The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council took place in Brussels on 30 and 31 May 2016. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, represented the UK at the Culture and Sport Councils on 31 May. As is procedure, this statement sets out a record of that meeting.
Culture and Audiovisual
The first item was the adoption of conclusions on the role of Europeana in digitising cultural heritage. The UK supported the adoption.
Council then moved to the main item on the agenda which was the Commission’s proposal for a new audiovisual media services directive in the context of its digital single market strategy. All Ministers welcomed the continuation of the country of origin principle as the cornerstone of the directive and the UK repeated its view that this must not be eroded for the continued functioning single market. There was some discussion on proposals to secure funding for European content. The UK, along with Finland, observed that quotas might not be the best way to achieve this. On accessibility rules, the Commission agreed with the UK that sector-specific rules might be useful. The Commission and presidency concluded by calling for a speedy adoption in order to keep up with ever-changing technology.
There were six AOB items including information on an upcoming proposal for an EU year of cultural heritage 2018, an item on the future funding of the European Union youth orchestra, a French item on interoperability of digital content and a request by Poland, supported by Slovenia, Romania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Belgium and Malta for an increase to the existing €5 million ceiling stipulated in the current European regional development funds for small-scale cultural projects. There was also information from the German delegation on the latest court decisions concerning the remuneration of publishing companies based on copyright law, and a presentation by the Slovak delegation on priorities for their upcoming presidency. The UK did not intervene on any of these items.
This Council focused on integrity and good governance in sport, with the adoption of Council conclusions, supported by the UK, and a policy debate. Member states outlined best practice in their countries and France and Denmark led calls for member states to continue signing the Council of Europe convention on match-fixing. The UK intervention highlighted the Prime Minister’s recent anti-corruption summit and the resulting pledge to launch an international sports integrity partnership.
Under AOB, Malta fed back to Council on discussions at the recent meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal. The Commission also presented an update on studies on the specificity of sport and the role of sport in regional development. Sweden, Italy and France called for further work in this area. The UK did not intervene. Council then adjourned until the next meeting; due to be held on Tuesday 22 November 2016.
The UK was represented by officials at the high-level sport structured dialogue. This was opened, for the first time, to all delegations, rather than the usual presidency trio format. The sports movement was represented by IOC, EOC, FIFA and UEFA. The UK emphasised that strengthened dialogue was paramount to the integrity of the sports movement and drew parallels with the international sports integrity partnership announced at the Prime Minister’s recent summit. The UK also referred back to London 2012 Olympic games and the sports betting integrity forum which the UK established.
A joint declaration of intent on enhancing regular dialogue on topics of shared responsibilities regarding major sports events was signed by the Dutch presidency and the four representatives of the sports movement.