ENGSO: Keep "sport" in the Commissioner's title!

On 2 October 2019, ENGSO approached EU leaders with a letter stating our position on the title of Commissioner-designate responsible for sport.

Honorable European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel,

Honorable Members of the European Parliament,

During its past mandate, the European Commission has actively and constructively contributed to the development of the European dimension of sport, enhancing EU level support for grassroots sport via various initiatives. Commissioner Tibor Navracsics was the first Commissioner to hold the title of European Commissioner for [Education, Culture, Youth and] Sport. The inclusion of the word sport in the title has undoubtedly played a great part in putting the emphasis on sport not only as physical activity and health promotion, but also a means to promote and spread European values and to strengthen our communities and societies.

We at the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation (ENGSO) are extremely worried that the exclusion of sport from the Commissioner’s title (currently presented as Innovation and Youth) will reverse this positive trend and shift the focus away from sport.

We are kindly requesting President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen to reconsider her proposal and add sport to the current denomination of Youth and Innovation. We are asking MEPs to support our request to include sport in the future Commissioner’s title.

Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel stated in her excellent written answers to the Members of European Parliament: As for sport, I believe the EU plays an increasingly important role. We help Member States identify common challenges and elaborate possible solutions in close cooperation with all stakeholders concerned and in full respect of the autonomy of sport organisations.

Her chosen priorities (integrity of sport; sport for health and inclusion; the economic impact of sport; and developing grassroots sport) underline the importance of keeping sport high on the agenda. Leaving sport out of the title contradicts with the notion of the EU playing “an increasingly important role” in the area of sport, and puts the implementation of these priorities at risk.

We thank you for taking our request into consideration and wish you a most successful mandate.

In Stockholm, 2 October 2019

Stefan Bergh, ENGSO President

Kaisa Larjomaa, ENGSO Secretary General