EOC celebrates Europe Day!
9 May 2020
Europe Day is an icon of the European Union along with the European flag, the single currency and the Anthem of Europe. It is both a day aimed at raising awareness about the European Union and an occasion for European citizens of each Member State to celebrate their different cultures and traditions.
Held on 9 May every year, Europe Day pays tribute to continental peace and unity. The date marks the anniversary of the historic ‘Schuman Declaration,’ a speech delivered in Paris in 1950 by then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, in which he put forth his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe that would make war between European nations unthinkable.
In the sports world, this concept of union came to fruition a few years later in Europe, the birthplace of Olympism and the modern Olympic Games.
The idea of grouping the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Europe under a single umbrella was first tabled in 1967 in Tehran, where three enlightened sports leaders – Giulio Onesti (ITA), Raoul Mollet (BEL) and Raymond Gafner (SUI) – laid the foundation of what would later become known as the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
From there, European NOCs one by one started to support the idea of a unified continental association. This led a year later at the 1968 Versailles Assembly to the creation of the Continental Association of European NOCs, under the leadership of Count Jean de Beaumont (FRA), who became its first president.
In 1975 in Lisbon, the body, which at the time brought together 22 NOCs, adopted written statutes and a definitive name: “The Association of European NOCs (AENOC).” This name would eventually evolve into how the association is known today: The European Olympic Committees (EOC).
Over the years, the structure and activities of the organisation were strengthened and increased under the guidance of several influential leaders, in particular Belgium’s Jacques Rogge, Italy’s Mario Pescante and Slovenia’s Janez Kocijančič, the current EOC President.
The EOC headquarters are now based in Rome within the beautiful “Foro Italico” complex, which belongs to the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).
The group of European NOCs has gradually expanded to reach its current number of 50 members. The EOC is committed to supporting the activities of the 50 NOCs and work closely with European Federations (EFs), government agencies, athletes and organising committees.
Representatives from the European NOCs gather twice a year to share their ideas and initiatives at the EOC General Assembly and the EOC Seminar.
With the goal of spreading the Olympic values and inspiring sport and healthy lifestyles across Europe, the EOC organises three main elite sporting events: the European Games, the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) and the Games of the Small States of Europe.
The EOC also has a branch office in Brussels to liaise with the European Union and raise the profile of Olympic sport in Europe, ensuring that sport remains an integral part of the continent’s political and legislative agenda.
It is for these reasons and many more that the EOC today enthusiastically celebrates #EuropeDay alongside all EU countries and all 50 European NOCs.