On 1st July, Spain will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. It has set ambitious goals, many of which are relevant to our sector. On 15 June, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented the main priorities the country intends to pursue during its six-month term: reviving Europe's industry, advancing the green transition, strengthening social cohesion, and enhancing European unity. Ambitious goals have also been set to promote health and sport across the bloc.
The Spanish Presidency intends to advance the EU's social agenda to ensure that no one is left behind in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Spain will continue supporting the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, which sets out concrete targets to achieve a fairer and more inclusive Europe by 2030, and promote the European Social Fund Plus programme, which provides funding for initiatives that support employment, education, social inclusion and equal opportunities.
Regarding health, the Presidency will promote preventive and health-enhancing measures, increase the capacity of health systems, and create new strategies for health at the EU level. Initiatives will include focus on tackling childhood obesity and mental health. Spain is also committed to strengthening the bloc’s resilience and preparedness for future health challenges, considering that health is a fundamental right and a key factor for social justice, economic growth and environmental sustainability. This will be achieved through further developing the European Health Union, which aims to enhance EU cooperation on health security, prevention, innovation and access, continuing the EU4Health programme, which provides opportunities for initiatives that prevent disease, reduce health inequalities and support health systems. EuropeActive’s upcoming Exercise for Health Summit (20-22 November, Madrid) will tie in many of these themes, aiming to connect the health and the fitness and physical activity sector.
Finally, the Presidency also recognises the importance of physical activity to social cohesion, cultural diversity and economic development. Spain therefore wants to foster a European dimension of physical activity and to encourage more participation and cooperation among member states, regions, cities, organisations and civil society. Among the actions, Spain will launch the European Week of Sport on 23 September 2023, aiming to promote more active, healthier lifestyles to millions of people in Europe and beyond. This provides context for EuropeActive’s #BEACTIVE DAY initiative. Spain will also organise a conference on “Gender equality in sport”, and will promote the Erasmus+ Sport programme, which provides funding and opportunities for transnational projects, partnerships and exchanges. All these actions align with the 2021-2024 Work Plan for Sport.