Schuman Trophy Gala: scoring solidarity goals

Once again, the goals scored at the Interinstitutional football tournament turned into solidarity funds at the Schuman Trophy Gala, held on Wednesday in the Berlaymont. The official hand-over ceremony welcomed 20 charities that will share the €40,000 raised by the tournament to help deprived children in Belgium and beyond. Since 1997, the Schuman Trophy has collected close to €800,000 for more than 200 solidarity projects around the world

Each association received between €1,000 and €3,500, which will go to projects aimed at improving the lives of children living in extreme poverty and neglect. To highlight a few examples:

– The ’12 Hours for Greece’ association received €3,500 to provide fuel for school buses in remote areas of northern Greece, and support 18 families that lost all their belongings in this summer’s deadly fires;

– The ‘Planet Enfants de la rue’ association, active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, received €3,000 to complete the construction of a third building at St Rémi school, in Boma;

– The Maison d’Enfants Reine Marie-Henriette, active in Belgium, was given €2,500 to organise external activities for children who have to spend holidays at the nursery.

The 20 charities chosen will implement their projects in Belgium, Greece, Serbia, Lebanon, India, Benin, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Gianmarco Di Vita, Director-General for Budget and Administration in the EEAS, was the master of ceremony at the Gala, as a member of the Schuman Trophy Committee. The committee is composed of active staff and pensioners, including Jean-Marie Remy (DG GROW), Giuliano Ena (EEAS), Alexandre Santos (DG HR), Angelo Laurino and Joël Le Quément (pensioners). Around 100 people attended the ceremony, including senior managers from the Commission such as DG RTD Director-General Jean-Eric Paquet, and the former Director of PMO, Dominique Deshayes.

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger congratulated the Schuman Trophy committee and highlighted the fact that the women’s tournament has doubled in size since 2016, when it first launched.

Reflecting on the ethical dimension of the competition beyond sport, he said: « The key driver of this event is solidarity, a key value of the European Union, as enshrined at the forefront of the Treaties. I am very proud that the funds raised will be used to help disadvantaged children by providing them with school equipment, drinking water, irrigation, and fuel for school buses. »

Commissioner Oettinger congratulates the Schuman Trophy committee and the 2018 winning team ERCEA – the first ever Executive Agency to win the Schuman Trophy – Director-General Paquet said he was proud to be one of those who created the tournament 22 years ago to: « bring the Commission staff together ». Although he played for the DG RTD team (which was eliminated in the group stage), he confessed he is a supporter of DG RTD and ERCEA, both in football and in real life. « They multiply the impact of research and innovation policies, but also my possibilities as a Director-General to win the trophy, » he joked.

Rendez-vous in 2019 for the 23rd Edition of the Schuman Trophy

by Germán R. Páez, Commission en Direct