Sport at the European Week of Regions and Cities, a first! - Pacte Project Sport at the European Week of Regions and Cities, a first! - Pacte Project

Sport at the European Week of Regions and Cities, a first!

The XVIIIth edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities kicked off Monday 5 of October in an unprecedented online format. Sport and Citizenship attended the event through two workshops on October 7: “Promoting Greener Sport in our regions”, and “Innovation Hubs for Sport&Vitality”. For the first time, sport-related workshops were included in the European Week of Regions and Cities programme. We are, therefore delighted to say that it was an interesting opportunity to find out more about the future of sport towards the greener transition put forward by the European Commission, especially regarding the regional dimension.

2020, October 10th

Sport at the European Week of Regions and Cities, a first!

Promoting Greener Sport in our Regions

Yves Le Lostecque (Head of the Sport Unit, European Commission) underlined the increased recognition sport has gained among policymakers and thus, its growing importance as concerns physical activity and health. Guglielmo di Cola (responsible for sport within Commissioner Gabriel’s Cabinet) echoed the latter highlighting the role of sport in a greener Europe, and the grassroots nature of the European Sport Model, which is strictly connected with local and regional dimensions.

Two case-studies presented by Liisa Kajla (Moved by Nature), and Jeppe Thorgersen (city of Silkeborg in Denmark), corroborate the idea of connecting people and nature through green areas, and highlight the importance of outdoor activities at the municipal level.

Karl-Erik Nilsson (UEFA Vice-President), Pedro Moia (Policy Assistant, Cohesion and Reforms Cabinet), Pauline Gessant (Policy Officer, French Ministry of Sport), Thomas Larsen-Smith, and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Green/EFA MEP) took part in the panel discussion and shared their expertise. The main topics covered were institutional contributions, especially the European  Parliament, to achieve a greener sport, and how the latter can play an effective role in boosting a green regional development. Major outcomes envisaged by the speakers included a more holistic political framework when it comes to international sport events, and the increasing role of sport in developing, and shaping regional strategies: in the Massif Centrale (France) for instance, sport is recognized as a tool to create jobs and activities for tourists as well as citizens. Roberto Pella (Committee of the Regions) concluded the workshop by retracing what has been done so far in the field of sport at regional level.

Innovation Hubs Sport&Vitality

Moderated by EPSI (European Platform for Sport Innovation), the workshop discussed the possibility of using innovation and technology to stimulate healthier lifestyles. To do so, the idea of establishing innovation hubs for sport was put forward in addition to establishing an EU network of innovation and sport. Marisa Fernandez Esteban (Deputy Head of Sport Unit, European Commission) provided an overall presentation on the state of sport in Europe, focusing on the three political priorities of the new Commission to whom sport, and innovation, contribute to:


  • Promoting economic opportunities and employment,
  • Sustainability and circularity (European green deal),
  • Fitness and transition to a digital age..


The Deputy Head of Unit was followed by Paivi Ekdahl (Regional Council of Lapland), who introduced the case of Lapland and its will to cooperate in a regional hub for sport. Due to its unique natural conditions and the role assigned to sport as an emerging sector that contributes to several fields (such as tourism), Lapland is moving towards a more comprehensive approach to sport. The first step is the so-called Arctic Sport Network programme that aims to use sport as a central pillar for fostering education, businesses, and municipalities. The workshop finished with some questions about the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle, and the possibility to expand it to new sectors.

Cities and municipalities are at the core of the Green Deal. Sustainable changes must start from local and regional realities-this bottom-up approach empowers them both as main actors towards a greener and healthier transition where sport and physical activity (SPA) must play an important part.

Our PACTE project (Promoting Active Cities Throughout Europe) seeks to provide municipalities with concrete solutions to enhance citizens physical activity levels, and conduct cities in their journey towards the objective of being an Active City, notably through active mobility. For this reason, Sport and Citizenship will continue working to provide concrete support, and clear answers to the sport cause across Europe.

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