22 May 2017

The European Olympic Committees Seminar, this year jointly run with the IOC Olympic Solidarity Regional Forum, was held on 19 and 20 May in Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Saturday, upon invitation by President Vasil Tupurkovski on the occasion of the NOC 25th anniversary,

Chaired by EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi, the 38th EOC Seminar was open in the presence of President Vasil Tupurkovski,  Mayor of the City of Skopje Koce Trajanovski and EOC Vice President. The two-day meeting covered a number of highly topical issues for some 200 delegates from the 50 European NOCs presidents, secretaries general and other key Olympic Movement stakeholders. First of all, the OS Forum, where  Deputy Director Pamela Vipond and her team  presented the 2017-2020 objectives, budgets and programmes. Two crucial workshops also were on the working programme: Preparation of the future sports events and Evolution of digital technology in sports communication.

A key focus of the Seminar was the upcoming events for NOCs, including the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the 2017 Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) in San Marino. Also on the agenda was the  kick-off ceremony for the 2017 Gyor summer European Youth Olympics Festival (EYOF), which will take place in Rome’s iconic Ara Pacis Museum.

Another major focus was the evolution of digital communication in sport and how NOCs can find new ways to increase their relevance and visibility online, particularly to the youth market. The Olympic Channel proposed new strategies in this regard, before the NOCs were presented with social media and sports data that can help tailor communications in the fast-paced social media age.

The Seminar followed a productive Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, chaired by Acting President Janez Kocijančič, where EC member Spyros Capralos gave a positive update on the progress of the Minsk 2019 European Games.

The 2019 Games also featured strongly on the final day of the Seminar with Capralos, who is Chair of the Coordination Commission, presenting NOCs with a report of his working group visit to Minsk last week. Director of the Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC) George Katulin also presented to delegates, providing detailed information of the venues for the Games. Capralos assured delegates that the venues are existing and of the highest quality.

On Friday evening, delegates gathered for a gala dinner to celebrate the NOC of the FYR of Macedonia’s 25th anniversary and announce Kelly Sildaru as the winner of the Winter Piotr Nurowski Prize for the Best European Athlete, which the 50 NOCs had voted on in the morning. After Acting President Janez Kocijančič’s and Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi’s closing remarks, Serbia was announced as next year’s host of the EOC Seminar.

Warm congratulations were espressed to Saso Popovski Secretary General the hosting NOC, his team  and wonderful volunteers.

After the Seminar closed, delegates were taken on a city sightseeing tour and partook in a 1.5km run.

Discussing the success of the Seminar and OS Forum, EOC Acting President Janez Kocijančič said:

“It has been an excellent and productive few days here in Skopje, with progress made in many different areas. I would like to extend my gratitude to our friends in Skopje who have been wonderful hosts, and once again congratulate the FYR of Macedonia NOC on their 25th anniversary celebrations. The EOC have lots to look forward to in the coming months and years, and we will continue to work hard to ensure our ongoing success. I would also like to thank all the NOCs for their hard work and contributions and the Olympic Solidarity Commission, who do an excellent job in supporting NOCs.”