Sports policy to fall victim of EU budget row
European Commission officials have expressed doubt as to whether they would have enough funding to launch the European Union’s new sports policy after talks on the EU budget for 2011 collapsed.
The Commission is currently drawing up proposals for the first EU sports programme, set to begin in 2012, with a communication on future areas of EU action expected in December or early in the New Year.
But concerns are mounting that the raft of budget cuts sweeping European capitals, which earlier this week saw member states and the European Parliament dramatically fail to reach agreement on EU spending in 2011, are jeopardising funding for sports policies at EU level before they have even got off the ground.
“Article 165 gives us a legal basis but it doesn’t give us a budget. Unfortunately the treaty came into force at exactly the wrong time and there’s no money available at all,” Gregory Paulger, director of DG Education and Culture at the European Commission – the department responsible for drafting the new EU sports policy – told a Parliament hearing yesterday.
Paulger said the Commission had included funding for sports in the draft budget blocked on Monday. But even that money is now in doubt given that negotiators have returned to the drawing board.
“Where will we find the money for a sports programme? The reality is that there is none. We have no budget yet,” the Commission director said.
“We cannot even fund Media Mundus in 2011. Would you like us to take money from Erasmus? I don’t think so, but there will even be attempts to take away that,” he warned MEPs.
Nevertheless, “funding for preparatory actions in 2011 is still in our draft budget, so let’s hope it survives the current negotiations,” the Commission official said.
“We’ll still continue to come forward with proposals for more preparatory actions and want to propose a full programme in 2014, but it will be extremely difficult to get the money to do this. It’s not in the treaty,” Paulger repeated.
Excerpt from euractiv.com