What is it about?

Under the political leadership of Commissioner Navracsics, the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture set up two High level groups on Sport Diplomacy and Grassroots Sport.

Each group was composed of experienced personalities with different backgrounds including academics, former athletes, representatives of major sport organisations and think thanks as well as politicians having exercised high-level responsibilities in the field of sport.

The two High level groups dealt with the following topics:

  • Sport Diplomacy

The group identified how sport can play a more significant role in helping the EU reach its external policy goals as well as how sport could be a tool to promote European values.

  • Grassroots Sport

The group evaluated the place and the role of grassroots sport in Europe and provided ideas on how the EU could better support grassroots sport.

Why is it needed?

Each High level group had its own work schedule with specific tasks to be fulfilled by June 2016, including a report with a set of recommendations addressed to the Commission for possible future actions.

The group on sport diplomacy discussed:

  • Sport's potential to contribute to the EU's new strategy on cultural diplomacy
  • Sport's capacity to embody and communicate European values
  • The ways in which the EU could support the use of sport as a tool for development
  • The ways in which the EU could support grassroots sport in third countries
  • Tools which could be used by the EU to better support European sport, its specificities, its values and its events outside Europe

The group on grassroots sport discussed:

  • The societal importance of grassroots sport in the EU (e.g. social inclusion)
  • The ways in which the EU could better support grassroots sport
  • Models of governance and funding across EU Member States
  • The contribution of grassroots sport to the economy
  • The links between professional sport and grassroots sport
  • Best practices on the promotion of grassroots sport in Member States

What has been done?

The two High level groups started their work in the second half of 2015 and delivered important results in the form of reports in June 2016:

  • Report on Sport Diplomacy

It emphasizes sport's potential as a tool for development cooperation and demonstrates that sport diplomacy can help overcome cultural differences and bring people together. The experts have prepared 15 recommendations in 3 areas:

  • EU external relations
  • Promotion of EU values in the context of major sport events and advocacy
  • Development of an organisational culture of sport diplomacy.
  • Report on Grassroots Sport

It explored ways to enhance positive fundamental values such as tolerance, integration and intercultural dialogue as well as to measure the economic impact of grassroots sport and make suggestions about how the Commission could better promote grassroots sport through policy initiatives or programme priorities.

The European Commission  followed up by organising  a second Seminar on Sport Diplomacy in  December 2017 to take stock of the  state of play concerning sport in international relations and to present the latest development in the field since the first Sport Diplomacy Seminar in December 2016.

Find out more

Meeting Minutes and Reports



Sport Diplomacy

Grassroots Sport






(fran├žais) (deutsche)

Deliverable SD



29/06/2016 Choose translations of the previous link
(fran├žais) (deutsche)

Deliverable GS


 Seminar 06/12/2017