Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Second Report



COM (02) 220

Commission Communication to the Council concerning the Commission's participation in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its funding

Legal base:
Document originated:6 May 2002
Deposited in Parliament:16 May 2002
Department:Culture, Media and Sport
Basis of consideration:EM of 29 May 2002
Previous Committee Report:None
To be discussed in Council:No date set
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared


  9.1  On 5 April 2000, we recommended a Commission Communication, Community Support Plan to Combat Doping in Sport, for debate in European Standing Committee C, together with The Helsinki Report on Sport[27]. The debate took place on 17 January 2001[28].

  9.2  The Communication concluded that the Community should take action to support the struggle against doping in sport. It said that the Community should mobilise the instruments at its disposal and support measures taken by national authorities and sports organisations. The then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr Chris Smith) was firmly opposed to any extension of Community competence to sport. He recognised that more needed to be done to combat doping in sport, but believed that this was best done by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The motion agreed by the European Standing Committee was that it "considers that the special nature and role of sport should be recognised in applying Community rules to sporting activity; and supports the Government's intention to ensure that Europe is effectively represented in the deliberations of the World Anti-Doping Agency."

  9.3  In his Explanatory Memorandum of 29 May, the Minister for Sport (Mr Richard Caborn) provides useful background to WADA and Community participation in the body and its funding, as follows:

"WADA is an independent organisation which seeks to promote and coordinate the fight against doping in sport at an international level. WADA was set up under the initiative of the International Olympic Committee with the support and participation of intergovernmental organizations, governments, public authorities and other public and private bodies fighting against doping in sport. It was established in 1999 and its Foundation Board consists of representatives of the Olympic Movement and various Governments from all over the World, including EU Member States. At the outset, it was agreed that WADA should be funded solely by the Olympic Movement for the first two years of its existence, but after 1 January 2002 Governments would also make contributions alongside the Olympic Movement to WADA's funding.

"European Union involvement in WADA was considered by the European Council on 4 December 2000 when it was agreed that EU Member States would be represented on the WADA Foundation Board jointly by the President-in-Office of the Council and by a member of the European Commission. It was also agreed that any Community expenditure on WADA would require adoption of a measure with an appropriate legal base."

The Commission Communication

  9.4  The Commission says that the purpose of this Communication is:

"to inform the Council how the Commission has implemented these Conclusions,[29] particularly with regard to representation and funding, and to examine the future prospects for relations between the Community and the Agency".

  9.5  Following the adoption of the Conclusions, the Commission appointed Commissioner Viviane Reding to the Community on the WADA Foundation Board. It also began work on proposals for Community funding of WADA.

  9.6  At its first meeting, in January 2000, the Foundation Board amended the statutes, replacing the rule of unanimity for adoption of the budget by that of adoption by a two-thirds majority. The Commission was powerless to oppose this change as it only had observer status. It subsequently informed WADA that, before a proposal on Community funding could be submitted, it regarded two conditions as essential to safeguard the prerogatives of the budgetary authority. These were:

  • the establishment of clear five year budget forecasts; and

  • the amendment of WADA's statutes in order to avoid the Community having binding budgetary decisions imposed upon it without consent.

  9.7  In its Communication, the Commission says that it has reminded WADA repeatedly of these two conditions but at the Board meeting on 3 December 2001 the Chairman recognised that the Community budget rules and those of the Agency could not be reconciled. The Commission decided to annul the appointment of Commissioner Reding and to inform the Council.

  9.8  The Minister provides more detail. He says that although there is no direct legal base in the EC Treaty for the Community to take action in relation to sport, the European Commission has continued to promote the use of certain Treaty Articles/Community policies, such as social, public health and criminal/policing policies, to fund and develop anti-doping actions in sport. Following the December 2000 European Council, the Commission agreed that it would put forward proposals for a Community contribution to WADA's core budget under one of these existing Treaty articles. The Minister comments:

"Most EU Member States' Sports Ministries, with the exception of the UK, have been happy for the Commission to put forward proposals for Community funding of WADA on this basis, with Article 152 (Public Health) being the preferred option.

"However, during 2001 the Commission did not put forward proposals for Community funding of WADA because it was concerned that WADA's budget did not conform to the EU's strict budgetary controls, in particular the need for WADA to establish clear five year budget forecasts and for WADA to amend its statutes to avoid the Community having binding budgetary decisions imposed upon it without consent.

"Despite ongoing negotiations with WADA, the Commission stated at the end of 2001 that these conditions had not been met and that it was unable to submit proposals for Community funding of WADA. As a result, EU Member States needed to make alternative arrangements to contribute to WADA's core budget for 2002. Following further discussion at the start of 2002, EU Member States agreed to make a collective contribution to WADA through the Council of Europe and a special account was set up in February 2002. As the Commission has not made a contribution to the WADA budget it has decided to annul the appointment of Commissioner Reding to the WADA Board."

The Government's view

  9.9  The Minister says:

"Throughout these discussions the UK has opposed proposals for Community funding of WADA through the Commission on the basis that there is no power in the EC Treaty on which the Community could base such funding. The primary function of WADA is to regulate sporting competitions and to eliminate cheating. As such, WADA's core activities do not fall within fields of action covered by the European Treaties.

"The UK has argued that alternative options for EU Member States financial contributions to WADA need to be considered. The UK has, therefore, pressed for collective funding of WADA by EU Member States through other sources such as the Council of Europe.

"The UK believes that core funding of WADA through the Council of Europe remains the appropriate mechanism for EU Member States to collectively finance WADA, not only as a temporary measure but also in the long term. In light of the decisions made by the European Commission, the current situation suits the UK's position on this matter.

"Although EU Member States have now accepted this position for 2002, most see it as a temporary measure. It is likely that they will put pressure on the Commission to come up with proposals for Community funding of WADA for 2003 and beyond. The UK will continue to argue that any such collective Community funding of WADA must have an appropriate legal base. There will be further discussion amongst EU Member States about the best form of representation on WADA over the next few months".

  9.10  At the Informal Meeting of EU Sports Ministers on 18 May 2002, it was agreed that the EU Member States would be represented at the next WADA Foundation Board meeting by the current EU Presidency holders (Spain) and the subsequent Presidency (Denmark).


  9.11  Given the rigour of the requirements of the Community budgetary authority, and the World Anti-Doping Agency's decision that it was unable to meet the two conditions which the Commission felt obliged to set to safeguard the prerogatives of that budgetary authority, the Commission clearly had no option but to withdraw.

  9.12  The Minister says that the present situation suits the UK's position. There appears to be no immediate challenge to it. We therefore clear the document, but ask the Minister to inform us of the outcome of the further discussion which he says will take place over the next few months about representation of the EU on WADA.

27  (20988) - and (20765) - ; see HC 23-xiii (1999-2000), paragraphs 3 and 2 (5 April 2000).  Back

28  Official Report, European Standing Committee C, 17 January 2001 Back

29  Council Conclusions: OJ C 356 of 12.12.2000, p.1. Back

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