EU Seminar within the Framework of the 22nd General Assembly

EU Seminar within the Framework of the 22nd General Assembly; Photo: Andrej Pisl©

On 16 May 2014, the ENGSO EU Seminar was organised within the framework of the 22ndENGSO General Assembly in Nice, informing participants about the recent developments at the European level.

The EU Seminar kicked off with an EU sport policy update presented by Yves Le Lostecque, Head of Sport Unit of the European Commission, who emphasised the important strategic partnership between the Sport Unit and ENGSO.

"ENGSO is a strategic partner of the European Commission's Sport Unit" - stated Mr. Le Lostecque, who also provided essential information to the representatives of ENGSO's member organisations about current European sport topics. For example, he presented the Erasmus+ Programme, European Week of Sport and the EU Council Work Plan 2014-2017, which is expected to be adopted by the EU Sport Ministers in their meeting on 21 May.

After having an overview on recent EU sport policy actions, Heidi Pekkola, ENGSO Sports Policy Director, expressed the position of ENGSO on the future EU Work Plan 2014-2017. She declared that, in general, ENGSO welcomes the new Work Plan which recognises the societal role of sport. ENGSO is especially satisfied about the inclusion of the topics on health-enhancing physical activity, physical education in schools and volunteering in the Work Plan and in the topics discussed in future Expert Groups.

Having discussed the latest EU issues, the attention was turned towards the Council of Europe, namely towards the Convention on the fight against manipulation of sports competitions, which is expected to be ratified this year. Harri Syvsalmi, Chairman of the EPAS Convention Drafting Committee and Director of Sports Division in the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, gave an comprehensive presentation on the Convention's background, purpose, and main objectives. He also explained the next steps in the adoption process.

The focus of the EU Seminar was then altered to specific issues. First, ENGSO Executive Committee Member Sallie Barker introduced the EU Proposal for Strategic Action 2014-2020 on Gender Equality in Sport. Mrs. Barker was deeply involved in the drafting process as the Rapporteur of the EU Group of Experts on Gender Equality in Sports. She especially highlighted the EU Proposal's objectives and activities on gender quality in coaching, since ENGSO is preparing a project application for EU funds in this field.

Secondly, Romana Caput-Jogunica, Executive Committee Member representing ENGSO at the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, presented the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020: a plan endorsed by the Greek Presidency with the goal to stop the rise in overweight and obesity of children. The Action Plan serves as a basic document for the Platform's future commitments, which are agreements made by Platform members to take action in achieving a particular goal. For example, ENGSO made a commitment for 2014 on the topic "the role of health in grassroots sport". Mrs. Caput-Jogunica also called on ENGSO member organisations to co-operate as well as to share their activities in this field.

The last topic of the EU Seminar was the Eurobarometer on Sport and Physical Activity 2013, a survey collecting data in 28 EU Member States on sport and physical activity. With highlighting 4 main findings concerning sports organisations, ENGSO Assistant Orsolya Tolnay raised awareness among the participants not only about the Eurobarometer survey itself, but also about the importance the survey serves in the European evidence-based policy making.