As of 1 July 2017, Estonia will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Malta, which held the Presidency during the first half of 2017. For this period, the Estonian Presidency has recently presented its political priorities. Estonia will be the first country in the new presidency trio also including Bulgaria and Austria (first and second half of 2018 respectively), which had their trio programme approved by the General Affairs Council on 20 June 2017.
In its programme, the Trio Presidency has formulated five priority areas:
A Union for Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness;
A Union that empowers and protects all its citizens;
Towards an energy union with a forward-looking climate policy;
A union of freedom, security and justice;
The union as a strong global actor.
In these areas, different initiatives could affect organised sport in Europe, such as the finalisation of the Digital Single Market (DSM), initiatives on a ‘definite VAT regime’, the annual EU budget process and the new Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period post-2020 including Cohesion Policy, or the European Solidarity Corps. The different initiatives will be elaborated by the individual presidency programmes of the three countries.
Already in February, Indrek Saar, Estonian Minister of Culture (including sport) and Panelist at the EEoS 2017, discussed the priorities for these fields with representatives of the Commission and the European Parliament. Besides updating the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) to fit the Digital Single Market, the Presidency wants to focus on the role of coaches in society. To this end, a ‘Sports conference on the role of coaches’ will be held in Tallinn on 12-13 July 2017. In addition, the third European Week of Sport will be officially opened in Tartu on 23 September with the 20th Tartu Cycling Marathon.
Furthermore, the Estonian Presidency has announced a total of 4 major priorities:
Open and Innovative European Economy
A Safe and Secure Europe
A digital Europe and the Free Movement of Data
An Inclusive and Sustainable Europe
Each of these priorities has a few topics that could impact sports. Under priority 1, the new EU budget for 2018 is a priority, and this includes funding for inter alia Erasmus+. Priority 2 includes moving forward with the Entry/Exit regulation and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which could have an impact on third-country nationals travelling to Europe for sports-related affairs. Priority 3 includes the development of the Copyright reform in the digital single market, and the ‘regulation on online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and re-transmissions of television and radio programmes’, which can impact the broadcasting of sporting events. Priority 4 contains a focus on the European Solidarity Corps, which could provide opportunity for sports organisations to gain funding for volunteering projects and projects related to social inclusion, but could also negatively affect funding opportunities under other lines such as the Voluntary Service.
The EOC EU Office will keep you informed as these dossiers develop during the Estonian Presidency.