The concept of Olympic solidarity was given birth to by the founding fathers of the worldwide association of NOCs in the sixties with the aim of promoting and coordinating aid to the less affluent NOCs, in particular those of decolonised countries.
A first Commission for Olympic Solidarity was set up at the behest of Giulio Onesti (ITA), Raoul Mollet (BEL) and Raymond Gafner (SUI), and was then merged with the Olympic International Aid Committee chaired by Comte de Beaumont (FRA) in 1971.
It then passed completely under the aegis of the IOC as Olympic Solidarity in 1981, with the function of distributing revenues from the Olympic Games to the NOCs of the five continents.
In Europe, as of 1991, efforts have been concentrated on helping the new members the product of the events that followed the fall of the Berlin wall. Over and above some financial assistance, a specifically designed aid programme, which included training for sports administrators and seminars on marketing and sports organisation, was implemented with the help of Olympic Solidarity.
Between 1992 and 1997, the European NOCs benefitted from a series of initiatives tailored to their specific needs within the framework of the "European Project", the ad hoc programme for this Continent, which replaced the regional or continental courses Olympic Solidarity generally provides for the NOCs. Thanks to this programme, it became possible to implement activities linked directly or indirectly to the preparation of the Olympic Games, such as: national courses for high level athletes, sports officials and coaches; the participation of high level athletes in training camps abroad; anti-doping measures; visits to the Olympic sites; participation in Continental or Regional Games (the Mediterranean Games, the Balkan Games, the Games of the Small States of Europe, EYOD now called EYOF - European Youth Olympic Festival, etc.); medical check-ups and aptitude tests, etc. Activities aimed at strengthening the role of the NOCs were also funded by the European Project, such as: refresher and specialized seminars, in service training for officials and administrative staff, etc.
Starting in 1997, Olympic Solidarity's change of policy inspired by Pere Miró acknowledged that the Continental Associations of NOCs were privileged partners. The EOC collaborated closely in the implementation of many activities proposed to the European NOCs within the framework of Olympic Solidarity's twelve programmes for preparation and participation at the Olympic Games (technical courses and in service training, Olympic scholarships, etc.), on supporting the NOCs and their development (assistance in management, training of officials, marketing, etc.) and on establishing specific programmes (medical, Sport for All, Sport and Environment, etc.).
2001 marked the start to a new Olympic Solidarity strategy the main characteristic of which is the greater autonomy granted to the European NOCs. As part of this programme for progressive decentralisation, OS entrusted the management of continental programmes to the European association, making of the EOC an OS continental office.
In effect, whilst the world programme is managed directly by OS, the continental programme is now managed by the EOC in coordination with Olympic Solidarity. The EOC gives all ENOCs a fixed annual amount and offers additional subsidies for special activities.