Closing Conference of the EYPD 2003

Rome, San Giovanni Addolorata, December 5-7, 2003

The closing three-day conference of the European Year of People with Disabilities - EYPD - took place from 5-7 December 2003 in Rome. It was one of the most important initiatives organized by the Italian Presidency contributing to summarize the experience and good practices carried out in the EU-Member States during the year in order to establish new targets for disability policy in future.The event was organized in cooperation with the European Commission, the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers Department for European Community Policies and the Italian Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs.

The title of the conference was "Beyond 2003 - European Year of People with Disabilities: what challenges for a more inclusive society?"

About 500 delegates coming from the different European countries, including the accession ones took part in the Conference, including people with disabilities and also Ministers, policy makers, representatives of NGOs at European level, social partners, delegates of the European Parliament, reporters, European and International agency delegates, legal experts and the Organizing Committee of the EYDP.

FIMITIC was represented in this Rome event by its President Marija Stiglic.

At the opening session projects developed during the European Year were presented as follows:

  • "AjdovšÄina - city friendly for people with disabilities", Slovenia,
  • "Disability Legal Resource", Ireland,
  • "Images of women", Luxembourg,
  • "Working Towards Equality", United Kingdom and
  • "Inclusive education", Italy.

The conference was dealing with three main themes:

  • Knowledge, Access Exercising and Non-Discrimination (safeguarding of the right to protection from all forms of discrimination of people with disabilities)
  • Disability and the Family (role of families, inclusion in social networks with particular attention to actions to support families of people with disabilities in difficult situations)
  • Access to Everything for All (services, places, new technologies; relations with the media)

Italy is aware that it must respond with even greater urgency to the challenges of the coming decade. The Italian institutions and all those who are committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities are honoured to have received the 2003 "Franklin Delano Roosevelt Disability Award" for extraordinary achievements in the disability field. This will spur Italy to continue the efforts and strengthen the abilities.

At the official closing the European Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou during a statement in the context of comments about the Commissions´ s planned 2004 Green Paper on anti-discrimination which will review EU anti-discrimination policy and put forward proposals regarding future policy objectives assured the audience that "there will be a Disability Specific Directive!" which was highly noted and applauded by the Disability movement.

Twelve companies, Accor, Adecco, Fiat, HP,IBM, Manpower, McDonald´s Europe, Microsoft, Schindler, Sony Europe, UITP, Volkswagen AG, have received a Corporate Partnership Award in recognition of their contributions to the European Year of People with Disabilities. Senior representatives of the companies were granted the award by the Commissioner Anna Diamantopolou at the EYPD closing conference gala dinner, held at the historic Complesso Santo Spirito in Rome.

The achievements of the companies include creating some 10000+ jobs for workers with disabilities, making their technologies accessible to all, and internal and external awareness campaigns on disability issues.