Hungary has been leading the EU during 2011 first semester. Could you let us know the first outcomes of the Presidency in the field of sport?
AC: The field of sport in the European Union is quite a new area where the EU can complement or support national actions. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Member States have been waiting for the initiative of the European Com-mission which is a Communication called “Developing the European Dimension in sport”.
Based on the Communication, the Hungarian EU Presidency led the process of working out a three-year EU Work Plan for Sport for 2011-2014 together with the other 26 Member States and the European Commission. As sport is a new area in the Council, we have met quite different opinions at the beginning, but Member States were constructive during the debates, so that the Council adopted a resolution on a EU Work Plan for Sport on 20 May. I think this is a success.
Could you please present the Work Plan briefly?
AC: Together with the Commission’s Communication and the White Paper on Sport, the main objective of the Work Plan is to strengthen the cooperation in the field of sport between the Member States and the European Commission.
The following themes will be given the priority:
- Integrity of sport, in particular the fight against doping, match-fixing and the promotion of good governance.
- Social values of sport, in particular health, social inclusion, education and volunteering.
- Economic aspects of sport, in particular sustainable financing of grassroots sports and evidence-based policy making.
In order to address these priorities, the Member States and the Commission agreed to establish six expert groups with a clear indication of desired action and output by a given target date. This makes our work in the EU more transparent and productive.
Besides the EU Work Plan for Sport, what were the other high points of your Presidency?
AC: Following the adoption of the Commission’s Communication, the Informal Meeting of EU Sport Ministers together with the EU Sport Forum were organised in Budapest this February.
The topics discussed during those for a were of prime importance, such as the future of funding of sport in the EU. This topic was a key priority for the Hungarian Presidency and I personally believe that there is a need for a specific sport programme latest after 2013.
Furthermore, another crucial issue addressed - apart from the formal session of the Council on 20 May - was sport-related aspects of on-line betting, which was discussed in a “high-level structured dialogue” between EU and national public authorities and representatives from the sports movement.
This topic has been an actively discussed one recently especially through the adoption of the Green paper on online gambling. Finally I would like to mention the issue of EU coordination before the WADA Foundation Board meeting which we also managed with good success with the help of the European Commission.
I think that as a whole, the Hungarian Presidency team did a good job. The Work Plan is adopted, and we also put interesting themes on the agenda which will allow forthcoming Presidencies to decide about the best follow-up.