European Commission Awards Cities For Disability-Friendly Improvements

By Fernand Gagnier, for 09 December, 2014

The European Commission (EC) has announced the winners of its 2015 Access City Award, which highlights efforts to remove barriers for people with disabilities.

First place went to the Swedish city of Borås, followed by Helsinki in Finland and Ljubljana in Slovenia. Borås was praised for its "comprehensive and strategic approach" to improving accessibility.

There were also special mentions for Logroño in Spain, for improvements to the built environment and to public spaces, and for Budapest in Hungary, for work on transport. Improved public facilities and services in Arona in Spain and in Luxembourg were also noted.

The Award was launched in 2010, when the European Union (EU) adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and forms part of the EU's wider efforts to create a barrier-free Europe by 2020. The EC argues that improved accessibility brings lasting economic and social benefits, especially given Europe's aging population.

The winners were announced during a conference held in cooperation with the European Disability Forum. This event brings together people with disabilities, their representative organizations, EU policy-makers, service providers, think tanks, trade unions and employers, to discuss the key areas of employment, accessibility and challenges for the future.

Marianne Thyssen, who is the EU's Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "People with disabilities should be able to fully participate in society. Job creation and accessibility are top priority for the European Commission and I am personally committed to taking action in these areas. I would like to congratulate Borås for leading the way in making life more accessible for all."

Tags: European Commission | Slovenia | Luxembourg | Finland | Spain | Sweden | European Union (EU) | Expats | Welfare | Europe |


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