IOC President Thomas Bach was in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, for a series of meetings with top leaders of the European Union, including Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.
Accompanied by IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper, he discussed a range of issues with Ms von der Leyen, including the values and solidarity-based European Sports Model and its contribution to European society.
They also spoke about the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer and all the other upcoming Olympic Games, of which two, Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, will take place in Europe. President Bach informed her about the very strict COVID-19 countermeasures being implemented ahead of and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the overall IOC policy with regard to the vaccination of participants.
In this regard, the IOC President informed her that a significant number of Olympic teams had already been vaccinated, and others had received commitments from their governments, in line with their respective national vaccination guidelines.
President Bach also met with the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the European vaccination programme. He informed the IOC President about the EU vaccination strategy and the increasing availably of vaccines in the coming months.
With EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, President Bach discussed the European Sports Model, which is fully supported by the Commissioner. She emphasised that this model should be fully reflected in the EU Work Plan for Sport 2021 to 2024. Another important topic of the conversation was the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 reforms, which were recently approved by the 137th IOC Session.
With EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, the IOC President and Director General also discussed the European Sports Model and the forthcoming conference on the Future of Europe. The EU Commission Vice-President expressed his full support for the values and solidarity-based European Sports Model
President Bach and Director General De Kepper later met Michel Barnier, the European Commission's former Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, who is a member of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission and was Co-President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992. With him, they discussed in depth sustainability and legacy aspects of the organisation of the Olympic Games as well as the European Sports Model, of which Mr Barnier is a great promoter.