Press release - Cyprus Presidency oversees successful conclusions on youth and sport
27.11.2012, 20:32 (CET)
The priorities set by the Cyprus Presidency in the fields of youth and sport have been achieved, with Member States expressing their full support on the issues discussed during the Council meetings for Youth and Sport Ministers held in Brussels today, Tuesday November 27. On issues relating to youth, the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) Council adopted a Resolution on the review of the structured dialogue with young people on youth participation in democratic life in Europe, Conclusions on the participation and inclusion of young people, focusing on those with a migrant background, as well as adopting the Joint report of the Council and the Commission for 2012 on the implementation of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field for the period 2010-2018. During the afternoon session dedicated to sport issues, Ministers welcomed the proposal for the establishment of a ‘European Week of Sports’, while Council Conclusions were adopted on an evidence-based sports policy and on improving health through physical activity and doping. The proposal for the fight against manipulation of results of sporting events was adopted as Presidency Conclusions.

In the morning session on Tuesday, November 27, ministers adopted a resolution on the overview of the structured dialogue with young people on youth participation in democratic life in Europe.

Youth participation

The resolution marked the completion of the second cycle of the structured dialogue. The aim of the structured dialogue is to serve as a forum for continuous joint reflection on the priorities, implementation and follow-up of European cooperation in the youth field, involving a diverse range of young people and youth organisations in the consultations, at all levels in the Member States, at the EU Youth Conferences and during European Youth Week. The present resolution therefore evaluates the achievements of the current work cycle, incorporates key messages from the joint recommendations, and sets priorities for the next work cycle.

This was followed by the adoption of the 2012 Joint Youth Report and the conclusions on youth participation and social inclusion, with emphasis on young people with a migrant background.

“The Cyprus Presidency has put youth at the heart of its priorities” said Cyprus’ Minister for Culture and Education who chaired the Council, Mr. George Demosthenous. Mr. Demosthenous added that “issues such as social inclusion and participation of young people were high on the agenda of our discussions throughout the work of the Presidency and the issues were part of the final conclusions of the current Council of EU Ministers for Youth Affairs”.

A policy debate took place prior to the Council convening in the morning and was devoted to social inclusion covering the background of diversity, mobility and migration of youth. Youth stakeholders exchanged views on possible measures for strengthening policies to improve the social inclusion of all young people on the grounds of mutual understanding and respect.

The EU report on youth in 2012, which was adopted during the Council meeting, presents new statistics on how the situation of young people in the European Union has been affected from the economic crisis and argues for an interdisciplinary approach at all levels in the implementation of the renewed policy framework on youth.

‘European Week of Sports’

Given the general concern about low levels of physical activity among EU citizens, the Presidency proposed the establishment of a European Week for Sport that could motivate children and young people to become more physically active through sports. The proposal was well-received by all sport stakeholders and the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Multilingualism, Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, joined ministers in supporting the proposal, stating that “our task now is to organise it right”, while adding that “we should make it a week of inclusion to give the opportunity to all people that do not have the means to be involved with sports”.

During the afternoon session devoted to sports issues, European Ministers for Sport adopted Council Conclusions on strengthening the evidence-base for sport policy making and on promoting health-enhancing physical activities. Presidency Conclusions were adopted on a strategy to combat the manipulation of sport results.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

Furthermore, the Council designated the three EU representatives on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board for the period beginning 1 January 2013. These are ministers Mr Leo Varadkar, Mr Romain Schneider and Mr Alexandre Miguel Mestre from Ireland, Luxemburg and Portugal respectively.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which was set up already in 1999, is a private law body although half of its Foundation Board members represent governments. The European continent has five representatives and three of them come from the EU. The three EU representatives  have operated on the "troika" principle, whereby terms are rotated every 18 month periods, in line with the EU Presidency. Addressing this, the Council Resolution of November 2011 set out new arrangements regarding EU Member States representation designed to ensure greater continuity. These arrangements take effect as from 1 January 2013.

This was the only meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) Council under the Cyprus Presidency and all key issues were deemed to have been successfully handled and concluded. The statements by the European Commissioner Ms Vassiliou, were indicative. Speaking on behalf of the Commission, both in the closure of the Council and at the press conference prior to the afternoon meeting, she congratulated the Cyprus Presidency and Mr Demosthenous for the very successful exercise of the Presidency and the work done which was welcomed by all ministers in the four different configurations of the Council meetings.