Welcome to the official website of the European Year of People with Disabilities!
2003 is the European Year of People with Disabilities. The year will drive progress towards achieving equal rights for people with disabilities. Across Europe attention will be focused on the many areas of European society where barriers and discrimination still exist for the one in ten Europeans with a disability. We have very high expectations for concrete outcomes of 2003: action at national level to prevent discrimination, new initiatives and new and stronger alliances.
People with disabilities should be at the centre of the European Year, which is about raising awareness of the rights of disabled people to full equality and participation in all areas. It is about tackling barriers that people with disabilities face, wherever they occur. The European Year is also about raising awareness that disability is an issue of concern to all of us.
Why would you get involved?
There are 37 million reasons why. 37 million people with disabilities in the European Union. That’s one in ten of us.
Disabled people are people with equal rights. Disabled people are workers, consumers, tax payers, politicians, students, neighbours, family and friends. But disabled people are not treated that way.
A recent European survey shows there is a serious lack of understanding of what disability means and how many people it affects. Disabled people should be treated as equal citizens who have the power to speak for themselves, not as objects of pity or charity. Disabled people are often excluded from society through poor education and unemployment, leading to poverty.
2003 is an opportunity to change the future for disabled people. And a good future for disabled people means a good future for all people.
The European Year is organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the European Disability Forum (EDF). The EDF is a European umbrella organisation representing more than 37 million disabled people in Europe.
At national level, the European year will be run by National Coordinating Bodies (NCBs). NCBs are composed of disability experts from ministries and non-governmental organisations.