I dare to assert that sporting activities, regardless of age, origin and actual motivation, are always based on a fundamentally positive idea – be it exercise in nature, improving one’s health, simply having fun or enjoying competition, the motivation for doing sports has a positive effect. Major sporting events such as the European Company Sport Games have long been a platform for numerous social welfare objectives. These include initiatives against social exclusion and the unequal treatment of men and women, as well as for uniting people.
This positive commitment can also be found in the European Union, which has its idealistic basic idea in the endeavour to bring about peaceful coexistence between the European countries, which have always been at war with one another for centuries. Successfully. Sport has long had a socio-political, cross-border function, which, from the point of view of an EU citizen, promotes respect and tolerance far beyond EU borders. Without the EU, an event like the ECSG would be unthinkable and impossible.
Looking back on the weeks and months of the European Parliament election campaign, there was one thing emerging in numerous pro-European civil society initiatives: Irrespective of individual party-political interests and a broad variety of topics, nearly all of these initiatives were characterised by a positive basic idea. Positions for a united Europe and for sports thus have essential similarities. But what about the importance of sports within the EU?
While sport politics remains to be the competence of the individual member states, the Union “shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function”. Cooperation with third countries and international organisations is to be enhanced, too. Measured against the importance of sport, however, there is room for improvement, which in turn requires a discourse among the associations in the various EU member states.
#loveyouEU is a private initiative founded to think the future of the European Union further and to contribute to protecting its achievements, such as the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. On the occasion of the ECSG and in the run-up to #BeActive – European Week of Sport (23–30 September 2019), there will be a focus on the role of sport at the EU level. Contributions stimulating discussions are welcome and will be published at www.love-you.eu.
If you are interested, please write to email@example.com.
This article was first published in the July print edition of COLOR OF SPORTS as well as the magazines online edition.
Nicolas Entrup Campaigner Founder of SHIFTING VALUES and one of the founders of the #loveyouEU initiative