From 23 to 30 September 2017, the European Commission organised the third edition of the European Week of Sport, which is the Commission’s initiative to get people active in Europe.
Where the focus in the 2015 and 2016 was more on Brussels, one can now see a clear shift towards activities being organised at national and local level in the various Member States. One example is that contrary to previous editions, no Flagship Event was organised in Brussels. The ability of the Week to reach out to national, regional and local partners has been one of the key success factors of the development of the Week in this relatively short period of three years.
The EOC has been an official partner of the European Week of Sport since its beginning in 2015. Many National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are directly or indirectly involved in the delivery of the European Week of Sport at national level, either as National Coordinators (e.g. the Netherlands, France (CNOSF), Slovenia and the Czech Republic) or by organising various activities, for instance in the framework of the Olympic Day or by implementing EU Projects such as the “Sport for Everyone” Project by the CNOSF. To reach out to the Olympic Day, the communication campaign of the European Week was officially launched (for the first time) on 23 June.
Official Opening of the Week in Tartu
To officially open the European Week of Sport, the Estonian Presidency of the EU organised an Opening Ceremony in the Estonian city of Tartu.
During the Ceremony, various high-level speakers were invited to share a statement. Urmas Klaas, Mayor of Tartu, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and Indrek Saar, Minister of Culture of Estonia, were among the speakers. In addition, Niels Nygaard, President of the Danish Olympic Committee and Member of the EOC Executive Committee, represented the EOC during the Ceremony. He congratulated the Commission on the development of the European Week since 2015. He also stressed the vital role that sport clubs play in getting people active. In addition, he referred to the various activities by NOCs, for instance in the framework of the Olympic Day.
Following the speeches, various sporting activities were organised by the Estonian Presidency including a cycling festival for children.
Tartu Call for Healthy Lifestyle
The day before the official Opening Ceremony, the Commission organised a Seminar on “Healthy Lifestyle”. Following this Seminar, Commissioner Navracsics issued and signed the “Tartu call for healthy lifestyle”. The call was co-signed by two other European Commissioners: Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, and Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development. The call sets out joint actions to promote healthy lifestyles. In this call, the three Commissions listed 15 actions to be taken in the next two years, including: “Increasing funding for projects promoting physical activity under the Sport chapter of the Erasmus+ programme, with a possible focus on specific settings such as schools” (point 1) and “Promoting healthy lifestyles among children and young people, notably by supporting schools and sport clubs in creating and developing partnerships” (point 4). The full text of the call can be found below.
Especially the fact that the call was signed by two other Commissioners with responsibilities related to that area is a positive example of how cross-sectoral cooperation could be beneficial for tackling a common challenge.
Furthermore, the results of the recently conducted Eurobarometer research on physical activity will be published in the near future. Hopefully initiatives such as the European Week and the call for healthy lifestyle bring a valuable contribution to getting people active.