On 26 November the Council adopted the first ever Council Recommendation in sport, notably on promoting health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA). It also adopted Council conclusions on the ‘Contribution of sport to the EU economy, and in particular to addressing youth unemployment and social inclusion’. The Council also held a policy debate on ‘Good governance in sport’.
The EYCS Council (Education, Youth, Culture and Sport) met in Brussels on 25 and 26 November 2013 (see Council press release).
The initiative aims at encouraging the development and implementation of effective HEPA policies in the Member States. Commissioner Vassiliou welcomed the adoption of this initiative as a big achievement and real step forward. There was a shared understanding that more can be done together to address the high rates of physical inactivity in the EU and the economic and social costs related to it. The Recommendation is based on a proposal that the Commission adopted on 28 August. The implementation of the new initiative will now require joint efforts and the Commission confirmed its intention to support this process, for example by providing financial support from the Sport Chapter of Erasmus+. The implementation of this HEPA Recommendation "on the ground" should start soon. It will be a main task for the Commission, in collaboration with the WHO, and for the Member States in 2014.
Text of the recommendation
These conclusions were welcomed by Commissioner Vassiliou as they show that the sport sector is an employment-intensive growing industry and can contribute to addressing youth unemployment. She appreciated the references to sport as a tool for facilitating young people's access to the labour market and confirmed the Commission's intention to support this through EU funding instruments
Text of the conclusions - Corrigendum
The discussion under this agenda point started with the contribution of Ms Sylvia Schenk, an external speaker from Transparency International. The Council then had a policy debate, inter alia based on the principles on good governance developed by the respective Expert Group established in the framework of the EU Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014.
Commissioner Vassiliou recalled the 2011 Communication on “Developing the European Dimension of Sport” and underlined that the respect of fundamental principles such as democracy, transparency and accountability does not imply an optimal management of sport organisations. This is the reason why the Commission had decided to give concrete support to promoting good governance through the selection of 8 projects in this area under the 2011 Preparatory Action for Sport and indicated its intention to use the governance principles for sport contained in the recommendations of the Expert Group 'Good Governance' as reference in the implementation of the Sport Chapter of Erasmus+. The debate showed a broad consensus on the need to take action to fight against match fixing, doping and corruption but also to share best practice and pursue the elaboration of the principles agreed by the Expert Group Good Governance. Dialogue with sport organisations is important also to ensure the right balance between the autonomy of sport organisations and the intervention of public authorities.