Sophie Briard-Auconie is MEP (France, PPE), member of the Sports Intergroup and author of two important reports recently.ans le domaine. As part of its special feature dedicated to the fight against discrimination in sport, Sport and Citizenship interviewed her. By Julian Jappert and Sylvain Landa
In the report submitted by the ENVI Commission on the European Dimension of Sport, you call on the Council to create a recommendation so that sport can be considered an instrument of public health. Can we expect the EU to act in the coming months?
Sophie Briard-Auconie : The European Commission wants sport to be considered as a public health tool. I can only support such an idea. If we look at the current context, we can see how certain health problems have got worse recently) obesity, cardiac problems, etc) And then we have the deficit in the social security system, so we need to find innovative solutions.
Sport is a toll that we cannot ignore. It is true that communication campaigns exist already, but they need to go further. We need to encourage member states to adopt minimum standards, for example a minimum numbers of hours of sport at school, and also at university. We still have a lot to do.
You were also the rapporteur for the ECON Commission on online gambling, which helped towards a resolution that was adopted by the European Parliament on this issue on 15 November...
S. B-A : es, and I have to say that it is both an exciting and delicate areas, in that the response to it needs to be global. I think that European Coordination is needed as there are multiple risks: illegal betting, corruption, mix fixing, gambling addiction etc. Europe needs to act on these issues.
Do you think that Sport and its organisations can contributes to the Union’s objectives as laid out in Europe 2020?
S. B-A : I’m sure of it. As Europe 2020 encourages intelligent, durable and inclusive growth. Sport has a role to play there. It’s a growth market (2% of global GDP) its dynamic and it creates employment. It is also durable, as can be seen in the increase in nature-related sports, that allow young people to use natural resources. So, sport is a powerful tool in social inclusion and as elected representatives, we know this well. No other activity has the same power to bring people together.
Taking the example of volunteers, did you know that 92-94 million Europeans are volunteer? And as the European Year of volunteers has come to a close we need to value and protect this activity. I will put all my energy in the parliament into ensuring that there is a follow up to the resolutions.
A word on the recent commission proposition to give sport its own budget for 2014-2020...
S. B-A : It’s great news. Including sport in the program ‘Erasmus for all’ the commission is sending a strong signal and I support it fully. Sport is a great place for exchange, place to meet, and to create European citizenship. The commission also hope to create finance to the tune of 238 million Euros to support transnational sports projects. We are going to work on this in the Parliament so as to translate our objectives into sporting reality.
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