Welcome to the official website of the European Year of People with Disabilities!


About EYPD

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.

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. I am confident that the Year will provide a strong impetus to set up these long term goals and the development of new initiatives through Europe. I want to encourage everyone to "get on board" this campaign.

This website is an important part of our campaign. Throughout 2003, it will provide information on all aspects of how to get involved in the European Year, in an accessible and user-friendly way. It is a valuable tool to help organise and promote actions for the year. I sincerely hope that many people will visit and make use of this site.

The European Year of People with Disabilities is an historic opportunity to improve the situation of disabled people throughout Europe. The European Disability Forum will continue working intensively to take advantage of this opportunity and to advance the disability agenda in the European Union. EDF has also very high expectations to see concrete outcomes out of 2003: new legislation, new initiatives and new alliances.

Disabled people are citizens with equal rights. They are active as politicians, workers, consumers, tax payers. New measures and active involvement from all sectors should lead to a positive change in the way our societies include disabled people. 2003 shall be the start of a new era, a new way in which society will look at people with disabilities

2003 is the European Year of People with Disabilities. The year’s objective is to drive progress towards achieving equal rights for people with disabilities. We have very high expectations for concrete outcomes of 2003: action at national level to prevent discrimination, new initiatives and new and stronger alliances.

Through this website we hope to create a community which will support the aims of the European Year. And together we can make a difference.

Festivals, debates, partnerships, conferences, protests, parties, lobbying and more…
Thousands of activities and events will happen in 2003 at national and local level. They will be linked through a People’s March. Starting in January 2003 a specially designed European Year bus will travel through cities, towns and villages in the 15 EU Member States. Have a look at the bus route!

Activities to promote the European Year will be decided and organised by the disability community in each country - “Nothing about us without us”.

The European Year will be coordinated in each country by a National Coordinating Body.

The candidate countries for EU accession have been invited to participate in the year by setting up the same structures as the EU member states.

But anyone can Get on Board! Do you have an idea or something to say? Then share it!

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.
But most of all, the European Year of People with Disabilities is your campaign. Disabled or non-disabled, you can make a difference. You are crucial for its success.
There are many ways to Get on Board. Here are some, but you may have more. Share your ideas with us!