In its sport session, the Council will adopt conclusions on sport as a driver for innovation and economic growth, underlining the positive effects on others sectors of the economy of research and innovation in sport, as well as its potential to create jobs. Ministers will also discuss, in public deliberation, how to promote sport and physical activity at school age, on the basis of a Presidency background document (14956/1/14 REV 1).
Sport and innovation
The Council is due to adopt conclusions on sport as a driver of innovation and economic growth, which highlight the importance of research and innovation in sport and its positive effects on other sectors of the economy, as well as its potential to create jobs. They invite member states, interested parties and the Commission, to take a very broad range of initiatives to foster research and innovation in the sport sector.
The conclusions place special emphasis on the need to promote cross-sectoral and cross-border clusters, involving local administrations, universities, research centres, industry and sport bodies, and to provide a favourable environment for sports-based research and product development.
They underline that innovation goes both ways: sport benefits from breakthroughs in other sectors, while at the same time its innovations are taken up elsewhere.
The conclusions also invite member states to make use of the EU programmes and funds, like Horizon 2020, COSME and Erasmus+, which could provide an important contribution in this field. According to a recent study, sport accounts for 1.76 % of EU Gross Value Added (GVA) and 1.63 % of EU GDP. Hence, it is an important sector in its own right, with a share in the national economies comparable to agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined. Furthermore, the sport sector has proved to be exceptionally resilient during the economic crisis.
The EU Work Plan for Sport 2014-2017, following last November conclusions on the contribution of sport to the EU economy, underline the need for the Council to continue work on the economic dimension of sport, addressing in particular innovation, in addition to the sustainable financing of sport and the legacy of major sport events. These conclusions constitute an important step forward in that direction.
Sport and physical activity at school age
Ministers will discuss possible measures to promote sport and physical activity at school age. The EU Work Plan for Sport 2014-2017, foresees the reparation of recommendations to develop physical education in schools and to strengthen cooperation with the sport sector, national and local authorities and the private sector. The aim of the debate is also to contribute for that preparation. In order to achieve a more interactive, free-flowing debate, the Presidency has invited a guest speaker, Mr Giovanni Malagò, President of the Italian Olympic Committee who launched an important project of cooperation with the Italian ministry of education. Although physical education is a compulsory subject in all EU member states, there is increasing evidence that indicates a perceived decline or marginalisation of sport and physical activity in school age children, partly due to curriculum time allocation and subject status, as well as to lack of financial, material and human resources.
Physical activity not only contributes to good health, but also develops, through the personal interaction and team effort present in many sports, principles and concepts such as fair play and respect, body consciousness and social awareness. There is also evidence to suggest that physical activity in school, or before school, improves levels of concentration among pupils and leads to improved educational attainment. Ministers will be invited to structure their interventions on the basis of the guest speaker’s speech and of the two questions prepared by the Presidency (14956/1/14 REV 1):
– What are the reasons for declining rates of sports participation and physical activity among school age children?
– Taking into account the current constraints in public expenditure, what can governments and public authorities do to reverse current trends and promote the practice of sport and physical activity for this age bracket?
– World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meetings
– Information from the EU Member State representatives
– Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions
– Information from the French delegation
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– Work programme of the incoming Presidency
– Information from the Latvian delegation