European Day of People with Disabilities Conference

10 Dec 2008

To mark the European Day of People with Disabilities, the European Commission organised a policy conference, in close co-operation with the European Disability Forum (EDF). This year's Conference took place in Brussels on 1st and 2nd December. The title of the Conférence was "Acting locally for a society for all". The Conference focussed on how EU action/legislation reaches the local level and provided examples of disability mainstreaming.

EUD was represented by Mark Wheatley and he took part in asking questions from the Deaf perspective to the speakers. And the event provided an invaluable networking opportunties for the EUD.

The Conference was also the opportunity to exchange users' experiences from local initiatives and policies with European Commission representatives in charge of employment and social affairs, regional policy as well as experts and industry representatives. The European Commission would also use the outcome of the discussions to kick-start the debate on what Europe should do after 2010 for people with disabilities, after the European Disability Action Plan which will run until 2010.

During the press conference on 1 December in Brussels. Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Vladimír Špidla and Yannis Vardakastanis, EDF President, as well as Valérie Létard, French Minister of State for Solidarity, addressed the media on the progress made in 2008 and continuing efforts to ensure dignity and justice for people with disabilities in Europe. Emphasising the need for protection against discrimination on the grounds of disability Commissioner Špidla took the opportunity to urge disabled people to back the Commission's draft non discrimination legislation presented on 2 July 2008 : "This is an ambitious proposal and I call for the active support of the disability community to help us get this proposal agreed as quickly as possible."