On 19 June 2019, the EOC EU Office gathered its partners, in Brussels, for the Annual Partner Meeting. The aim of this meeting was to inform partners about recent EU policy developments as well as to discuss the political changes at EU level and the activities to be conducted by the Office in this regard. Participants came from various NOCs such as the NOCs and sport confederations of Finland, Austria, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Cyprus as well as representatives from the European Volleyball Federation (CEV), the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), Rugby Europe, European Athletics and FIBA Europe.
Following a general introduction made by Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, in which the involvement of sport organisations in the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) of the Council of Europe was discussed, participants were invited to share their experiences on three areas.
1. The implementation of Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at national level: Partners discussed potential exemptions and specific regulations at national level as well as the cooperation with national data protection authorities;
2. The Erasmus+ call 2019 and the ongoing projects involving partners;
3. The entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Manipulation of Sport Competitions in September 2019: the partners informed about their national platforms and the cooperation with public authorities.
In the second session a strategic action plan for the EOC EU Office was discussed the partners, taking into account the new EU political environment. Heidi Pekkola, Deputy Director of the Office, provided an update on the elections results and the latest rumours regarding institutional changes (see our dedicated article). Then, participants exchanged on the necessary activities in order to set up positive working relations with the new political actors, including:
· Identifying MEPs who could support the maintain of a sport Intergroup in the EP;
· Organising high level meetings with the new Commissioners and MEPs by using existing contacts from NOCs;
· Focusing on the promotion and the defence of the European Sport Model and the negotiations on the future MFF 2021-2027.
The afternoon session was dedicated to a comprehensive update on sport-related EU policies made by the staff of the EOC EU Office. Participants received information on the current implementation of the EU Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020 as well as the priorities of the upcoming EU Presidencies of Finland, Croatia and Germany. Then, the participants discussed a technical topic with a big impact on sport infrastructure, the “Intentionally added Microplastics and artificial turfs” (see our dedicated article). Furthermore, different legal cases e.g. Biffi, Rule 40, Kristoffersen were presented and updates provided on the adoption of the EU Visa policy and recentdevelopments in the Digital Single Market.
The EOC EU Office would like to thank all partners for their active participation in the discussions.