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What? Why? How?
Get on board


2003 is the European Year of People with Disabilities. The year’s objective is to drive progress towards achieving equal rights for people with disabilities. We have very high expectations for concrete outcomes of 2003: action at national level to prevent discrimination, new initiatives and new and stronger alliances.

Through this website we hope to create a community which will support the aims of the European Year. And together we can make a difference.

Festivals, debates, partnerships, conferences, protests, parties, lobbying and more…
Thousands of activities and events will happen in 2003 at national and local level. They will be linked through a People’s March. Starting in January 2003 a specially designed European Year bus will travel through cities, towns and villages in the 15 EU Member States. Have a look at the bus route!

Activities to promote the European Year will be decided and organised by the disability community in each country - “Nothing about us without us”.

The European Year will be coordinated in each country by a National Coordinating Body.

The candidate countries for EU accession have been invited to participate in the year by setting up the same structures as the EU member states.

But anyone can Get on Board! Do you have an idea or something to say? Then share it!



Why would you get involved?

There are 37 million reasons why. 37 million people with disabilities in the European Union. That’s one in ten of us.

Disabled people are people with equal rights. Disabled people are workers, consumers, tax payers, politicians, students, neighbours, family and friends. But disabled people are not treated that way.

A recent European survey shows there is a serious lack of understanding of what disability means and how many people it affects. Disabled people should be treated as equal citizens who have the power to speak for themselves, not as objects of pity or charity. Disabled people are often excluded from society through poor education and unemployment, leading to poverty.

2003 is an opportunity to change the future for disabled people. And a good future for disabled people means a good future for all people.



The European Year is organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the European Disability Forum (EDF). The EDF is a European umbrella organisation representing more than 37 million disabled people in Europe.

At national level, the European year will be run by National Coordinating Bodies (NCBs). NCBs are composed of disability experts from ministries and non-governmental organisations.
But most of all, the European Year of People with Disabilities is your campaign. Disabled or non-disabled, you can make a difference. You are crucial for its success.
There are many ways to Get on Board. Here are some, but you may have more. Share your ideas with us!


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campaign foto
The March
Map of Europe
National campaign websites (opens in a new window)
  • Belgique
  • Belgique
  • BelgiŽ
  • Danmark
  • Deutschland
  • France
  • Luxembourg / LŽtzebuerg
  • Nederland
  • Norway
  • Suomi / Finland
  • Sverige
  • United Kingdom
Featured photo
The EYPD bus

European Commission