Exclusive Interview with MEP Hannu Takkula

Exclusive Interview with MEP Hannu Takkula

MEP Hannu Takkula from Finland is in its third mandate at the European Parliament and is one of the Vice-Presidents of the Sport Intergroup. In the last few months he has been preparing the European Parliament’s upcoming Own-initiative Report on an integrated approach to sport policy. This report is a concrete follow-up of the work led by MEP Santiago Fisas in 2011 (and considered till now as the most complete European Parliament’s position on sports issues).

It is a pleasure and an honour for EOSE that he agreed to share his view as regard why the sector should and how it can take opportunities of the European policies in the field of skills development in order to secure and develop better its potential.

Enjoy the read!



Mr Takkula, could you please let us know a little bit more about this timely report -as the European Commission will evaluate the sport policy in 2017?
HT: “The report will be voted in CULT Committee in December and in the plenary in the beginning of 2017. As the EC will evaluate the sport policy in the spring of 2017, one of the targets of this report is to give guidelines and recommendations for the European Commission´s work on evaluating its policy implementation and to give signals to Member States and the organized sport sector, in cooperation with national and European public authorities.
One of the most important messages in the report is, that it stresses zero tolerance for corruption in sports, which is related both to integrity and good governance. The autonomy of the sport is a core issue of the report, where we build on Fisas’ report. The reason why we launch a new sports policy paradigm, ‘accessibility’, is that access to sport is now perceived as a fundamental right and everyone, including socially more vulnerable groups, such as older people, migrants and people with disabilities, must have equal rights to engage in physical activity and sport.”


“Integrity of sport”, “Good governance” and “Accessibility” are the three pillar you are mentioning. As you may know, EOSE has been working on “workforce development” in the sport and physical activity sector since its creation in 2002 and such topic is at the heart of our mission. What is the place of skills development in your INI Report and in particular in shaping up and/or reinforcing these three pillars?
HT: “The place of the skills development is in “Accessibility” pillar. The draft report describes that grassroots sport offers opportunities to tackle discrimination, to foster social cohesion and integration and to make a strong contribution to the development of transversal skills. I think sport as a tool for skills development is a cross sectoral theme, which deserves cross-sectoral thinking in policy making. Access for sports should be equal for the minors but as well for the elderly and sport should be part of lifelong learning.”


On the 9th of June, EOSE was invited as an expert to take part in the Final Symposium of the REPOPA project (research into Policy to enhance Physical Activity) which deals with Evidence Informed Policy Making. Two days earlier you said at the ENGSO Hearing on Grassroots sport that “Improving health should be the core target of any sport policy in the EU”. To your mind how could the researchers and policy makers work better together? What could be the role of sport organisations in this regard?
HT: “Improving physical activity as a target should be above everything in EU Sports policy, but also in the work of sports organisations. EU can offer a good platform for sharing best practices but also Erasmus+ programme can offer incentives to improve physical activity in all levels.”


The lack of comparable data –and in particular when dealing with measuring its impact- is often mentioned as a challenge for the monitoring of the sport sector. We are delighted to recently have received confirmation from the European Commission of funding through Erasmus+ (KA2) to establish a Sector Skills Alliance in Sport and Physical Activity in Europe (sport is part of the 4 sectors which received funding for it). Through this project, EOSE together with the recognised EU Social Partners and a network of national partners, will aim to conduct a Labour Market Analysis across the member states. The aim will be to provide and sustain a framework of reference that will ensure reliability, compatibility and comparability of data to define and understand the sport labour market and identify the skills needs of employers. What would you expect from such a project and consortium?
HT: “I think this is very welcomed proposal. As we are transferring to digital society, the usage of data comes very essential as well in the field of sports. I want to stress that I and also the majority of CULT members think, that skills and education should adapt to the needs of the labour market.”


 Interview by Carole Ponchon, EOSE European PR & Projects manager


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