HC Deb 19 December 2000 vol 360 cc132-3W
Ms Dari Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for what reasons he requested that the scrutiny reserve be lifted on the EU Declaration on Sport. [143663]

Mr. Chris Smith

The European Scrutiny Committee have recommended that the Declaration on Sport be debated with the Helsinki Report on sport, and the Community Support Plan to combat doping in sport. It is planned that the debate be held in the new year. I believe that it was important for the Prime Minister to be able to agree the Declaration at the Nice European Council Meeting, particularly as it would have been viewed as a reversal of our position should the UK not have been in a position to support it. We have argued long and hard to secure the changes which meet the Government's objectives.

The declaration fully acknowledges the prerogatives of sports organisations; it underlines that while commercial sport should be subject to EU regulations, those regulations must be applied in a way that recognises the special nature of sport; and it does not envisage any expansion of the role of the Commission in relation to sport. The declaration creates no new obligations for the UK and in essence reinforces the message of previous statements at Helsinki and Feira.