Commission announces Gothenburg Access City Winner 2014
On the occasion of the European Day for people with disabilities (3 December) the European Commission announced that Gothenburg is the winner of the Access City Award 2014. The Award recognises Gothenburg's outstanding work towards increasing accessibility for disabled people and the elderly. The 2014 Award is organised by the European Commission together with the European Disability Forum, and is presented in Brussels during the event ''Accessible Tourism in Europe'' on the occasion of the annual European Day of People with Disabilities and the European Tourism Day. The Award aims to encourage cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants to share their experience and to improve accessibility for the benefit of all.
'''A city for everyone!' – this is Gothenburg's slogan. Having won this year's Access City Award goes to show that for Gothenburg this is more than just a slogan," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. "The city's inclusive approach of integrating people with all disabilities into society has helped Gothenburg becoming this year’s winner. People with disabilities still face too many barriers in everyday life, but cities like Gothenburg are leading the way in making life more accessible for all. Congratulations to Gothenburg."
Gothenburg's commitment to increasing accessibility to transport, housing, work and employment is a good example that other European cities could follow in the future. Priority is given to people with disabilities when accessible homes become available. On the employment front, some 300 workplaces are being equipped with personal aids each year. The city is also systematically working on improving public facilities, with concrete actions to make amusement parks, playgrounds and the local university more accessible.
The second prize of the Access City Award went to Grenoble (France) and the third to Poznan (Poland) – both cities having exhibited remarkable progress in terms of accessibility to transport, education, accommodation, shopping, culture, sports, tourism and employment.
The European Commission awards special mentions to cities that are pioneers in achieving accessibility in terms of built environment, transport, information and communication technology and public facilities and services. This year, the special mentions are given to; Belfast, United Kingdom, for 'Built Environment and Public Spaces'; Dresden, Germany, for 'Information and Communication Technologies'; Burgos, Spain, for Public Services and Facilities; and Malaga, Spain for Transport and related infrastructures.
Previous Access City Award winners include Avila in Spain (IP/10/1641); Salzburg in Austria (IP/11/1492), and Berlin in Germany (IP/12/1309).
Because making Europe accessible cannot only be done by public authorities, the European Commission is also organising a High-level meeting on Growth and Accessibility bringing together business CEOs and users' associations on the occasion of the European Day for People with Disabilities. The objective of the meeting is to discuss how products and services can be made more accessible in Europe.