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Tag: Europe

Having recently learnt about bad practices in the provision of care-services for people with disabilities in Belgium, France and Romania, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) highlights the need to monitor the quality standards of all types of social service provision in Europe and calls on the EU institutions to provide a technical response to avoid more scandals in the future as well as a political reaction based on a public hearing in the European Parliament.

Some European media have recently published that over 6.000 French persons with disabilities have been obliged to go to Belgian centers to receive care services due to a lack of such services in France. To make the situation even worst, some of these Belgium centers do not have the adequate infrastructure and lack sufficient trained staff to provide the necessary quality services. In addition, it has also come to our notice that cases of abuse have recently come to light in some Romanian centers, including at least two financed by EU structural funds. Thus, there are serious doubts regarding the availability and quality of the services which are provided in EU countries. There is also a growing criticism from Civil Society on the lack of action taken so far by public authorities to prevent these situations and comply with their Human Rights commitments; in the case of Romania, by the EU financing abuse in such residences.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), ratified by the three countries as well as concluded by the EU, persons with disabilities have the right to live independently and receive appropriate community-based services. An important aspect of quality service provision is that people with disabilities should be supported within their community; yet in the case of France, families were only really offered the possibility to receive services in another country, far away from their homes. Excellence and high quality services have to become common practice, being both inclusive and tailored to the individual needs.

From the Black Sea to the North Sea, more and more cases are coming to light. According to EASPD, this situation shows how important it is to support and help national, regional and local service providers and public authorities in the development of a community-based care system. EASPD, as a network of service providers is committed to help all organisations in their transition process by providing them the required expertise to promote the transition towards community-based services.

EASPD calls the EU institutions to address these problems by:

  • Organising a Public Hearing on the matter by the European Parliament, involving public authorities, service providers, Organisations representing disabled people, civil society and experts at all levels.
  • Ensuring by all means possible that structural funds are used to support the transition towards community-based services.  This will only happen if NGOs are actively involved in the planning of the national operational programmes as agreed by Member States in the new rules governing the EU Cohesion Policy for the period 2014-2020.
  • Ensuring that the European Disability Strategy is taken into account in the European Semester process to ensure dialogue between the national and European levels on the actions they are taking to fully implement the UN CRPD.

European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities

EASPD, a non-profit NGO in the disability sector, promotes the views of over 10, 000 social services and their umbrella associations. There are over 80 million people with a disability throughout Europe. The main objective of EASPD is to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities through effective and high-quality service systems

For more information, please contact:

Nieves Tejada Castro
Communications Officer
T. +32 2 282 46 18

Luk Zelderloo
Secretary General
T. +32 2 282 46 10

The EDF report: A Compilation of Resources on the Web-Accessibility Internal Market gathers resources in relation to web-accessibility. This list of resources is by no means exhaustive but brings further insights:
– It present reports and studies illustrating the state of play of websites access in Europe and providing further insight on the socio-economic rationale behind making websites accessible;
– It gives the voice to persons with disabilities illustrating the everyday problems they encounter because of lack of access to websites;
– It also brings the perspective of some web developers providing services of web-accessibility;
– And some accessible owners explain why they think it is worth designing accessibly.

Download EDF Report: A Compilation of Resources on the Web-Accessibility Internal Market

EDF has developed a Telecoms Package Toolkit to support the efforts to bring a real change for persons with disabilities to equally access e-communications. This Toolkit lists the provisions related to e-accessibility for persons with disabilities in the EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications Networks and Services (the Telecoms Package) and gives insights on how they could be understood to enable a full and common understanding throughout the EU. This toolkit is primarily targeted at EDF member organizations to enhance their capacity in following up on the transposition into national legislation and the implementation of the Telecoms Package; but, it could also be useful to anyone who wishes to better understand the disability-related provisions in the Telecoms Package. The toolkit is available on alternative format upon demand.
Download the toolkit

CEN, CENELEC and ETSI are organising a 2nd open workshop on “European Accessibility requirements in public procurement of ICT products and services” to be held in Brussels on 28 October 2011. This is the second of a series of three workshops that give stakeholders an opportunity to learn about the work, to discuss the latest drafts of the standards and reports and to give feedback about the work being done.
Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Palentype and sign language can be made available upon request.

Between 2007 and 2010, Certu (Centre for the study of urban planning, transport and public facilities in France) conducted a study in 11 European cities, located in five different countries: Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain. The results of this work are now being published and are available as a French/English book, and can only be purchased on the Certu’s on-line catalog (for €40 + delivery cost).

Also a symposium will now be organised on accessibility practices observed in European cities. This event will take place in Montpellier (France), on Tuesday, September 27th 2011. The working languages will be both French and English. The registration fee (€105) includes a copy of the book mentioned above.

Practical information and registration
Corinne Ginestet – +33 (0)4 67 99 76 40

Registration fees
€105, including lunch and a copy of the book « Accessibility practices in 11 European cities for persons of reduced mobility » (published on summer 2011 – price 40€)

Online registration:

Montpellier – Maison des étudiants – Espace Richter
Place Eugène Bataillon
34090 Montpellier
Map available on the website

First results of the 1st survey of the eAccessibility2020 study are available. The detailed analysis will be available in early September.

Basic statistics (as of 27/07/11):

The mean age of the respondents is 44 (ranging from 25 to 86 years old) with 73% of them being men and 27% being women. 18% of the respondents fall under the category of either having a disability or being a carer of a disabled person or being above 65. Finally 14% of the responses came from countries outside the EU.


Concerning the ‘User Needs’ respondents consider that practically all aspects of life of older people and people with disabilities will require new eAccessibility solutions by 2020. Health (Health: access to medical ICT devices & Health: access to e-health information services) and employment (Employment: e-work applications of tomorrow) appear at the top of the list.
In the same area of ‘User Needs’, respondents rate as more important for new eAccessibility solutions in 2020 the: cognitive disabilities and the multiple disabilities. These two types of disability are ranked first in the list that covers also visual, hearing, speech, mobility and psychological disabilities.
From a technological perspective and according to the survey results, 4 novel ICT solutions have been highlighted among a list of 18 as the most promising for the development of new eAccessibility solutions in 2020:

  • New Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Interfaces and Platforms
  • Motion and Gesture-recognition Systems
  • Ambient Intelligence (e.g. appliances and devices embedded in the home environment, that are context aware i.e. recognise the user and also personalized or even anticipatory)
  • Language Technologies (Natural Language Processing)

Respondents recognise that there is evidence of future societal, technology and/or market trends affecting (directly or indirectly) the development of e-accessibility solutions. The following 3 trends reach the top:

  • Societal trend: Growing number of older people living alone
  • ICT trend: Multi-purpose interaction devices (e.g. smart phones and terminals)
  • Market trend: Mainstreaming of accessibility in ICT products and services

Finally, in the question ‘How important do you judge each of the following initiatives / actions for the future mainstreaming of e-Accessibility solutions?’ surprisingly responses bring ‘Enhancing awareness on eAccessibility requirements among IT developers/ companies’ on the top, leaving below other important initiatives such as: stricter policy enforcement, research at EU level or networking among relevant actors.