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Inclusive Europe Newsletter. Download the Newsletter here in .doc or scroll down to read it online.
Citizens’ Europe for All – Disabled People on the Move
EBU Dublin Declaration : A Europe for all blind and partially sighted citizens
Towards an Inclusive Europe for All – The Way Forward
Photographs from the Conference
This Newsletter is published and translated with the financial support of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission.
Disclaimer: The content of this document is the sole responsibility of its publishers and represents in no way the views of the European Commission and its services.
As part of its long standing commitment to promote a truly inclusive Europe
for all, the European Blind Union and members of its network -Austria,
Italy, Ireland, Malta and Slovakia- jointly organized a Conference entitled
“Citizens Europe for All – Disabled People on the Move”. This was held in
Dublin, Ireland, on 15-17 May 2009, with the financial support of the
European Commission’s Europe for Citizens programme. The attendance was
truly European in scope, with some 85 participants from 24 countries.
The idea of an inclusive European citizenship is more a reality today than ever before, but “we can’t afford to relax” said EBU President Lord Colin Low as he surveyed the opportunities and threats now facing blind and partially sighted Europeans. Fostering a more people-driven Europe is a twin-track process as it requires both pro-active citizen participation and adequate lobbying to ensure that EU policies and initiatives take disabled people’s needs and aspirations into account.
Promoting a greater civil participation of visually impaired Europeans goes hand in hand with promoting a better understanding of how the EU works and what it can do for disabled people. The Conference brought European knowledge forward through presentations and interactive round table discussions which looked into EU’s inner workings and the disability movement at European level.
The Conference also focused on the need for a strong disability lobbying as a key to achieving inclusive citizenship. The implementation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Proposed Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation were thoroughly discussed by participants. The significance of the Disability Vote and the need to bring disability issues on election manifestos were also strongly stressed at round table discussions. Information and good practice were exchanged on accessible voting across European countries.
The Conference culminated with the adoption of a charter encompassing the aspirations and needs of blind and partially sighted people. The document known as the “Dublin Declaration” was unanimously endorsed by disabled participants from across Europe and is a powerful expression of a truly inclusive Europe for all. It is aimed at European and national decision-makers and will be submitted to the newly elected European Parliament at an event EBU hopes to organise by the end of this year.
All key-note presentations are available in full on the Inclusive Europe website, http://www.inclusiveurope.eu/presentations.htm
EBU President Lord Colin Low’s closing address can be read in this Newsletter on page 7.
The Dublin Declaration which proceeds from the Conference can be also read in this Newsletter on page 4.
Further information from the EBU Office, firstname.lastname@example.org , or on the Inclusive Europe website, http://www.inclusiveurope.eu/
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There are a number of responses in our political and social environment to
the current crises which give us some grounds for hope:
1. The EU itself. In an increasingly multi-national world, we need multi-national solutions to our political, economic and social problems. The EU constitutes such a solution--certainly in its potential if not yet its current delivery. That is the rationale of the European Union. It may not be perfect. No human institution is. But this is the direction in which we should be travelling.
2. The Lisbon Treaty. We need the Treaty to streamline the decision-making processes of the Union, give it a higher profile on the international stage and make it more fit for purpose for the 21st century.
3. We need to revisit the Lisbon Agenda with its target of 70% employment and the European Social Model. Different pressures pull Europe in different directions, but the EU's crisis of legitimacy underlines the need to keep up the pressure for a social Europe and a Europe for Citizens. The present economic crisis also calls for a reflationary not a deflationary approach.
4. This conference has also been successful in bringing up to date and setting out our own agenda in a new Declaration, based on the UN Convention and the long awaited Equal Treatment Directive. These provide a new framework in which to ground the staple concerns of the disability movement regarding education, employment and standard of living. On top of these come our specific concerns about information--copyright, Braille and telecommunications, including television; streets, and freepost services.
5. We have also reaffirmed our desire to work in partnership with other organisations with whom we already have a good relationship, such as EDF and the Social Platform.
6. The EBU is also working better than ever, with more organisations participating in the work of the Liaison Commission and sharing the work, which has increased our information base and the authority of our submissions.
7. All that being the case we will be able to look back on the Dublin conference as a milestone in the development of the EBU and a base from which we can move forward with renewed confidence.
Further information from the EBU Office, email@example.com
This page contains 3 photographs of key-note speakers and panel members at
From left to right : Rodolfo Cattani (Chairman of the EBU Commission for Liaising with the EU); Lord Colin Low (President of the European Blind Union); Desmond Kenny (National Council for the Blind of Ireland); Ms. Renee Dempsey, (Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform of the Irish Government).
From left to right : Rodolfo Cattani (Chairman of the EBU Commission for Liaising with the EU, Italy); Conny Reuter (President of Platform of European Social NGOs, Belgium); Arnt Holte (Vice-President of the World Blind Union); John Patrick Clarke (European Disability Forum, Ireland).
From left to right : Lord Colin Low (President of the European Blind Union); Desmond Kenny (National Council for the Blind of Ireland).
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