On 30 June 2015, the Sport Intergroup of the European Parliament met in Brussels for its first meeting. Officially recognised by the European Parliament, the Intergroup’s aim is to assemble Members of the European Parliament from various political groups and committees to address themes relevant to sport.
After the opening of the meeting by the Intergroup co-president Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, stressed that Europe and sport share the same values such as solidarity and fair competition, highlighting the importance of sport in the modern society for its capacity to build communities and support social inclusion. He subsequently announced the establishment of High Level Groups on Grassroots Sport and on Sports Diplomacy. Moreover, the Commissioner briefly presented the European Week of Sport and revealed the names of additional ambassadors: British long distance runner Paula Radcliffe, Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, Austrian mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Finish javelin thrower Tapio Korjus, Spanish taekwondo practitioner Joel González and Belgian table tennis player Jean-Michel Saive joined Danka Barteková, Marie Bochet, Clarence Seedorf and Steven Gerrard (see article on EWoS in this report). Lastly, Mr Navracsics touched upon the topic of integrity and good governance in sport. He stated that the autonomy of sport has limits, insofar that “nobody should stay above the law”. Furthermore, he mentioned the work of the Expert Group on Good Governance. In the discussion, the Commissioner answered several questions on FIFA regarding the potential of sport in social inclusion or the financing of sport in the Erasmus+ Programme.
Subsequently, Robert Thillens, Commissioner for sport of the Luxembourg Presidency, presented their priorities for the second part of 2015.
Finally, Susanne Hollmann, deputy head of the Sport Unit of the European Commission presented the European Week of Sport (EWoS) by explaining the aim of the EWoS, its different focus days in September and informed about ambassadors and partner organisations.
The meeting was closed by MEP Marc Tarabella, who announced that the next Intergroup meeting will be held on 29 September and will deal with sport and ethics and more specifically with the awarding of major sport events.