The London 2012 Olympic Games are on their way, and on the medal count it’s nation states that matter. Yet, when you look to the agendas of recent EU-level meetings and the matters the EU deals with, you will realise that the European Union is actually directly and indirectly implicated in what’s going on in London.
Just a small list of issues how the EU related itself to the Olympic Games, politically, administratively, financially:
- The EU funds contributed almost 9 million Euro for the “Total airport security system” (TASS), including 2 scenarios regarding the Heathrow Airport during the Olympic Games (source, p. 19-20).
- In December 2011, the UK delegation to the EU Council Law Enforcement Working Party informed participants in the “European Network for the Protection of Public Figures (ENPPF)” about expected visitors and possible threats (source, p. 4).
- Several Members of the European Parliament have been involved with Olympic Games in the past, both as athletes and as organisers (source).
- The Olympic Games have come up several time during the European Parliament debate on the European dimension in sport in February 2012. The resolution passed on this matter covers in particular women’s rights in the context of Olympic games.
- A recent European Parliament Library Briefing on “Fair Trade in EU Public Procurement” mentions fair trade at the Olympic Games as an example for changing views on this matter.
- The European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumers has put up a special page to inform EU citizens travelling to London about their rights. The Transport Directorate General published guidelines that concern the specific rights of disabled persons travelling to the Olympic Games and elsewhere.
- In June 2012, the European Commission made a decision that exempts 150 London buses from the obligation (by EU law) use tachographs during the time of the Olympic Games.
- The European Social Fund has co-financed the “Personal Best” program in the UK that guaranteed participants with problems to get into the labour market to get an interview with the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (source).
Now that’s just some of the issues a quick research could dig up. It shows that EU money, EU regulations, EU institutions and general European cooperation matter in the context of such an international event organised by an EU member state.
Interestingly, it matters in such wide areas as transport, consumer rights, human rights, security, health and justice, showing the wide range of issues in which the EU has a role to play today – or, as some of the cases listed above show, rather would like to have a role to play.