On 21-22 November 2018, a Special Competence Seminar was organised in Brussels by the EOC EU Office. The aim of this meeting was to inform partners about recent EU policy developments and to exchange views on ongoing activities carried out within the different sport organisations. Participants came from various sport federations, such as the European Volleyball Federation (CEV), the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the European Hockey Federation (EHF), Rugby Europe, European Athletics, FIBA Europe, and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), as well as representatives from the NOCs of Finland, Austria, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Lithuania.
The two day meeting allowed for a comprehensive update on sport-related EU policies and a rich exchange of views on the European Sport Model and ways to safeguard it. The first day sought to give an overview on single policy fields at the EU level. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 was presented, with a description of some EU-funded programmes that are relevant for sport, such as Erasmus+, the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), InvestEU and LIFE, as well as EU external action programmes, including the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) III and the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). Other new developments and updates were also discussed, such as the Digital Single Market, the biannual time switch, the VAT policy, Brexit, main legal challenges for sport (Rule 40, Seraing Case, and FIBA vs. Euroleague) and the growing phenomenon of esports.
In addition, as part of the seminar’s first day programme, the EOC EU Office welcomed the participation of Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the Sport Unit at the European Commission, who provided an overview of the third EU Work Plan on Sport and then answered questions raised by the participants. A roundtable took place where partners shared their experiences on the different activities and projects being organised within their organisations.
The second day kicked off with a presentation about the European Sport Model (ESM) and a very engaging discussion about challenges and ways to promote and defend it at the European level. Participants were then divided into different groups where they discussed future priorities for sport and possible activities allowing for the implementation of the priorities:
- Organisation of sport in Europe;
- Enabling sport organisations to strengthen their governance and support clean athletes and competitions effectively;
- Increasing the participation of sport organisations in Erasmus+ and other EU programmes;
- Sport as a health-enhancing activity;
- Societal role of sport.
The seminar concluded with a presentation of the new 2019 Erasmus+ call and an analysis of the 2018 Erasmus+ call (number of projects, budget and differences between the 2018 and 2019 call in terms of funding), which was then followed by practical advice and individual project guidance. The EOC EU Office would like to thank all partners for their active participation in the discussions and encourage them all to apply for the next 2019 Erasmus+ programme!