On July 4, Autism-Europe (AE) attended the launching event of the European Commission´s initiative called AccessibleEU. This resource centre is a a common European one-stop-shop on accessibility offering experience, good practices, guides, studies and practical skills for a range of actors including policymakers, legislators, and the representatives of civil society, such as older people, persons with disabilities and others.
The event was opened by Katarina Ivankovic-Knezevic, Director Social Rights and Inclusion DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission), Miguel Carballeda, ONCE Social Group President and Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality. They highlighted that the objective of this flagship initiative is to bring together experts and professionals to promote accessibility across the EU to enable persons with disabilities to fully participate in society. As highlighted by Ann Frye from Fundación ONCE, autistic people have accesss needs for example link to sensory sensitivities.
During his intervention, Ioannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum highlighted that “over the past years, we have seen issues such as limited involvement of persons with disabilities or shortage to accessibility. The AccessibleEU has been created to tackle these problems”. In order to tackle accessibility barriers, the AccessibleEU will help to monitor the effective implementation of accessibility laws, such as the European Accessibility Act.
AccessibleEU will offer information, guidance and support in the implementation of accessibility tools in different areas such as transport, buildings, information, audio-visual media, and communications. Its main objectives are indeed to:
- Build the capacity on accessibility in EU countries
- Support the implementation of the European Union legislation on accessibility
- Connect stakeholders responsible for implementing accessibility rules in the EU
- Create a common European one-stop-shop on accessibility
- Train excellent professionals on accessibility
AE is happy to see this new resource centre on accessibility becoming a reality and will closely follow its work and actions to make sure the needs and rights of autistic people are addressed.