Celebrating this sporting life

Regardless of origin or belief, Marc Tarabella believes sport is one thing that can unite often divided communities.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

By Marc Tarabella

Marc Tarabella (BE, S&D) is co-chair of Parliament’s Bureau of the Sports Group

24 Sep 2019

One of the aims of the European institutions - the sport intergroup in the European Parliament and the European Commission’s sport unit - is to promote sport and physical activity across Europe.

The “European Week of Sport” is one of the tools to help achieve this.

The event is an opportunity to raise awareness of how important an active lifestyle is for every European citizen. The Week is for everyone, regardless of age, background or fitness level.


In 2015, there were five million participants and 7,000 events during the first European Week. In 2018. this had risen to 12 million participants and almost 50,000 events in some 42 countries. The event is clearly answering an urgent need and we are delighted by its success.

So, in 2019, we are back. From 23-30 September, Europeans will come together to engage in sport.

The sport intergroup in the European Parliament was established for the first time in 2014 and serves as a cross-party and cross-committee platform for cooperation between MEPs with an interest in sport-related topics.

The challenges and opportunities linked to EU sport policy are both numerous and cross-cutting which makes the intergroup an ideal space for more focused collaboration.

Our aim is to preserve the integrity of sport, promote good governance and to increase grassroots support, as well as to raise awareness and improve access to the social and health benefits that sport can provide to all EU citizens.

Our intergroup works in close collaboration with the European Commission, leagues, federations, associations, NGOs and experts from the sector. You could say everyone is around the same table.

"Regardless of origin or belief, I believe sport is one thing that can unite o­ften divided communities" Marc Tarabella 

We have held a European Week since 2014 and we want to keep doing so until 2024. Since the European elections a few months ago, we have been collecting signatures and meeting MEPs interested in our sport intergroup.

I strongly believe that sport unites us, regardless of our origins or beliefs, and brings us together in line with the democratic values promoted by the European Parliament.

The intergroup itself tackles key themes with worldwide experts in areas such as health and social promotion, education, sport business, corruption, doping and career retraining.

We bring together MEPs from all political groups across Europe and want Parliament to be a ‘think tank’ for sports policymaking and to initiate legislation. I believe that the European institutions must set an example to all sports policymakers in Europe.

Policies should aim to promote the exchange of ideas and dialogue and, where appropriate, inject new legislative impetus in promoting physical exercise for citizens.

I believe in a Europe that cares about the needs of citizens, that meets expectations and is reflected in citizens’ daily lives.

Sport is one of those vectors that binds people to each other and that holds the honourable values I fight for: solidarity, courage, willpower, friendship, surpassing oneself, respect and tolerance. These are values that we also seek to defend through our mandate in the European Parliament.

If, in reading this article, anyone wants to raise awareness on sport-related topics or participate in our exchanges, our door is always open.

Read the most recent articles written by Marc Tarabella - World Obesity Day: An apple a day keeps the doctor away