The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council will take place in Brussels on 24 November. Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, will represent the UK at the culture and audiovisual sections, and the Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Shan Morgan, will represent the UK at the sport section.
Culture and Audiovisual
The Council will be invited to adopt draft Council conclusions on culture in the EU’s external relations with a focus on development co-operation. The UK welcomes these conclusions, which propose the establishment of an ad hoc task group to contribute to the preparation of a concrete, evidence-based, shared and long-term approach to culture and development co-operation.
It will then consider draft Council conclusions prioritising intercultural dialogue in the future work of the Council. This would involve the establishment of an expert group to take stock of existing policies on intercultural dialogue, with a special focus on the integration of migrants and refugees through the arts and culture, which we welcome.
The Council will then have a policy debate on how best to act together against the destruction and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage in conflict areas. In this debate the UK will encourage the European Union to take forward targeted interventions that play to its strengths and areas of competence, and avoid duplication of effort with other bodies. We will also highlight our own efforts in this area,
During lunch there will be an informal debate on the importance of digitisation to culture and heritage. The UK will agree that digitisation is a powerful tool which can help deliver many cultural, social, and educational objectives. We will be stressing that to reach its full potential all actors in the sector must be encouraged to develop their own digital strategies without unjustified constraints being imposed by Governments.
Turning to the sport sector, the Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the representation of the EU member states in the foundation board of WADA and the co-ordination of the EU and its member states’ positions prior to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meetings. These conclusions review the 2011 resolution and conclude that no change in the current procedure is required.
The UK will be invited to adopt the conclusions following the meeting of the WADA foundation board on 17-18 November 2015.
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who is responsible for Sport, has been approved to be one of the EU representatives on the foundation board; this is expected to have been ratified at the WADA meeting.
The UK is also expected to adopt Council conclusions on the promotion of motor skills, physical, and sport activities for children.
The conclusions ask for member states to consider implementing cross-sectorial policies, with the education, youth and health sectors among others, to promote physical activities and motor skills in early childhood taking into account, in particular, the following recommendations of the health education physical activity expert group.
The UK will note that it already has in place physical activity guidelines for infant and children targeting notably policy makers, local authorities, parents, family and wider community, ECEC settings, schools and sport clubs, in collaboration with scientific experts.
There will then be a policy debate on the educational potential of sports in helping disadvantaged youth to find their place in society.
The UK will look to share examples and best practice from initiatives across our sporting and education landscape.
The EU Commission will present an update on the regulatory fitness (REFIT) exercise in the audiovisual sector, and other relevant initiatives of the digital single market strategy.
This will be followed by information from the Luxembourg presidency of the Council on the state of play concerning signing of the Council of Europe’s convention on the manipulation of sports competitions.
There will then be an information point concerning the outcome of recent meetings of the WADA, as well as information from the presidency on the informal meeting of Ministers for Sport which took place in Luxembourg in July 2015.
Finally there will be a presentation from the Netherlands on their work programme and priorities for their forthcoming presidency of the Council, which will run for six months from January 2016.