Sport is an area of relatively new responsibilities for the EU, acquired only with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009. The EU is responsible for developing evidence-based policy, as well as fostering cooperation and managing initiatives across Europe to support physical activity and sport. A specific budget line was made available for the first time in the 2014-2020 period under the Erasmus+ program to support sport projects and networks.
The EU is working towards achieving the goals of greater equity and openness in sporting competitions and greater protection of sport practitioners ‘ moral and physical integrity while taking into account the specific nature of sport. In particular, the EU covers three sport activity areas:
(1) the role of sport in society;
(2) its economic dimension; and
(3) the sport sector’s political and legal framework.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
White Paper on sport and the Pierre de Coubertin action plan (2007)
The first’ complete initiative’ in sport by the EU was the White Paper on Sport for July 2007 from the Commission. The Commission has collected useful evidence on issues to be addressed in the future through the implementation of the proposed measures. Several objectives were envisaged in the White Paper, such as enhancing the role of sport in society, promoting public health through physical activity, boosting voluntary activity, enhancing the economic dimension of sport and the free movement of players, combating doping, corruption and money laundering, and controlling media rights, among many other objectives.
Developing the European dimension in sport
This is the Commission’s first policy document on sport adopted since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force. This communication stresses the potential of sport to contribute substantially to the overall objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, recognizing that sport enhances employability and supports social integration.
The communication from the Commission also proposes that the EU should sign the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention, develop and implement safety measures and safety requirements for international sports events, make progress to implement national objectives based on the guidelines on physical activity and develop standards for disabled access to sports events and venues and the EU’s physical activities.
EU Work Plans for Sport (2014-2017 and 2017-2020)
The EU Sport Work Plan represents the European Sports Policy’s most important document. The Council adopted the first plan in its 20 May 2011 Resolution, and the second in its 21 May 2014 Resolution.Three priorities were set out in the 2014-2017 plan: sport integrity, its economic dimension and the sports-society relationship. The Member States and the Commission have established five expert groups in order to deal with these topics of priority, which cover match-fixing, good governance, the economic dimension of sport, health-improving physical activity (HEPA) and the development of sports human resources.
The new EU work program for sport (2017-2020) was adopted by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council at the Sports Meeting on 23 May 2017. The overall objective is:
– Sports integrity, with emphasis on governance, child safety and the fight against matchfixing, doping and corruption;
– The economic dimension of the sport and digital single market innovation;
– Focusing on social inclusion, coaches, media, environment, health, education and sport diplomacy.
In the 2014-2020 EU Education, Training, Youth and Sport program, sport is a part of Erasmus+. 1.8% of the annual budget for Erasmus+ is spent on sport-related activities in order to support European sports partnerships and not-for-profit European sports events. The program should also help strengthen the foundation for the establishment of policy, i.e. fund studies. Тhe program also supports dialog with relevant EU stakeholders.
A proposal for a Regulation laying down a future Erasmus Program (2021-2027) on 30 May 2018 was published by the Commission, in which sport has maintained a 1.8% share of the budget and is currently covered by key actions (Learning Mobility and Political Development Support and Cooperation). The Commission proposal is being reviewed by both Parliament and the Council at the moment.
European Week of Sport
In its 2012 European Parliament Resolution, the European Sports Week (ESW) promote physical activity by Europeans and support it by Erasmus+. In fact, 59 percent of Europeans never or rarely practice or play sports. Тhese data are obtained from have been shown by a Eurobarometer survey. This leads to an increase in the spending on the health care sector, loss of productivity at work and lower employee life as negative impacts. The EU promotes the European Sports Week at EU, national, regional and local level to raise awareness among its citizens each year.
Sports and migrants
The EU’s priority for sport’s role in society is social inclusion. Sport can make an important contribution to the integration of migrants in the EU by uniting people, building communities and fighting xenophobia and racism. The European Commission facilitates the exchange of best practices on migrants ‘ integration. A study examining how sport supports the integration of migrants throughout Europe was published by the Commission in September 2016. The Commission also supports migrants ‘ social inclusion projects and networks through the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Erasmus+ programme. Projects like the European Sport Inclusion Network— Promoting equal opportunities for migrants and minorities in European sports clubs by means of voluntary activities and social inclusion and volunteering.
Sport is one of the main tools that the European Union takes into account in improving the quality of life of the young European population. This is evidenced by the many existing programs and policies that have been initiated by the European Union and are under way as a result of studies and research that demonstrate the benefits of sport and active lifestyles. Inactivity is one of the main problems of modern society and it is both an economic and a social obstacle. This also raises the desire to adequately counteract against disadvantage of the stagnant way of life. Another problem that enters public life is the excessive use of steroids and medications that enhance body mass growth processes. This is definitely an obstacle to be taken into account, given that those affected by these problems are young people, who yet have the opportunity to unleash their potential in society.
Efforts need to be directed towards building an information network that benefits young people, highlighting the benefits of sporting activities. The activities in this project are designed to show the young that sport is useful and at the same time can be fun. Playing sports ‘ health benefits include proper weight management, effective heart function, control of diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, increased blood circulation, and lower levels of hypertension and stress. It contributes to muscle toning and bone reinforcement. It also contributes to good energy, discipline and respect for one another.
Sports practice is vital for young people’s integral development, for their physical and emotional health and for the development of precious social relationships. It provides opportunities for play and self-expression, particularly for young people who have few oppurtunities in their lives. Sport also offers healthy alternatives to harmful measures, such as drug abuse and crime involvement. Physical education is a key part of quality education in schools. In addition to promoting physical activity, physical training programs have been shown to correlate them with enhanced academic achievement.