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Brussels, 3 December 2013
European Day for People with Disabilities: Commission announces Access City Award Winner 2014: Gothenburg!
On the occasion of the European Day for people with disabilities (3 December) the European Commission announced that Gothenburg is the winner of the Access City Award 2014. The Award recognises Gothenburg's outstanding work towards increasing accessibility for disabled people and the elderly. The 2014 Award is organised by the European Commission together with the European Disability Forum, and is presented in Brussels during the event ''Accessible Tourism in Europe'' on the occasion of the annual European Day of People with Disabilities and the European Tourism Day. The Award aims to encourage cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants to share their experience and to improve accessibility for the benefit of all.
'''A city for everyone!' – this is Gothenburg's slogan. Having won this year's Access City Award goes to show that for Gothenburg this is more than just a slogan," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. "The city's inclusive approach of integrating people with all disabilities into society has helped Gothenburg becoming this year’s winner. People with disabilities still face too many barriers in everyday life, but cities like Gothenburg are leading the way in making life more accessible for all. Congratulations to Gothenburg."
Gothenburg's commitment to increasing accessibility to transport, housing, work and employment is a good example that other European cities could follow in the future. Priority is given to people with disabilities when accessible homes become available. On the employment front, some 300 workplaces are being equipped with personal aids each year. The city is also systematically working on improving public facilities, with concrete actions to make amusement parks, playgrounds and the local university more accessible.
The second prize of the Access City Award went to Grenoble (France) and the third to Poznan (Poland) – both cities having exhibited remarkable progress in terms of accessibility to transport, education, accommodation, shopping, culture, sports, tourism and employment.
The European Commission awards special mentions to cities that are pioneers in achieving accessibility in terms of built environment, transport, information and communication technology and public facilities and services. This year, the special mentions are given to:
Because making Europe accessible cannot only be done by public authorities, the European Commission is also organising a High-level meeting on Growth and Accessibility bringing together business CEOs and users' associations on the occasion of the European Day for People with Disabilities. The objective of the meeting is to discuss how products and services can be made more accessible in Europe.
The Access City Award
The Access City Award was launched in 2010 to raise awareness of disability and promote accessibility initiatives in European cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. The prize is about ensuring equal access to city life for people with disabilities. The initiative aims to encourage cities to inspire one another to innovate and to share good practice.
The Award is given to the city that has demonstrably and sustainably improved accessibility in fundamental aspects of city living, and that has concrete plans for further improvements. The Award covers actions in the areas of:
European Jury selection process for the Access City Award 2014
In a first selection round at the national level 102 cities from 23 Member States applied and fulfilled the criteria to be admitted to the competition. National juries in the Member States were composed of persons with disabilities and public administration experts. They could choose up to three cities to nominate for the European selection round, which resulted in a selection of 33 cities that were submitted to the European Jury for the “Access City Award 2014”.
The European Jury composed of accessibility experts and representatives of the European Disability Forum and the Age Platform Europe assessed those 33 cities and selected the winner, the second and the third prize as well as the four special mentions.
EU policy on accessibility
Making Europe more accessible to those with disabilities is a key part of the EU’s overall disability strategy.2010-2020 which provides the general framework for action in the area of disability and accessibility at EU level to complement and support Member States' action. Specific provisions on accessibility are contained in EU legislation in areas such as transport and electronic communication services.
The EU makes use of a variety of instruments beyond legislation and policy, such as research and standardisation, to optimise the accessibility of the built environment, ICT, transport, and other areas, and to foster an EU-wide market for accessible products and services.
The EU also aims to improve the functioning of the assistive technology market for the benefit of people with disabilities and supports a "Design for all" approach that benefits a wider part of the population, such as elderly people and those with reduced mobility.
For more information
Read more about the Access City Award on:
Accessible Tourism in Europe, on the occasion of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities and the European Tourism day: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/discrimination/events/eventedpd2013_en.htm
European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/disabilities/disability-strategy/index_en.htm and http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52010DC0636:EN:NOT
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/disabilities/convention/index_en.htm
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner: http://ec.europa.eu/reding
Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU
Follow EU Justice on Twitter: @EU_Justice
Annex: High Level Dialogue on Growth and Accessibility
Brussels, 3 December 2013