European Day of People with Disabilities
As part of international events to recognise issues facing persons with disabilities, Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, presented on Thursday the Access City award 2012 to the Austrian city Salzburg. The annual honour is a key action under the EU's disability strategy. It was presented on the occasion of the European Day of People with Disabilities. The Access City initiative is organised in partnership with the European Disability Forum and aims to promote accessibility initiatives in European cities.
The European jury selected Salzburg for its outstanding achievements in all key accessibility areas. The other finalists (in alphabetical order) were Krakow (Poland), Marburg (Germany) and Santander (Spain), while four other cities received special mentions.
Access City is part of the Commission's European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 action to create a barrier-free Europe and provide better access for 80 million people with disabilities.
At the event, Commissioner Reding said "I would like to see an Accessibility Act for Europe and intend to come forward with a proposal by the end of 2012." She also said that accessibility can stimulate innovation and economic growth. European Disability Forum President Yannis Vardakastanis described accessibility of cities as "a prerequisite for more than 80 million Europeans with disabilities to exercise their rights and participate fully in society."