On the 1st of July 2010, Belgium has taken over from Spain the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, sport has officially become a competence of the EU. This gives the Belgian Presidency the honour to be the second Presidency to help shape the future of sport policy in Europe. The six months of the presidency will be an exciting time as the European Commission will propose the Communication for future EU action in the field of sport and the Belgian Presidency will start preparing the response from the Member States within the Council.
The Belgian EU Presidency for Sport will be led by the Communities and not by the federal government. Indeed, in Belgium sport is a competence of decentralised entities. In accordance with a rotating system, Flanders has been assigned the leading role for sport, which is also the case in the areas of education, youth, environment and fisheries. This means that the Flemish Community will chair all formal and informal meetings. Flemish Minister Philippe Muyters will preside over the Council of Ministers. The German speaking Community will act as a spokesperson and will therefore express the Belgian point of view during the Presidency. The French Community will host the meeting of Sport Directors. All preparations are taking place in close cooperation between the three Communities within a true Belgian Presidency.
As far as priorities are concerned, Belgium will work within the framework that has been agreed upon under the Team Presidency with Spain and Hungary. The most important step will be to start defining, together with the European Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament, the strategic principles, objectives and criteria of the future framework for EU cooperation and the future Sport Programme, based on the White Paper. The main task consists of laying a fruitful base for the future, in close cooperation with representatives of the sport movement. The EU has already shown the value of mutual cooperation in sport in an informal structure, for example in social dialogue. Now, the time has come to take that EU added value a step further.
Belgium has agreed [..] to promote the acknowledgement of the potential of sport for social inclusion and integration.
The second major priority concentrates on the societal role of sport, including fair play, which takes account of education and training, and joint action between Member States in the fight against doping. It is important to act there where the EU can bring added value to the national policies, for example in recognition of sport qualifications and the protection of athletes’ privacy in WADA. Also, in the context of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010, Belgium has agreed with the other two Presidencies to promote the acknowledgement of the potential of sport for social inclusion and integration. This is especially important in respect to the EU2020 agenda.
The Belgian EU Presidency for Sport is looking forward to cooperating with all the Member States and the sport movement during this historically important period for sport in setting a constructive precedent for future policy.