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Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

Volume 571: debated on Tuesday 26 November 2013

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council takes place in Brussels on 25 and 26 November. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Shan Morgan, will represent the UK for the culture, audiovisual and sport sections of the Council, which will be taken on 26 November.

Culture and Audiovisual

The Council will be invited to adopt a general approach on the proposal for a recast directive on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state. The proposal aims to improve the operation and effectiveness of the directive and promote co-operation between member states. The UK will be able to support the general approach.

The Council is also expected to adopt conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment. We are content that these conclusions accurately reflect the balance of competence in this area and the UK will support the adoption of the conclusions. However, we will table a minute statement setting out our position on EU-level action in the area of media freedom and plurality.

The Council will also hold a policy debate on connected citizens: changing behaviour of viewers in the converged media environment. The debate follows the Commission’s Green Paper on convergence and will be based on a discussion paper circulated by the Lithuanian presidency. Its aim is to discuss whether and how quickly a revision of the audiovisual media services directive is needed. In the debate, the UK will emphasise its position that we are not yet living in a converged world and that issues arising from convergence should therefore be dealt with at national level. The UK Government have examined the situation of the media and telecoms industries, drawn their conclusions and published their strategy. We consider that the framework for this industry is broadly working well, delivering world-class content and we are opposed to any regulation that could harm growth.

Sport

The Council will be invited to adopt a recommendation on promoting health-enhancing activities across sectors. This recommendation encourages the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity by acknowledging the EU’s physical activity guidelines, co-operation between the sport and health sectors, awareness-raising on the benefits of adopting a more active lifestyle, and physical activity in supporting active ageing. We consider the text to be uncontroversial and the UK will support the adoption of the recommendation.

The Council is also expected to adopt conclusions on the contribution of sport to the EU economy, and in particular to addressing youth unemployment and social inclusion. The conclusions present sport as a tool to address the social challenges that young people face across Europe. The UK is content with these conclusions and we will support their adoption.

The Council will hold a policy debate on good governance in sport, based on a discussion paper prepared by the Lithuanian presidency. In the debate, the UK will emphasise that good governance is the bedrock for the effective performance of all sports bodies, from the grassroots right up to the elite and professional levels, and will comment on the progress within the sport movement on improving and implementing good governance and the role of Governments in this respect.

Any Other Business

The French delegation will present a paper calling for the Commission to draw up a cultural strategy for the digital era. The UK does not consider it appropriate to initiate a debate on this item, but if necessary we will make a statement that any cultural strategy must avoid imposing limitations on areas such as the internal market, state aid and trade agreements.

The presidency will provide information on the world conference on anti-doping which took place in Johannesburg on 12-15 November.

The French delegation will provide information on proposals to mark the 100th anniversary of the football matches in the trenches during the Christmas truce of 1914.

Finally, the Greek delegation will inform the Council of the work programme and priorities for their forthcoming presidency of the Council.