As delivered by Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Distinguished experts and colleagues,
It is a great pleasure to join the 15th anniversary of EPAS – the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sports.
EPAS has been crucial in ensuring human rights, democracy and the rule of law in sport on our continent and beyond.
I know that the Chair of EPAS, dear Alexandre, is proud – and rightly so – of these achievements and that he will speak about some of them.
For my part, I want especially to thank EPAS for its support for the Council of Europe’s new strategic priorities for sport –
And the role that it will play in delivering on these from now until 2025.
The strategy will focus on HR and sports, and it will be truly transversal –
Taking account of relevant judgments from the European Court of Human Rights –
And the important work of the Parliamentary Assembly – and other parts of our Organisation, so that we are united and pulling in the same direction.
This marks an important moment in the advance of our sports policies –
As also reflected by the positive response of our Committee of Ministers when it discussed them earlier this year.
It also dovetails nicely with the Revised European Sports Charter, prepared by EPAS, and adopted by our member states last year.
For the first time, this establishes a “right to sport” –
Sport that is open to all –
And that has human rights – and integrity and sustainability – at its core.
That approach – putting citizens first – was also at the heart of my exchange with EPAS last year, concerning a proposal for super league and other competitions.
And it is yet another example of the way in which EPAS provides a platform for discussing the big issues facing sport today –
As well as being a vital engine for co-operation between governments and sports organisations and setting the standards that lead to better sports.
My thanks go to Alexandre and Luxembourg, once again, for leading it.
Looking ahead, there is plenty more work to do –
Not least the forthcoming and important Ministerial meeting in Antalya.
But EPAS is more than ready for this challenge, and its members’ commitment is plain to see, as demonstrated by your attendance here in Strasbourg today–
So, many thanks and congratulations go to everyone involved in EPAS’ work – including the Secretariat, past and present – as it celebrates its first 15 years of achievements.
And without further ado, I give the floor to Ambassador Rémi Mortier –