For EU sports policy, 2020 is a year of new openings. Decision-makers are still negotiating on the new funding programmes for 2021–2027 – including the Erasmus+, the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The member states will also go through the process of constructing a new EU Work Plan for Sport. Since the White Paper on Sport in 2007, ENGSO has played a key role in fixing the focus of EU sports policy on grassroots sport. In 2020, we will keep on working to have EU sports policy and actions that are relevant for voluntary-based grassroots sport.
The ESF and ERDF programmes lay outside of the sports political sphere. Nonetheless, sport can and should play a tremendous role in fulfilling these programmes’ objectives. This potential, however, remains untapped in many European countries. To change this, the European Parliament is proposing amendments that enhance the possibilities for using sport as a tool for social inclusion and cohesion beyond Erasmus+. I sincerely hope that the member states would take these important amendments on board the ESF and ERDF programmes post-2020.
This year we will keep on actively promoting voluntary-based grassroots sports also on another European arena – the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) of the Council of Europe. While the EPAS member states are discussing topics such as the possible revision of the European Sports Charter, ENGSO’s role as counterpart in these discussions is more important than ever.
European sports policy – whether it’s the European Sports Charter, Erasmus+ or the Work Plan – must be relevant and realistic with regards to sport, while respecting its autonomy. In order for this to happen, representatives of the organised sports movement – such as ENGSO – must be involved and heard throughout the process.
Aside of sports policy, year 2020 will be busy for ENGSO’s events and projects. While the first results of the ENGSO-led CHAMP project are coming out, we are proud to launch the Erasmus+-funded SPIRIT project – tackling the important issue of sport and mental health. SPIRIT continues the work begun with our very successful ASPIRE project, both of which are supported by our key partner, the European Lotteries (EL).
I am extremely satisfied for publishing the news about continuing our partnership with EL in 2020–2021. The history of grassroots sport and the lotteries that support us are intertwined. Our renewed partnership is vital for further strengthening this connection for the future, at all levels – European, national, regional and local.
EL is a key partner also in building the third edition of the European Sport Platform, which will be organised in November 2020 in Vilnius, Lithuania. The preparations have begun, and we are looking forward to publishing the first news very soon.
The countdown towards the ENGSO General Assembly, organised on 5–7 June 2020 in the Faroe Islands, is also well underway. With the Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee as our host, we are warmly welcoming ENGSO members and partners to join us for this special occasion. Registration is now open, and I look forward to the prospect of seeing many of you there.