EU Ministers agree on the important role of media pluralism, adopt recommendation on health-enhancing physical activity

26 November 2013, Last updated at, 19:19 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

On 26 November a second day of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council (EYCS) took place in Brussels and was dedicated to cultural, audiovisual issues and sports. 

The EU's ministers of culture reached a general approach on the Proposal for a Directive on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state.

„Throughout the term of the Lithuanian Presidency we intensely worked on this important dossier, and I am pleased we were able to reach common position among the Member States“, - said Lithuanian Minister Šarūnas Birutis, who chaired the session on cultural and audiovisual affairs.

Once adopted directive will amend the 1993 Council Directive currently in place. It will be applied to cultural objects considered as national treasures that have been illegally removed from 1993 onwards and currently located in other EU member state. The aim of the current proposal is to improve the efficiency of the mechanisms and secure the return of cultural objects more efficiently and with less cost.
EU Member States adopted Council conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment. The Conclusions state that media freedom and pluralism is important not only for democracy, but also facilitates economic growth and sustainability. The Member States declare that it is essential to maintain transparency of media ownership, to ensure the protection of journalists from undue (political and economic) influence and the protection of journalistic sources, and to ensure the independence of audiovisual regulators.
During the Council Lithuania initiated a political debate called “Connected Citizens: changing behaviour of viewers in the converged media environment”, where ministers exchanged views on changes taking place in the media and audiovisual markets and their impact for regulatory environment. A well-known expert and researcher in the field of converged media Dean Donaldson spoke about the digital future. A demonstration of technologies was held before the meeting, where ministers examined internet-enabled “connected” devices and new-generation interactive audiovisual services.
In the sports part of the Council, chaired by the Lithuanian minister of Interior Alfonsas Dailis Barakauskas, the ministers adopted a recommendation on promoting health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA). According to the Chair, this reflects the work accomplished on the priority topic of the Lithuanian Presidency and is the first legal document in sport area, which aims to encourage a more beneficial environment for physical activity of the Europeans and to improve health of the general public.
EU sport ministers adopted Council conclusions on the contribution of sport to the EU economy, which in particular address issues of youth unemployment and social inclusion.
“Youth unemployment is a big challenge in the EU today. Sports provide young people withopportunity to develop such important skills and abilities as initiative, creativity, teamwork and discipline, which are valued in today's job market, – said Barakauskas, adding that sport as a communal activity helps solve social problems.
“Sport sector is significant for national economy of each Member State. Even a small investment into sports infrastructure or local sport clubs can bring tremendous benefits and significantly contribute to stronger, safer communities, the recovery of EU economy, - said Minister Barakauskas.       
The Ministers at the Council also discussed good governance principles in sport, which plays an important role in developing the sport sector.



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From 28.11.2013 to 29.11.2013
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