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European day of disability and access city award 3rd and 4th of December 2018

On Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th December the European Disability Forum EDF) organized a conference to discuss problems, possibilities and the future of People with disabilities.

On Monday morning the conference began with some introduction words on the European accessibility act which had been agreed on by all 28-member states of the EU. These introductions made clear that there are still a lot of things to improve. On the other hand, the successes of the European accessibility act were underlined: Till 2020 the public transport, Books and emergency numbers have to be accessible for anyone in the 28-member states of the European Union. Before the program continued in the afternoon, the participants were invited to name problems and make suggestions on their behalf, how the money of future projects should be used to guarantee a life without barriers.

People invited to the conference were all really different: Some lived without any disability but worked for an organization interested in disabled people. Others represented different federations as for example the federation of death people or the federation for people with spefida befida. As a consequence, the asked questions and named problems all were quite different as well.

In the afternoon the main point of discussion turned to financial matters. In the beginning the audience herd something about the “Junker Plan” This plan shell provide the European Union with money even though it still has to recover from the financial crash of 2008. To provide this money we have the European commission on one hand – but also European and national banks on the other one. After the explanations on the question “How to get the money” The conference moved on to the question “how to spend that money to help disabled people?”

The EDF remarked that it’s important not to create new barriers by removing already known ones. In order to divide the money more effectively they created 4 sections: Public transport, social affairs, electronic accessibility and problems on the labor market. Through the division of the money in these four sections they already could reach some improvements such as more space for the legs in public transport. Furthermore, they plan to create better possibilities for disabled people who would like to live with their families and not in some special institution. In the end of their speech the European disability forum stated clearly, that accessibility is not only for disabled people, but also for elderly people or children.
At the end of the first conference day we herd an interesting report about the current situation on the finish labor market while Rumania made publicity for the time when they will get their first presidency of the European council in January 2019.

The second day of the conference was fully dominated by the access city awards. However, before the actual awards of 2018 were bestowed, some cities and institutions got the chance to tell the audience on their varieties of a barrier free visit. From special interest here was the louvre in Paris who promised full accessibility to death, blind and partially sighted as well as wheel chair users. Further information is provided on https://www.louvre.fr/accessibilite
At the end of the ceremony 5 new cities from Hungary, Poland, France, Spain and the Netherlands wan the access city award from 2018. Furthermore, cities from Denmark and Italy got awarded for making their cultural heritage more accessible. With the access city awards this year’s European conference on the topic disability ended.