Inclusion through sport will be on the agenda of the Spanish Presidency of the EU

Pilar Barrero_webAs the Spanish mandate at the Head of the Council of the EU approaches, Pilar Barrero García, Counsellor of Sport at the Spanish Representation to the EU, gives us a first look at Spain’s sport priorities for the EU during the last semester of 2023.

At the national scale, the Spanish government guarantee support for sports federations to carry out inclusive sports projects. In the framework of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU, what place will you give to inclusiveness in and through sport?

Promoting inclusion through sport is a high relevant matter for the Government of Spain. In this regard, safe environments for practising sports are included in the program priorities of the Spanish Presidency to the Council of the EU. Being able to count on safe environments for the development of a wide range of diverse and plural sport practices means working in favour of inclusion. Safety and accessibility in sport practices and in the development of small, medium, and large-scale sporting events seem fundamental issues in terms of building up inclusive societies. The adoption of rules and mechanisms by public authorities or competent bodies will be part of the agenda to foster inclusive sport initiatives to guarantee the healthy conditions of people for practising sport, as well as the effectiveness of procedures, protocols, and systems of protection in violence, abuse, and verbal, physical or psychological harassment situations.

In its post COVID-19 recovery plan, the Spanish government intends to mobilize its EU funds to promote both cultural and sport industries. According to you, how could this leverage be activated at the EU scale?

The Spanish Government has launched the mobilisation of European funds through the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan to minimize the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on sport and many other sectors, for instance the cultural and creative industry dramatically affected. The sport sector will receive a strong investment that might be underlined in a triple aspect: digitisation of the main sports organisations, optimisation of sports facilities in relation to their sustainability and promotion of physical activity.
In terms of promoting sport at the EU level, it might be interesting to point out the development of coordinated working programs for fostering healthy lifestyle habits through sport and physical activity aimed at reducing risk factors for non-communicable diseases, in addition to improving the quality of life and independence of the elderly, delaying physical fragility. As it has been already underlined, practising sport bring positive benefits for a comprehensive well-being to European citizens, as well as promoting relevant values such as the importance of considering equality and inclusion in the practice of sport activities or in terms of sport events organisation.


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