MEPs: EU recovery instruments must also support young people and sports sector

  • The pandemic has disproportionately impacted young people and the sports sector 
  • The EU recovery fund and other programmes must support youth 
  • Recovery and resilience facility and digital action plan must help the sports sector 

MEPs call on the Commission and member states to increase their efforts to prevent the pandemic from having lasting negative effects on young people and the sports sector.

“Both the EU’s recovery instruments and national recovery plans must offer short-term support to the sports sector and to our young people”, said Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE), Chair of Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education. “We must attend to the most vulnerable and we need greater flexibility to support all types of education, including vocational and informal learning. We must also increase investment in the digital transition.”

The resolution was adopted on Wednesday by 592 votes in favour, 42 against and 57 abstentions.

Helping young people deal with the pandemic

MEPs stress that the youth labour market is particularly sensitive to economic crises, with many working in unstable, low-paid, part-time jobs that are not legally well protected and have weaker social security standards. Data show that young people’s employment opportunities and income are particularly hit by the pandemic; MEPs fear that education, volunteering and training opportunities are disappearing .

National recovery plans must therefore focus on young people, and EU programmes (such as Erasmus+, European Solidarity Corps, Youth Guarantee, Digital strategy) must be harnessed to avoid “bitterly disappointing young people and future generations”, MEPs stress. Tailored schemes to retain and create jobs and retraining must be invested in, and vulnerable groups must be better protected, they add.

Guarantee recovery measures for sports sector

MEPs highlight the devastating consequences of the pandemic on the sports sector, which accounts for 2.12% of European GDP and 2.72% of total employment in the EU – representing around 5.67 million jobs.

They are concerned about possible lasting damage to professional and grassroots sports and, as a consequence, to public health in general . Member states should therefore support sports with national funds and include them in their recovery plans. In addition, the sector should have full access to the Recovery and Resilience Facility as well as sectoral programmes, such as the Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund and EU4Health. An EU-wide approach is needed to help the sector recover, notably by addressing recovery within the EU Work Plan for Sport.