European Day of Persons with Disabilities Conference 2012
The conference, organised every year in close cooperation with the European Disability Forum, is part of the EU’s wider efforts to promote the mainstreaming of disability issues in line with the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
In the area of disability, the year 2011 saw some important positive achievements such as the entry into force of the UN CRPD for the EU. However, the economic and financial crisis has continued to make life more difficult for many European citizens and in particular for people with disabilities who often risk to be adversely affected by austerity measures adopted by the EU Member States.
In the year 2012 the visibility of persons with disabilities was arguably boosted by the London Paralympics. However, they are still critically underrepresented in all most visible arenas of public life – such as politics, media, cinema, and most cultural activities. This is why this year's Conference focused on the active participation of persons with disabilities in different areas of public life, such as politics (e.g. active and passive voting rights, involvement in political parties, participation in mainstream NGOs etc); media (quantity and quality of the presence of the disabled in the media, including cinema); sports (competitive sports and leisure).
The 2012 Conference aimed to:
- Highlight outstanding examples of active involvement of persons with disabilities in politics, media, sports and other visible sectors of our societies;
- Explore how policies at all levels (European, national, local) can support and promote good practice in politics, media, and sports.
The sessions involved panels with presentations by people with disabilities, representatives of disability organisations, social partners, service-providers, disability and accessibility experts coming from the Member States and the European Commission. The focus was on useful examples of active involvement of persons with disabilities in politics, media, sports and other visible sectors of our societies; models of good policy practice, possible future policies and practical examples of problems and solutions.
Early 2013 the Commission will publish a concise conference report online.
On 3 December, the German city of Berlin was announced as the winner of the Access City Award 2013 during a festive ceremony by Commission Vice President Viviane Reding.