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The Competition

In the inaugural edition launched in July 2010, some 66 European cities from 19 EU countries put themselves forward as candidates.

In each EU country from which entries were received, national juries were composed of representatives of national Disability Councils, national authorities and accessibility experts.

These juries selected from their national applicants up to a maximum of three cities as National Nominees. The national pre-selection round thus resulted in a total number of 30 competitors that were then submitted to the European Jury.

The city of Ávila, in Spain, was selected as the winner of Access City 2011 Choose translations of the previous link  by a European Jury led by Paralympic champion Mark Ecclestone, supported by a team of specialists in the area of accessibility.

The other three finalists were Barcelona (Spain), Cologne (Germany) and Turku (Finland) Choose translations of the previous link .

The Award ceremony took place in Brussels on 2 December 2010 within the context of the European Day of People with Disabilities Conference held in the presence of:

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium,
  • Ms Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission,
  • Mr Jean-Marc Delizée, Secretary of State of Social Affairs, in charge of disabled persons (Belgium),
  • Mr Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum.

The ceremony was presented by the Dutch TV host Ms. Lucille Werner.

Ávila was selected as the winner on account of:

  • its comprehensive plan,
  • the high level of political commitment,
  • the progress achieved so far,
  • the effective involvement of people with disabilities in the process.

It is an ancient city with a challenging environment where accessibility has become a core issue running through all municipal policies and is applied to all spheres of society including town planning, building, communication and transport.

The other three finalists Choose translations of the previous link  have also developed comprehensive plans to address accessibility in the competition's four areas.

The European jury

The European Jury was composed of:

  • Mark Eccleston, Chairman: Silver Medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics in wheelchair tennis and member of the first British team to win the World Team Cup (Davis Cup of wheelchair tennis); he is also a motivational speaker and consultant;
  • Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of the Unit "Rights of Persons with Disabilities" of the European Commission, DG Justice;
  • Silvio Sagramola, European Disability Forum representative, Director of Info-Handicap and EuCAN project coordinator;
  • Ann Frye, International specialist on the transport needs of disabled and older people;
  • Monika Klenovec, Architect, accessibility consultant and business coach;
  • Jesus Hernandez, Accessibility director at the ONCE Foundation;

Klaus Miesenberger, Researcher and teacher of practical IT support for the integration of persons with disabilities.