be(come) Active! (You may find a separate article on the Conference also in this Monthly Report). In addition, Council conclusions on the subject are planned to be adopted in December together with the new Work Plan for Sport.
Finally, the German Presidency will also address the impact of Covid-19 on sport. A study on this issue by the EU Commission is expected in November 2020.
In addition, an informal meeting of EU Sport Directors is planned for 9-10 December in Hamburg. Due to the pandemic, the meeting is expected to take place online.