European Year of People with Disabilities 2003

Table of Contents:

European Year of People with Disabilities 2003

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Year of People with Disabilities 2003


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social measures for target groups: disability and old age

European Year of People with Disabilities 2003

The main purpose of the Year was to drive forward the political agenda for full integration of people with disabilities as set out in 2001 in the Communication from the Commission entitled “Towards a barrier-free Europe for people with disabilities”.

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2001/903/EC of 3 December 2001 on the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003.


Objectives and measures envisaged

1. The objectives of this European Year of People with Disabilities (EYPD) were as follows:

  • to raise awareness of the rights of people with disabilities to protection against discrimination in compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
  • to encourage reflection on and discussion of the measures needed to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities in Europe;
  • to promote the exchange of experience of good practice and effective strategies devised at local, national and European level;
  • to reinforce the cooperation between all parties concerned, namely government at all levels, the private sector, communities, social partners, the voluntary sector, researchers, voluntary sector groups, people with disabilities and their families;
  • to improve communication regarding disability and promote a positive image of people with disabilities;
  • to raise awareness of the heterogeneity of people with disabilities and of the multiple discrimination facing people with disabilities;
  • to pay special attention to awareness of the right of children and young people with disabilities to equality in education.

2. The measures designed to meet the objectives mainly concern:

  • the organisation of meetings and events, including the opening and closing conferences;
  • information and promotional campaigns;
  • cooperation with the media;
  • surveys and studies;
  • events designed to disseminate information and in particular examples of good practice;
  • the provision of financial support for initiatives taken at transnational, national, regional or local level with a view to promoting the objectives of the European Year.

3. These different measures are described in detail in the annex to the proposal.

Funding, budget and organisation

4. The European Year of People with Disabilities has a budget of 12 million euro for 2002 (preparatory measures) and 2003.
As set out in the annex, Community-wide actions are subsidised up to 80% via the budget allocated to the event, while national measures are subsidised up to 50%. The Commission grants overall subsidies to each Member State, which redistributes them to the national coordination bodies responsible for supporting the different measures at local, regional and national level. Specific provisions govern the application and selection procedures and their co-financing.

5. The Commission is responsible for managing the actions provided for in the framework of this European Year with the assistance of an advisory committee made up of representatives of the Member States. Besides, it organises exchanges of views with the disability community and the NGOs that represent them concerning the implementation of the different events.

6. The Commission should present to the Parliament, by 31 December at the latest, an evaluation report to determine the genuine impact of this European Year and the lessons to be learnt for the future.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2001/903/EC


L 335 of 19.02.01

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 13 October 2005 on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003 [COM(2005) 486 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Key actions at EU level

  • Information and promotion campaign with the slogan “Get on board” established to emphasise the participative nature of the EYPD.
  • A campaign bus was present at 211 events in 181 towns and cities during 2003.
  • A logo was created and an interactive and easy to access website was set up.
  • Calls for proposals were launched, for information campaigns to support the main campaign and targeting specific populations or relating to transnational projects.
  • A corporate participation programme was developed to bring large companies on board the EPYD campaign.
  • The EYPD was a key component of many major European events and conferences, such as the European Mobility Week, a conference on e-accessibility, the regional dimension of disability policy etc.

Key actions at national level

  • The participating countries set up national coordinating bodies in which representatives of people with disabilities were involved.
  • These national bodies were supported by regional and local groups established specifically to join the EYPD campaign.
  • Special national websites were established.
  • Campaign assistants took over overall responsibility for the bus and its route as it passed through each participating country.

Key results of the EYPD campaign

  • According to a survey in September 2003, one third of the EU population were aware of the EYPD and its purpose.
  • The campaign bus’s journey was a key element in emphasising the European nature of the campaign. The bus generated considerable media attention and managed to reach many small towns.
  • Media coverage of the event was substantial, and the website was widely consulted (500 000 visits in 2003).
  • The corporate participation programme can also be seen as a positive result.
  • At national level, the commitment to the decentralised approach, involving the drawing up of national priorities for the EYPD and ensuring the involvement of disabled people throughout the campaign, can be seen as a key result and one of the main factors in the success of this campaign. The decentralised funding approach chosen by the Commission in cooperation with the participating countries has clearly had a particularly substantial leverage effect within the campaign.

Council Resolution of 6 May 2003 on accessibility of cultural infrastructure and cultural activities for people with disabilities [Official Journal C 134 of 07.06.2003]. 
The Council invites the Member States and the Commission, within their respective competences, to take new concrete action to improve access for the disabled to cultural infrastructure, cultural activities and the media.

Council Resolution of 5 May 2003 on equal opportunities for pupils and students with disabilities in education and training [Official Journal C 134 of 07.06.2003]. 
The Council invites the Member States and the Commission, within their respective competences, to take new concrete action so that people with disabilities have better access to teaching and training in a lifelong learning perspective.

Council Resolution of 6 February 2003 on “eAccessibility” — Improving the access of people with disabilities to the knowledge-based society [Official Journal C 39 of 18.02.2003]. 
The Council calls on Member States and the Commission to tap the information society’s potential for people with disabilities and, in particular, tackle the removal of technical, legal and other barriers to their effective participation in the knowledge-based society.

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