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Today,  3  December,    the   European  Day  for  People   with  Disabilities
representatives of NGOs will hand  over a report on  equalising opportunities
for  people  with  disabilities  to  Commissioner  Flynn.  Yesterday,  Madame
Jacques  Santer  presented  the Helios  II  (Community  action programme  for
people  with  disabilities) awards  to  the  18 winners.    A  new disability
strategy, focusing on equal   opportunities, was adopted by the Commission on
24  September  1996. Furthermore,  an independent  Disability  Forum  will be
launched at the beginning of  1997. The number of  people in the EU  directly
affected  by  some  form  of disability  is  estimated  at  around one  tenth
(approximately 37 million)  of the total  population. About half of  them are
of working age.

A series of meetings will be held in the first week of  December in Brussels,
in the framework  of Helios II, the  European Community action programme  for
promoting  equal opportunities for people  with disabilities  which is coming
to a close  at the end of 1996.  The meetings will focus on  the achievements
of the programme and explore the way forward.

2 December 1996: HELIOS II Awards Ceremony
At a  ceremony held  on Monday, 2  December, Madame Jacques  Santer presented
the  awards to the  eighteen winners  of this year's  HELIOS II competitions.
Organised  by the European Commission  in the overall  context of equality of
opportunities  for  people   with  disabilities,  the  competitions   aim  at
increasing the  visibility of specific local, regional or national activities
which  are  models  of good  practice,  and  value  the differences  and  the
participation  of  people  with  disabilities  themselves.   (See  annex  for

3 December 1996: European Day of people with disabilities
"Equal  opportunities" is the  theme of the 4th  European Day  of people with
disabilities,  this year.  High-level attendance  is expected  at the special
session to be held in the European Parliament,  at 14h30. Disabled people and
their associations from  throughout the Member States will present to Pàdraig
Flynn, European  Commissioner with responsibility  for Employment and  Social
Affairs, a report called "Towards Equalisation  of Opportunities for Disabled
People:  Into the  Mainstream?". A  further topic  of discussion will  be the
report, commissioned  by the  European  Disability Forum,  entitled "How  can
people with  disabilities  in the  European  Union  achieve equal  rights  as
citizens?"  This addresses  the  legal and  economic  consequences of  a non-
discrimination clause in the revision of the Treaty of the European Union.

The new European Community disability strategy
The  Community's  new   disability  strategy  is  set  out  in  the  European
Commission's  Communication on  Equality  of  Opportunities for  people  with
disabilities which was  adopted in July  1996. It  acknowledges that  primary
responsibility for policy for people  with disabilities lies with  the Member
States.   It identifies  ways in  which Europe  can add value.  These include
mainstreaming disability  in overall Community  policy formulation processes;
cooperating  with the Member States;  encouraging NGOs; developing a coherent
employment policy  for people with disabilities;  using the  potential of the
information society, and harnessing the Structural Funds.

Furthermore, the  Commission has proposed to  the Council  a mixed resolution
whereby the  Member States  are invited  to endorse  the equal  opportunities
approach as reflected in landmark United National instruments.





GOLD AWARD:  The Central Association of  Mental Health,  Riihimäki, Finland -
For innovative rehabilitation courses for people with mental disabilities.

SILVER AWARD:  SRF Rehab/TeleNova AB, Uppsala,  Sweden -  For the development
of high  quality rehabilitation  in boarding  school format  for people  with
visual impairment.

BRONZE  AWARD: Catalonian Federation for Sports  for Disabled People, Spain -
For its "Hospi-Sport Programme", promoting rehabilitation  through the use of
suitably adapted sporting activities.


GOLD  AWARD:  Lundarskóli,  Akureyri,  Iceland  -  For  measures  to  provide
disabled pupils full access to the local mainstream primary school.

SILVER AWARD: The  Hamrahlid College, Reykjavik,  Iceland -  For measures  to
provide  deaf  and  hearing-impaired  students  equal  opportunities  for  an
integrated education.

BRONZE AWARD:  St. Michael's House Research, Stillorgan, Ireland  - For  work
to develop an  inclusive shared educational  curriculum for  groups with  and
without disabilities.


GOLD AWARD:  Atomic Energy Commission,  Fontenay-Aux-Roses, France - For  the
promotion of the social and vocational rehabilitation of  profoundly disabled
people, particularly through  the development of an  innovative computer work

SILVER AWARD: "Lanfranco" State  Middle School, Gabicce Mare,  Italy - For  a
variety of uses of  new technology allowing blind students to be  taught with
the maximum degree of personal autonomy.

BRONZE  AWARD: Odd Radio, Beder,  Denmark - A  public service radio programme
that helps to  overcome the feeling of  isolation which many  disabled people
can feel when they move into local communities.


GOLD AWARD: East Midlands SHAPE,  Notthingham, United Kingdom - For a project
providing customised training  in the arts to disabled people, increasing the
number of  disabled people delivering  quality arts provision and  increasing
the profile of disabled artists.

SILVER  AWARD: Centre  of Training  of  Application Officers  - Communication
Enterprise  of Argiroupolis,  Greece -  For a  vocational  training programme
aimed at the professional rehabilitation of deaf young people.

BRONZE AWARD:  Innovative Technology Section ,  Dresden /  Saxony Society for
the Blind and  Visually Impaired, Mainz, Germany - For a co-operative project
using  audio-tactile  learning   in  the  training  of  blind   masseurs  and


GOLD AWARD: Centre for Independent Living, Thurles, Ireland  - For a range of
appropriate personal  assistance services, managed  and controlled by  people
with disabilities

SILVER AWARD: Cultural  Association of Paraplegic and  Physically Handicapped
People,  Moshato-Athens,   Greece  -  For   measures  promoting  the   social
integration  of  disabled people  through  the  pursuit  of  art and  leisure

BRONZE AWARD: Arla Institute, Espoo,  Finland - For a  residential vocational
rehabilitation project for multi-disabled deaf-blind people.


GOLD AWARD: FUB  Grundin, Gothenburg, Sweden  - An  information centre  which
produces  material that  is  easy  to read  and  understand  for people  with
intellectual disabilities.

SILVER AWARD: RASPY  (Ruoholahti Home Care Association), Helsinki,  Finland -
For the  provision of  home care  services promoting  choice and  independent
living for disabled people within the community.

BRONZE  AWARD: Federation  of  Organisations of  Disabled People  in  Oppland
County,  Gjøvik,  Norway  -  For  its  project  promoting  participation  and
equality of opportunity for women with disabilities.

Ms. Elena NIELSEN, European Commission
Telephone :+ 32 2 295.24.23
Fax :+ 32 2 295.10.12


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