COUNCIL ADOPTS EU WORK PLAN FOR SPORT 2017-2020
A third framework to address key priorities in sport
The EU Work Plan for Sport is a multi-annual framework, by which the Council establishes the priorities and objectives of sport policy at European level. The current Work Plan for the period 2014-2017 is ending after the first half of this year and the framework for the next years was being discussed in the Council Working Party on Sport.
In the resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 21 May 2014 on the second (and now former) European Union Work Plan for Sport (2014-2017) three areas were identified as main concern for the EU.
- Integrity of sport, in particular anti-doping, the fight against match-fixing, protection of minors, good governance and gender equality;
- The economic dimension of sport, in particular sustainable financing of sport, the legacy of major sport events, economic benefits of sport and innovation;
- Sport and society, in particular HEPA, volunteering, employment in sport as well as education and training in sport.
In preparation for the third EU Work Plan for Sport, the European Commission published its final report on the last Plan’s evaluation in January 2017. This evaluation was based on a questionnaire sent to Member States and Member States’ experts as well as to observers participating in the Expert Groups, among which Sport and Citizenship. According to the Commission’s evaluation, the second Work Plan has met expectations, although some areas for improvement were identified.
The Commission outlined four general improvements:
- adapting the time frame to coincide with the end of the financial period in 2020,
- more flexibility during the implementation of the Work Plan,
- increased interaction with other policy fields,
- a reinforcement of synergies with the Erasmus+ programme.
The Commission also recommended a stronger focus on implementing the practical outcomes and existing results of the first two EU Work Plans.
A plan for continuity
On May 23, the Council of the European Union adopted the new EU Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020. The Work Plan defines the priorities and the agenda for the EU sport policy for the next three years.
The work plan has a limited number of policy tackling key issues (match-fixing, fighting again doping and improving good governance in sport). Combatting corruption, safeguarding minors or developing links between sport and the digital single market are some of the issues put forward.
Particular emphasis seems to be put on issues related to the organization of sport, at professional and grassroots level.This EU Work Plan for Sport should be a tool to promote the positive contributions of sport, including its health-enhancing effects, social inclusion mechanisms and volunteering aspects. With 210 million inactive Europeans and a cost of 80bn euros per year in the EU, no doubt that the fight against sedentarity will remain an important challenge on the agenda of Brussel’s institutions.
In addition, Ministers also adopted conclusions on sport as platform for social inclusion and discussed how to develop a media policy supporting social objectives in sport.