Paris 2024 Touted As “European Candidacy” for Olympics By EU Parliament

Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games said it welcomed the “strong support of the European Parliament” after presenting the project to European leaders in Brussels, Belgium Tuesday.

Paris skyline featuring the Eiffel Tower. City is said to be representing a European Campaign to host the 2024 Olympic Games (GamesBids Photo)

European Union (EU) Parliament Chief Antonio Tajani said athletes will “win as Europeans” at the proposed Paris 2024 Games adding “this is a European Candidacy for 2024,” when he made remarks at a scheduled press conference.

The comments followed a presentation to Parliament by newly appointed French Minister for Sport and Olympic Champion fencer Laura Flessel, Paris 2024 Co-Chair Bernard Lapasset and Director of Impact and Heritage Paris 2024 Marie Barsacq.

A statement released by Paris 2024 said “Paris 2024 has received a boost with the European Parliament, the legislative arm of the European Union, coming out in support of the bid.”

No parliamentary vote was taken after the presentation that was listed on the official agenda as a “Presentation of the European Olympic Candidacy: Paris 2024.”

Tajani further emphasized, in comments that suggest a broad political motive in Paris’ campaign against Los Angeles, how he saw the EU as a collaborative sport entity.  He said we want “to see the European flag flying alongside national flags at the Olympic Games and we want to win at the Olympics as Europeans.”

“That’s something we’re working on with the national federations.

“Of course we want to see the French flag there, the national flags there, and the Italian flag there as far as I’m concerned, but we will want to make clear that this is a European candidacy for 2024.”

French Minister of Sports and French épée fencer Laura Flessel addresses media at top of Eiffel Tower. She has won the most medals of any French female Olympian, with five (GamesBids Photo)

French Minister of Sports and French épée fencer Laura Flessel addresses media at top of Eiffel Tower. She has won the most medals of any French female Olympian, with five (GamesBids Photo)

Flessel reportedly responded “the thing that we’re hoping for is that on the 13th of September it will be the European and French Games” when Tajani mused that she could be flag bearer for the European Union.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules strictly forbid the use of any logos, messages or markings indicating political messages by athletes at the Games – other than their national decorations.  An EU flag could be prohibited as part of this regulation.

The IOC is dominated by European members, many of those representing countries that belong to the EU.  In total there are 26 EU members in the 95-member organization; there will be 24 eligible EU voters out of 89 total eligible IOC voters when the 2024 host city is elected in Lima, Peru.

Members from France and the United States are not eligible to vote due to their obvious bias, but if Paris could lock in the European vote through an informal coalition, it could gain a significant edge.

The broad European backing is now possible after other EU cities Hamburg, Rome and Budapest dropped from the 2024 race due to the loss of public and political support.

Paris and LA are currently locked in a battle for the 2024 Games, but bid reforms set to be discussed Friday by the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne may lay a path for both cities to be awarded the Games in 2024 and 2028 – in an order yet to be determined.  Unconfirmed speculation in the media, however, suggests Paris is the likely 2024 choice.

Follow @gamesbids on Twitter for updates.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.