HC Deb 07 April 1998 vol 310 c142W
Helen Jackson

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action he has taken on sport during the United Kingdom Presidency. [38432]

Mr. Banks

I arranged a meeting with my counterparts from Luxembourg and Austria last Thursday. This was the first opportunity that I and my European colleagues have had to discuss the important contribution that sport can make to social and economic development within Europe.

We agreed that the first ever Green paper on sport in the European Union should aim in particular to: identify a better model of coordination between all the agencies involved so that more resources are released and existing resources used more effectively; encourage and develop imaginative and practicable sports schemes aimed specifically at achieving measurable results against social exclusion; consider scope for using Eurathlon to support projects aimed at reducing social exclusion, as part of its review of the Eurathlon Programme; focus on youth unemployment and the ways of creating secure jobs in the sport sector, by stepping up the exchange of experience at national and local level; and examine the way European law is impacting on the day to day business of sports governing bodies.

These proposals are a further example of the progress being made during the UK Presidency of the European Union.

I am delighted that my Austrian colleague Dr. Peter Wittman has expressed his firm intention to pursue these issues during his country's Presidency in the second half of 1998. The European Commission is expected to publish its Green paper on sport around the turn of the year.