EU Sport Ministers have discussed in Vilnius how to strengthen the sport sector

01 October 2013, Last updated at, 17:45 EET
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author: eu2013.lt

Today at the Informal Meeting of the EU Sport Ministers, the focus was put on the issues of strengthening sport as a sector of economy which reflect one of the key issues of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council in the area of sport.

At the first session, the ministers have discussed on the impact that the major sporting events like Olympic Games, World Championships make on the welfare of the EU member countries as well on the impact they leave in different spheres of each country’s life.

“Every country has accumulated considerable experience in the sphere of organizing international sport events, and it is important to share this experience between ourselves,” says Dailis Alfonsas Barakauskas, Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania.  The Minister is convinced that estimation of the legacy for each country in terms of sports infrastructure should be of primary significance when planning the events.

Popular international sport events’ organizers who had been invited to attend the informal meeting shared their experience gained in organizing the sport events: Mindaugas Balčiūnas, Secretary General of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation presented the Lithuanian experience in organizing the European Men Basketball Championship Eurobasket  2011, and Michael van Pragg, Vice-president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), shared his experiences in organizing the European Football championships.

The second part of the Ministerial meeting was dedicated to the issues of sports contribution to economic growth. “Sport is a new sphere of the EU policy. However, we get more and more evidence that sport sector creates measurable economic and social value. Recent calculations enable us to identify to what extent sport sector contributes to economic growth and unemployment reduction as well as to community building and social cohesion,”  maintains D. A. Barakauskas.

Calculation on the sport contribution into the country’s economy were made in six countries (Austria, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom and Germany), and as of the current year, Lithuania has also started to make the analysis thereof. The initial calculations made in Lithuania were presented by professor Dr. Vilma Čingienė. The German experience in calculating contribution of sport to the economy was delivered by Professor Dr. Holger Preuss. This kind of calculation is an effective instrument of strategic planning, policy formation and strengthening of sport as a sector.

During the meeting, the Finish delegation came out with a statement on human rights preservation at major international sport events. The statement was supported by some delegations.

"We have gathered here today into an informal Council meeting which is dedicated to discussions and not to making formal decisions.  The countries, therefore, are in the position to make further decisions in the best way they decide," minister Barakauskas commented the discussion.

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