Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-05-08-Speech-4-052"

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"In the first place I should present apologies from my colleague Commissioner Figeľ, who cannot take part in this sitting because of a long-planned working visit to Egypt. I accepted the proposal that I should deputise for him with pleasure because much of what falls within my competence is closely related to sport. Allow me to thank you once again for your contribution, support and splendid cooperation in this important, sensitive and very popular area. I would like to thank the rapporteur for the excellent report that he and his colleagues in Parliament have spent six months preparing. I am convinced that the report is a balanced document and deals with all the relevant themes. Thank you for the European Parliament's support for the White Paper on Sport and for your high level of cooperation with the European Commission. As the European Parliament has emphasised, it is important to recall the principle of the applicability of Community law to sports in Europe, whilst also respecting the specific nature of sport. Therefore the European Commission remains active on sport, and from now on will apply Community law, including the competition rules, to that area. The White Paper and its annexes are useful aids for sporting organisations and for Member States in the concrete application of the to decisions in the area of competition and to judgments of the European Court of Justice. On the question of the specific nature of sport, the European Commission will lead and support open dialogue with sports organisations, Member States and the European Parliament within the framework of the structured dialogue on sport. This dialogue will be conducted in such a way that issues of the specific characteristics of sport will be dealt with concretely. The European Commission does not have any general objections to the amendments to be discussed at this plenary session, especially if their aim is to preserve the proper and equal participation of representative structures in controlling sport. However, we cannot agree with an unconditional obligation for young players to sign their first professional contract with the club that has trained them, because this infringes the fundamental freedom of free movement of workers. Meanwhile, as you know, the implementation of the White Paper is continuing according to plan. Twenty-six of the 53 actions in the Pierre de Coubertin Action Plan have already been carried out; this year, for example, three studies will be initiated (with results in 2009), on the following themes: sports funding, players’ agents, and volunteering in sport. In autumn last year, under the leadership of my colleagues, Commissioner Frattini and Commissioner Figeľ, a conference took place on the high level of violence in sport, which identified concrete methods that could achieve an improvement in combating this phenomenon. The results of measuring the impact of sport on the economy can also be viewed as a significant success. As far as the matter of ‘home-grown players’ is concerned, a short time ago the European Commission was handed the results of an independent expert report analysing UEFA’s rules. The European Commission is at this very moment examining the compatibility of these rules with Community law. New possibilities for funding sport and physical activities have also been opened up by various EU programmes, especially the lifelong learning programmes ‘Youth in action and ‘Europe for citizens’. We hope that the Lisbon Treaty will soon come into force and we are delighted with the European Parliament’s support for the preparatory actions in the field of sport, which contribute to implementation of the new EU competence in this area."@en1

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