London Calling: the Olympic dimension of the European Parliament 


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Several MEPs have participated in the Olympic Games in the past ©BELGA_Belpres_Philippe Turpin_36265363_sml  

For 19 days athletes from across the world will test their limits in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. But it's not just a sporting event, it's also about bringing different nations closer together. EP president Martin Schulz says the Games' ancient traditions should encourage the search for peaceful solutions to world conflicts.

The magic of sport

Mr Schulz hailed the Olympics as a source of inspiration. He said: "The traditional Olympic Truce dating back to the 9th century BC in Ancient Greece still has relevance today: it encourages the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world."

He continued: "The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of a sporting competition, it transcends borders and brings thousands of athletes and spectators together from all corners of the world.  The Olympic Games inspires and allows people of all ages to dream, this is the magic of sport. This summer's London Olympics will be a period of the highest sporting achievements respecting the spirit of fair play."

Athletes in plenary

Did you know that some of today's MEPs have been involved with the Olympics?

Finnish Christian-Democrat Sari Essayah is a retired race walker who came fourth in the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Four years later she was 16th in Atlanta.

Slovak Christian-Democrat Peter Šťastný is a former NHL ice hockey player who represented Czechoslovakia in Lake Placid in 1980 and Slovakia in Lillehammer in the 1994 winter Olympics.

Greek Liberal-Democrat Theodoros Skylakakis was in 2004 as the deputy mayor of Athens responsible for the coordination of the Games in the Greek capital.

And then there's former Hungarian president and sportsman Pál Schmitt who served as the EP's vice president from 2009 to 2010. He won a gold medal as a fencer at the summer Olympics in Mexico City in 1968 and repeated the feat in Munich in 1972.

Voting for sports

Sports have featured on the EP's agenda several times this year. In February MEPs adopted a resolution that aims to strengthen the European identity by organising a European day of sports every year and setting up a European mobility programme for young athletes.

And of course, president Schulz is a dedicated football fan. In June he picked his dream team for the Euro 2012 tournament. Have a look by clicking on the link to the right.