Recently, the EU Office of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) organised for the first time a seminar dedicated to EU funding opportunities and cooperation with the EU for NOCs from Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey. Hosted on 18 and 19 June 2018 in Belgrade by the NOC of Serbia, the gathering brought together representatives from 10 NOCs keen to learn more about EU programmes and policy developments which are relevant to their countries.
The seminar presented a number of sport-related projects, which have been co-funded by the EU in the respective countries through various programmes, such as Erasmus+ and cross-border or regional schemes. The participants learnt about many possibilities for NOCs and sport organisations based outside the EU to benefit from those programmes. They also heard presentations by expert speakers from the EU delegation to Serbia and from the National Erasmus+ Office in Serbia.
Folker Hellmund, Head of the EOC EU Office said on the occasion of the seminar: “I am confident that the seminar was beneficial for both sides. My feeling is that we were also able to sensitise our guest speakers from the EU Delegation for the value sport can add to EU programmes and projects. We were able to present to them a good number of successful projects to date, which tap the huge potential of sport in one way or the other, be it in fields of education, active citizenship, regional development or culture, to name just a few.”
Accordingly, these examples will be also provided to other EU Delegations in the respective countries to raise awareness of the quality and wide scope of sport-related projects in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Djordje Visacki, Secretary General of the NOC of Serbia and Member of the EOC Executive Committee, who was instrumental in making this event a success, said: “I feel that all participants really benefitted from the seminar. They acquired an extensive amount of know-how and information in a short time and were provided with a great networking platform to exchange expertise and experiences regarding the implementation of EU funded projects.”
In addition and as a next step, the organisers and participants of the seminar agreed to focus on the concrete preparation and implementation of project ideas as well as on lobbying activities towards national governments and the European Commission. The objective is to better integrate sport in various (future) funding programmes.