2004, the year when the Olympic Games will be returning to their roots in the Greek capital of Athens from 13 to 29 August, has been proclaimed 'European Year of Education through Sport' by the European Union (EU).
This initiative, supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is the outcome of the shared wish of the European institutions and the sports movement to place sport at the heart of the European project. The support of the European Parliament was decisive in bringing to fruition this initiative led by the European Commission and its Commissioner responsible for sport, Mrs Viviane Reding.
By choosing an Olympic year to launch this initiative, the EU is showing its determination to give sport, and the educational and social values that it promotes, a key position in its discussions. Until now, sport has essentially been considered from an economic angle.
In this respect, the IOC recalls the joint position adopted by the International Sports Federations and the European Olympic Committees, calling on EU governments and the Convention on the Future of Europe to give consideration to sport in the European project. This joint position, supported by several member States, has been submitted to the Chairman of the Convention, Mr Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, for consideration in the framework of the Convention's work.
At a time when Europe is seeking to get closer to its citizens, it is important that sport, and the educational and social values that it promotes, should be a part of these discussions.