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02 July, 2014



Sport as a growth engine for EU economy

Sport is an important economic sector in the EU in its own right, with a share in the national economies which is comparable to agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined. Moreover, its share is expected to rise in the future. Overall the sports sector accounts for 2% of the EU global GDP, while the total employment generated by sports activities is 7.3 million-equivalent to 3.5% of the total EU employment. These are the conclusions of an European Commission Memo, published on 19th June. Despite these impressive figures, the economic impact of the sport-related industries is often underestimated.

To underpin the role of sport-related industry as an economic driver, a High Level Meeting of stakeholders on the impact of sport and sport-related industries took place in Brussels. The meeting was aimed at taking stock of the progress made since the first meeting of the European Sport Industries on 21 January 2014. Furthermore, the meeting offered the opportunity to present an industry-led Action Plan on the economic impact of sport and sport-related industries. The meeting highlighted the role of sport as a powerful lever for innovation, industrial competitiveness and employment.

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Eurobarometer: Majority of EU citizens satisfied with quality of healthcare

More than 70% of EU citizens are satisfied with the overall quality of the healthcare in their home country, according to a new Eurobarometer survey published last week. However, there are great differences between member states, with western and northern countries being in general more positive. While almost all respondents in Belgium (97%), Austria (96%), Malta and Finland (both 94%) say that the overall healthcare quality in their country is good, only around a quarter of respondents in Romania (25%) and in Greece (26%) say the same. The Eurozone debt crisis has forced some governments to drastically cut public health budgets in an effort to contain deficits, with Greece being one of the countries taking the toughest measures. But despite the crisis, in some countries, citizens are becoming happier about the quality of healthcare they receive.

When asked to name up to three criteria that they associated with high quality healthcare, respondents picked well-trained staff (53%) and treatment that works (40%) and modern medical equipment (25%). Surprisingly, respondents also said that "cleanliness" is as important as "no waiting lists" and "proximity of hospital and doctor" (24%).

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A debate with George Soros: The Tragedy of the European Union-Disintegration or revival?

George Soros, Herman Van Rompuy and Pierre Moscovici met on 30th of June in a conference to discuss the future of Europe, in the context of Soros most recent book entitled “Tradegy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival?”.

Addressing the issue of the political crisis is of significant importance. After making a brief reference to the European Elections, the EU is facing a political crisis due to the European leaders are highly involved in their national parties. In addition, it was mentioned that the problems of the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister is due to the fact that David Cameron does not belong neither to the European People’s Party nor to the Party of European Socialists. Thus, special attention needs to be paid on the procedures. Moreover, the issues of growth and competitiveness were also raised in the event as well as the need for more investments both from public and private sources in order to ensure growth for the European Union in the following years.

Last but not least, it is crucial for the EU to address the issue of “Reviving Russia”, which will be one of the challenges of the European leaderships in the next five years. To address this issue, it is very important for Europe to be united.

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The EU Council of Ministers of Health adopted important conclusions on nutrition and physical activity

Member States met on 20 June in Luxembourg under the “Employment, social policy, health and Consumer affairs” formation to discuss the issue of nutrition and physical activity in Europe.

The ageing population was identified as a vulnerable target of our society - at risk of malnutrition as their nutritional requirements change with age together with a decline in physical activity. Special attention thus needs to be paid to older people's nutritional requirements.

Addressing the important issue of reducing the development of obesity in Europe, which has reached epidemic proportions, Member States agreed on the necessity of promoting healthy diets and physical activity across the whole lifespan, starting from pregnancy and lactation until old age. The purpose of such a call for action is to strengthen European citizens' health and quality of life, as well as to reduce the burden on health systems of chronic diseases linked to unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.

The Council invited Member States “to promote policies that support older people to remain active and thus avoid functional decline by creating environments that encourage their active engagement in physical activity programmes tailored to their needs”.


The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing was mentioned, in particular its capacity of collecting good practices and to work on prevention, screening and assessment of malnutrition.

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If you would like further information on any of these topics, please contact;
José Costa, EU Policy Officer:
Alexandra Micha, EU Policy Officer:


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