EOC President Janez Kocijančič, left, has confimred the bidding process is open for hosting of the European Games of 2023 ©EOC

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) confirmed here today that it has launched the candidature process for the 3rd edition of the European Games in 2023, and expects to name a host before the 2nd edition begins in Minsk next June.

EOC President Janez Kocijančič.told insidethegames: "We can confirm we have had interest from all over Europe, including numerous Western countries.

He said that the chances of the Games going to a different part of Europe after their first two locations in Baku and Minsk were “very good”, although he added:

“It depends not only on us.

“We will try hard to get several candidates and to be in a position to compare the bids.”

His comment referenced what he described as the “banal circumstance” which caused The Netherlands to back out of hosting the second European Games when the Minister of Sport felt such a plan might hinder his party’s chance in the impending election.

Kocijančič was also keen to point out that the European Games were a flexible proposition for potential bidding cities or regions.

“Every edition of the European Games should be not only following our wishes and goals but should also follow the visions and goals of the hosting country,” he said.

“So we adapted to the wishes of Belarus – Belarus is a very experienced country in organising huge sports events, and for the time being the preparations are going very well.

“Everything big and essential is prepared.

“We could have the Games there tomorrow…

“But we are happy to adapt.

“I am quite sure if we are in the west there will be less martial arts sports and more of other sports which are at home in other countries.”

The candidature process, approved during a meeting of the Executive Committee, will begin with a dialogue phase, in line with measures initiated by the International Olympic Committee.

The closing date for the submission of Bid Documents is February 28 next year. 

According to Kocijančič, “the host city of the 2023 European Games will be announced ahead of the European Games Minsk 2019 so that the new host city can attend, and learn from, the second edition of the Games.”

Asked if he expected any new entries into the bidding at this stage, Kocijančič responded: “I think so.

“The interest is something abstract.

“We have a country which is highly interested, which would like to do whatever possible to be involved.

“We have country which is considering its top priority.

“We have some countries which are playing with the idea.

“We have to bring them at the same level and we will see what will happen - especially because we know that some ambitions vanish because of political developments.”

Kocijančič added: "The EOC is now inviting any city or cities interested in hosting Europe’s premier multisport event to enter into a discussion with their National Olympic Committees and the EOC to learn more about the concept and vision of the Games and to examine all key opportunities.

"Now that the official procedure is underway, we would like to speak in greater detail with interested parties to explore how the European Games could most benefit their cities and citizens.

“We are confident that in terms of value for money and outlay required, the European Games represent an excellent opportunity...

"Our challenge is very demanding.

"We would like to be second only to the Olympic Games."

The quadrennial European Games is the only pan-European multisport event directly aligned to the Olympic Games.

After the first edition held in Baku in 2015, the 2nd edition of the European Games is due to take place in Minsk June 21 until 30 next year.

"We believe in cost-efficient, sustainable Games at the level of quality second only to the Olympic Games," said Kocijančič.

"In Minsk, for example, only one of the 12 venues being used to host the Games had to be built from scratch.

"We work closely with the hosts from the very beginning to ensure that the cities and countries come away from the Games with as many positive, long-lasting legacies as possible."