Sport is important to Europeans – for many of us it’s the most important thing in our lives - two thirds of all big sports events take place in Europe.
The important role of sport in European society was recognised in a landmark declaration by European leaders in December 2000. The EU policy on Sport is set out in the Commission's white paper of 2007.
The EU is keen to promote the wider benefits of sport - whether in terms of its positive impact on education, health or social exclusion, for example.
Hear the thoughts of a number of figures on the role of sport and the contribution of the EU towards the development of sport in Europe.
The work of organisations such as Sports Against Racism Ireland showcase the positive social and inclusive dimension of sport. The EU has supported organisations such as the Special Olympics, including the hosting of the World Summer Games in Ireland in 2003.
Thanks to the EU’s policy on sport, Ireland, like all other Member States, has the right to designate important sporting events as free to air – no boxes, cables or dishes required! The policy ensures that the media rights for sports events are distributed in a way that allows sports organisations to make the most of the revenue from such events. In this way the policy supports local and national sports organisations, thereby acting as a solidarity mechanism.