Zagreb, November 24, 2017 - Four Olympic Association Presidents - Thomas Bach (International Olympic Committee), Janez Kocijančič (European Olympic Committees), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah (ANOC - Association of National Olympic Committees) and Zlatko Mateša (Croatian Olympic Committee) opened with welcoming speech the 46th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee (EOC), which began its two-day session this Friday in Zagreb.


The Head of the Croatian Olympic Committee returned once again to the podium to express his gratitude for being awarded the EOC’s Order of Merit award. Likewise, the State Secretary for Sports Janica Kostelić, after receiving special EOC's recognition for promoting the Olympism, thanked the Assembly.

Parliamentary reports followed and at some point between the morning and afternoon session, the aforementioned Olympic Heads (Bach, Sheikh Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Kocijančič and Mateša) were welcomed by the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović. They were joined by Pere Miro, Director of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity and IOC’s Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement, and Marina Baramia, IOC's Chief of Protocol.

At Pantovčak there was discussion on the importance of practicing sports, as well as on the session of the EOC’s General Assembly, abundant in presentations and reports. Most prominent were the video projections on the level of readiness of South Korean city of Pyeongchang for Winter Olympics 2018 or the Belarusian Minsk for the European Games in 2019, and the members of the Assembly were also presented the new format of athletic competitions that will take place at the European Games in Minsk.

The General Assembly was given an electoral character in the moment when it came to election of the association’s leadership. By a unanimous decision, Slovenian President Janez Kocijančič was granted a new presidential mandate of the EOC (until 2021), Raffaele Pagnozzi remained Secretary General, as well as Cyprus's Kikis Lazarides as Treasurer. Zlatko Mateša was re-elected member of the EOC’s Executive Committee, which embraces the representatives of other 11 European countries.

The Croatian Olympic Committee also concluded a new, highly important agreement - on partnership with the EOC's EU office in Brussels, through which the participation of the Croatian Olympic Committee in the EU funds will be facilitated.
- The signing of this agreement between the Croatian Olympic Committee and the EOC is of great importance, not only for the Croatian Olympic Committee, but also for the overall Croatian sport. Our cooperation so far has been great and we look forward to a new step up in our relations - said the Head of the EOC Janez Kocijančič.
-The Secretary General Josip Čop signed the agreement on behalf of the Croatian Olympic Committee:
- The Croatian Olympic Committee recognized the importance of co-operation with the EOC's office in Brussels. We hope for successful co-operation on European projects and in designing of European sports policies. 

The significance of the agreement, which should be of help to our sports in the future, was also recognized in the statement of the IOC’s President Thomas Bach from the podium of the hotel Westin's Crystal Hall in Zagreb:
- It is my pleasure to be a guest of always great hosts in Croatia, a great sports nation, despite a small population...
The Assembly session will continue on Saturday (9 am) and will end around 1 pm, when an official press conference is scheduled.

(coc / vk)