PtG Article 07.07.2006

EU Commission will produce White Paper on sport next year

Sport will be high on the agenda of the European Commission for the next year. EU Commissioner Jan Figel has decided to produce a ”White Paper on the Role of Sport in Europe” in 2007 and a lengthy consultation process with sports actors in Europe began at a conference in Bruxelles last week.

A White Paper is a document which contains proposals for European Community action in a specific area. At the moment, the European Commission has no competence with regards to sport but nevertheless the Commission believes that the time is right for developing a more comprehensive approach to sport.

”At a time where the debate on public governance questions in sport is high on the agenda at alle levels, the Commission is facing expectations from sport actors to better promote its special characteristics in EU policy making,” explains Pierre Mairesse, Director of  the Commission’s programme on ”Youth, Sport, and Relations with the Citizen”.

The aim of the White Paper is to describe the current situation of sport in Europe, identify challenges and make proposals for the way forward.

Open online consultation in autumn

First steps in the production of the White Paper were taken at a consultation conference in Bruxelles last week where organisations ranging from economic heavy weights such as the  British FA over European sports federations to smaller interests groups and NGO’s discussed the societal role of sport, the economic impact of sport and the organisation of sport.

In September the process continues. The EU Commission will contact European sports federations directly before opening up an online consultation in autumn which is open to everyone with a stake in sport.

The Finnish government took over the EU presidency on 1 July, and it has promised its full support to the production of a White Paper on Sport. Amongst other things, the Finnish presidency will organise a meeting for sports ministers in November 2006.

”The White Paper will be crucial in evaluating current challenges and set up a framework for EU policy,” said Raija Mattila, who is Director of the Sports Division in the Finnish Ministry of Education.

She also said that the Finnish government during its presidency would put particular emphasis on anti-doping, the role of sport in promoting health and sport as a voluntary activity.