On 1 July, Austria took over the 6 month Presidency of the Council of the EU Council. Austria presidency will conclude the trio of presidencies composed with Estonia and Bulgaria (respectively second semester of 2017 and first semester of 2018).
In their programme, available on the Austrian Presidency website, the country reveals its three priorities for the upcoming semester:
- Security and the fight against illegal migration,
- Securing prosperity and competitiveness through digitalisation,
- Stability in the European neighbourhood – EU perspective of the Western Balkans/South Eastern Europe.
Without being directly related to sport these priorities can nevertheless have an impact on the sport sector:
- The Austrian Presidency will pursue the tough negotiations regarding Brexit and the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations associated with the Withdrawal Agreement have to be finalised by autumn 2018. Relationships with sport organisations coming from the UK may be impacted by these negotiations.
- Negotiations on the MFF post 2020 will also be conducted under the Presidency. In addition of discussing Erasmus programme, the objective for Austria is to strive for quick and efficient progress on the cohesion policy package (including ERDF, the cohesion fund and ESF+). The EOC EU Office is closely following the topic as these funds are crucial for sport organisations and the development of sport infrastructures.
- The Austrian Presidency will make efforts to achieve significant progress in having a more efficient, fair and transparent tax systems, which could have an effect on current tax regulations for sport activities.
- The Austrian Presidency “will devote special attention to the topic of gender equality and development” with a strong emphasis on issues such as women and education, women and health, combating violence against women and girls, etc. Thus, inequality between men and women participation in sport activities could be addressed through this area and sport organisations could be involved in this field.
Regarding the area of sport, the main focus of the Presidency will be the Economic Dimension of Sport. On 22 September, just before the opening of the European Week of Sport, the Presidency will host a conference on the topic, in Vienna. Further information has already been released in the previous edition of our Monthly report.
The EOC EU Office will keep you informed of developments during the Austrian Presidency.