On 6 September 2019, the EOC EU Commission met at the EOC EU Office in Brussels, to discuss EU topics having an impact on sport as well as to exchange with the current Finnish Presidency of the EU. It was the second meeting of the current EOC EU Commission.
The meeting brought together representatives of nine National Olympic Committees who are members of the Commission (full list here) along with representatives of the EOC EU Office. Before an exchange of views with Heidi Sulander, Chair of the Sport Working Party from the current Finnish EU Presidency, the meeting focused on four key topics of relevance for the participants:
- Follow-up of EU elections
- Specific activities towards NOCs
- Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027
- The European Sport Model
Updates on EU policy fields
For all topics, the presentation started with a state of play regarding the situation at EU level before discussing the ongoing and future activities of the EOC EU Office and the EOC EU Commission.
The first topic that was addressed after the general introduction was the follow-up of the elections of the European Parliament in May 2019. After an analysis of the results and a presentation of the key actors, Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, explained the process, which will lead to the election of the new EU Commission. Then, participants discussed the activities needed with the MEPs having an interest for sport topics as well as with the new Commissioner in charge of Sport.
The next topic on the agenda was the follow-up of the questionnaire sent last year by the EOC EU Commission and the EOC EU Office to all NOCs regarding EU affairs. Some relevant outcomes have been mentioned:
- 46 NOCs answered the questionnaire and nominated a contact person for EU matters
- Main interests for the NOCs are the EU funding possibilities as well as key political discussions e.g. related to the European Sport Model and integrity
Members of the Commission explored the gap between the answers provided in the questionnaire regarding the interest for the EU projects (e.g. 80% with a strong interest to be partners) and the actual figures (e.g. 20 NOCs involved in 2019). Having an employed person dedicated to support NOCs in project applications and promotion of the involvement of non-EU countries during EOC events were some solutions discussed by the participants.
For the next topic, Heidi Pekkola made an overview on the current negotiations at the EU level regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 stressing the work done by the Office to promote sport in the different financial programmes, notably Erasmus+, but also ERDF, ESF+, IPA III and NDICI.
To conclude this session, the current discussions and cases at EU and national level as well as their impact on the European Sport Model were presented. Other relevant topics for sport were also mentioned, such as the relations with the Council of Europe, VISA policy or the question of micro-plastics and E-sport.
Discussion with Heidi Sulander
Heidi Sulander, Chair of the Sport Working Party from the current Finnish EU Presidency started her presentation by introducing the general priorities of the Finnish Presidency as well as those in the field of sport. Then, she presented the different activities planned during the upcoming months with a specific focus on the Conference organised during the European Week of Sport (see separate article), and the Council of Sport Ministers in November.
To conclude the day, all Commission members were invited to attend the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme where Juri Tamm, Chair of the EOC EU Commission, and Niels Nygaard, EOC Vice-President, handed over trophies on the behalf of EOC EU Commission to the best Young athletes of the Youth competition.