Commission proposes more and new forms of EU funding for sport

On 30 May 2018, the European Commission published their proposal for EU funding for sport post-2020. Along with doubling the entire Erasmus budget, the sport chapter would also be doubled from €265 million in 2014–2020 to €550 million in 2021–2027.

Sport’s proportion of the Erasmus programme would stay at 1,8 %. The entire Erasmus budget has been proposed to mount to €30 billion in the next so-called multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021–2027.

The proposed Erasmus programme has three crosscutting key actions, which will also apply to sport as follows:

1. Learning mobility: the mobility of sport coaches and staff

2. Cooperation among organisations and institutions:

a. partnerships for cooperation and exchange of practices, including small-scale partnerships to foster a wider and more inclusive access to the Programme

b. not for profit sport events aiming at further developing the European dimension of sport

3. Support for policy development and cooperation (implemented by the European Commission)

Learning mobility for sport means supporting the professional development of coaches, managers, instructors, dual careers providers, etc, through the implementation of activities such as transnational or international training courses, contact-making events, study visits, job shadowing, observation periods, etc.

“Learning mobility will be a fantastic opportunity for grassroots sports organisations to develop the skills of their staff and volunteers. We’re hoping that the increase in funding would be enough to allow a comprehensive enough mobility programme, as well as allow an additional injection of funds to partnerships and events” says ENGSO Policy Director Kaisa Larjomaa.

“Of course the negotiations with the European Parliament and the EU member states is yet to be had, but we hope that the result will give an ever stronger basis for international collaboration and development of grassroots sports” she adds.

The Commission aims to achieve a consensus on the long-term budget between the European Parliament and the Member States in 2019, making the transition between the consecutive budgetary terms smooth, and guaranteeing an uninterrupted access to funds for all beneficiaries.

As part of the multiannual budget proposal, the Commission published their proposals on numerous other funding instruments that also have the potential to benefit sport. The proposed European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) merges the existing European Social Fund with the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) and the EU Health programme. The proposed ESF+ for 2021–2027 would be worth €101,2 billion.

The proposed ESF+ regulation carries within it several specific objectives which sport and physical activity may help achieve, including a healthy working environment, active and healthy ageing, lifelong learning, active inclusion and social integration. The ESF+ is the EU’s main tool in implementing the social dimension, and the Member States would be required to allocate at least 25% of the national ESF+ resources for promoting social inclusion and tackling poverty. Those countries that have a substantial number of young people not in employment, education or training, will have to dedicate at least10 % of the ESF+ funding to support young people. One of the goals of the Health strand of the ESF+ programme is supporting health promotion and disease prevention – physical inactivity is mentioned as one of the health risks.

As well as the ESF, the Cohesion Funds have been a source of funding for sport related projects in the ongoing financial term. The Commission is proposing to cut the funding of Cohesion Policy by 7% to €373 billion in 2021–2027, and increase the co-financing rates for the regions, possibly reducing the accessibility to the funds. Sport organisations have the potential to contribute to programme priorities in areas such as skills development, social inclusion, sustainable urban development and locally-led development strategies, and find resources for the renovation of sport infrastructure under the priority of energy efficiency.

Furthermore, the European Commission is proposing to allocate €1.26 billion to the European Solidarity Corps in 2021–2027. The programme aims to engage at least 350,000 young Europeans in supporting communities through volunteering, traineeships and job placements in the areas of e.g. citizenship and democratic participation, climate action, health and wellbeing, physical education and sport, and cooperation across borders.

As a crosscutting feature, the European Commission has also proposed to simplify the application and grant management procedures, which means that grassroots sports organisations would have a better access to the EU funds.

You may follow the negotiation and adoption process of the MFF 2021–2027 on the Commission website here.

Further information:

Press release on the Erasmus programme

Press release on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), Globalisation Adjustment Fund, and Justice, Rights and Values Fund

Press release on the Regional Development and Cohesion Funds

Press release on the European Solidarity Corps

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