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European Commission - Press release

Salzburg wins EU award for disabled-friendly cities

Brussels, 1 December 2011 – The Austrian city Salzburg today won the Access City award 2012, the European prize for making cities more accessible to people with disabilities. The annual honour aims to award efforts to improve accessibility in the urban environment and to foster equal participation of people with disabilities. The European Commission commended Salzburg's long-standing commitment, coherent approach and excellent results in improving accessibility, achieved with the direct participation of people with disabilities.

Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, presented the award on the occasion of the European Day of People with Disabilities. The initiative – organised in partnership with the European Disability Forum (EDF) – is a key action under the EU's disability strategy (IP/10/1505 and MEMO/10/578) and aims to promote accessibility initiatives in European cities.

"Making life accessible for everyone is at the heart of our strategy for a barrier-free Europe," said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. "The Access City award helps to highlight and promote good practice across Europe, at a time when an ageing population is making accessibility for all a necessity. Accessibility can be a stimulus for innovation and economic growth. This is particularly relevant in the current economic climate. I would like to see an Accessibility Act for Europe and intend to come forward with a proposal by the end of 2012."

The European jury selected Salzburg for its outstanding achievements in all key accessibility areas: the built environment and public spaces; transport and related infrastructure; information and communication, including new technologies, public facilities and services.

The other finalists were (in alphabetical order):

  • Krakow (Poland), selected for its commitment to improving accessibility in the challenging context of an inaccessible infrastructure and for the special attention paid to access cultural heritage monuments;

  • Marburg (Germany), chosen for its long-standing commitment to accessibility, a clear, long-term strategy for the future, and for the exemplary integration of people with disabilities in the municipality's accessibility projects, from the planning phase to execution;

  • Santander (Spain), nominated as a finalist for its consistently accessibility-friendly urban programmes following a universal design approach, as well as for the quality and sustainability of the results achieved.

The second edition of the Access City award received nominations from 114 cities in 23 EU countries. Participating cities had to provide evidence of their efforts and achievements in guaranteeing equal access for everybody, regardless of age or ability. National juries composed of people with disabilities and experts on accessibility pre-selected thirty-one applicants for the European level selection.

Background

'Accessibility' means that people with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and systems, and other facilities and services.

This is the second annual edition of the Access City award. The first went to Avila in Spain (IP/10/1641). In addition to the winner and three finalists, this year the jury also assigned special mentions to:

  • Grenoble (France) for public facilities and services: a long-standing commitment to improving accessibility and a coherent social inclusion policy underpinned by accessible infrastructures;

  • Ljubljana (Slovenia) for transport and related infrastructures: consistent and integrated to accessibility in the city centre (buses fitted with audio and video stop announcements, Braille signs at bus stops, city centre tactile map);

  • Olomouc (Czech Republic) for information and communication, including new technologies: this has resulted in innovative projects such as a multimedia tourist guide - a novel interactive navigation tool including a GPS system as well as audio and visual information in several languages;

  • Terrassa (Spain) for the built environment and public spaces: sustained efforts in making historical sites accessible; a focus on eliminating architectural barriers in residential buildings, parks, streets, squares and heritage buildings, including installation of lifts, ramps and bridges.

For more information

Justice Directorate General Newsroom:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/intro/news_intro_en.htm

Access City Award

www.accesscityaward.eu

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Contacts :

Matthew Newman (+32 2 296 24 06)

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)


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