Council discusses legacy of major sport events
At the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting on 20 and 21 May, ministers discussed how to improve long term benefits of hosting major sport events.
The organisation of major sport events has a mixed record of results over the past 40 years. In the current situation of economic and financial crisis, the question rises on how to improve the cost-benefit ratio of hosting major sport events in Europe. The lasting, long term benefits of these events should include not only economic, but also sociocultural and environmental aspects.
Ministers welcomed a presentation by guest speaker Mr. Gordon Arthur on the organisation of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. They then proceeded to share best practices and concerns related to the impact of organising major sport events in the member states.
The main point raised during this debate was the possibility of co-hosting major events. This would allow to share financial costs and foster EU cooperation. It would also make it possible for smaller member states to participate and would help avoid the issue of competing European bids.
Other issues pointed out by ministers were:
- the need for states and cities to take into account whether the infrastructures proposed are necessary for local communities, and therefore will bring long term benefits to the region
- the need for international federations to be involved by promoting good governance and the use of existing facilities
- the need for the European Union to be involved in the debate on respect of human rights by hosting countries
Other main items on the agenda
The Council adopted a resolution on a work plan for youth. This 18 month work plan aims to address the consequences of the current crisis on young people, by focusing on three priorities:
- development of youth work and non-formal and informal training
- enhancement of cross-sectorial cooperation within the framework of EU strategies
- empowerment, with a particular focus on access to rights, autonomy, participation and active citizenship
Ministers also discussed the importance of promoting entrepreneurship among young people, and adopted conclusions on this point.
The Commission briefed the Council on the state of play of negotiations with the US on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership agreement (TTIP). Audiovisual and other cultural services have generally been excluded from negotiating mandates with third countries, including in this case, to guarantee the protection of cultural diversity. However, it is understood that the US keeps showing interest in discussing several areas of EU audiovisual policy. The Commission confirmed its commitment to uphold the given mandate, and several member states expressed a wish to have regular updates on this issue.
Ministers designated Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands, as European capital of culture for 2018. They also adopted conclusions on cultural heritage.
The Council adopted conclusions on gender equality in sport. These conclusions invite member states to consider developing policies to promote gender equality and improve the prevention of gender-based violence and the protection of victims.
The Council also adopted an EU work plan for sport for the period 2014-2017.
Ministers held a debate on cross-border education and adopted the following conclusions: