march-april 2012

Welcome to the EBU Newsletter.

The EBU Newsletter is published every two months in English, French, German and Spanish. It is produced and translated thanks to the financial support of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. We hope you enjoy reading it, and we welcome your comments and feedback. A .doc version of this newsletter in English is available here.

EU update

EC Green Paper on card, internet and mobile payments

EBU responded to the European Commission Green Paper 'Towards an integrated European market for card, internet and mobile payments'. Lack of access to card, internet and mobile payments affect blind and partially sighted people in a disproportionate manner.

WIPO update – if at first you don't succeed...

Readers who follow the WIPO saga attentively will have learned in Newsletter 84 that last September, the European Parliament's Petitions Committee agreed with the European Blind Union and European Dyslexia Association's petition urging the EU to back our WIPO treaty (Petition No.0924/2011). They will also recall that the Commission representatives at the Committee refused to back the treaty.


One year after the earthquake in Japan

One year on from the earthquake in Japan and the disasters which followed in its aftermath, Michiko Tabata, of the Japanese Federation of the Blind, offers us a moving personal account of the impact of the situation on the blind and partially sighted community. The stories of personal courage and dignity, and the solidarity of the international community are recounted, but Michiko also tries to use the experience to see what lessons can be learned for the future.

A report from the CSUN Assistive Technology exhibition

CSUN is one of the largest, if not the largest, conferences and Assistive Technology exhibitions in the world. The conference itself runs from Wednesday till Friday, with multiple simultaneous lecture tracks and a large exhibition hall for Assistive Technology vendors.

National news

Czech Republic - Axman´s Technique of  Modelling (ATM)

The NGO Slepisi, from the Czech Republic, provides details and photos of a technique facilitating artistic expression for blind and partially sighted people. This includes a tactile databank which can be used both for tuition purposes and also as a window for the creative talents which the technique helps to develop.

Germany – DBSV 100th aniversary.

The German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (DBSV) is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012 with a wide range of activities. On June 1st more than 100 Tandems from all over Germany will meet in Berlin to demonstrate how blind and sighted cyclists can easily join in sport und leisure activities, and there is also the Louis Braille Festival from June 1-3 in Berlin.

Croatia - A tactile plan for visitors of The Krka National Park

In Croatia a tactile plan has been created for a national park of outstanding natural beauty. The enables blind and partially sighted people to really get the lay of the land using their fingertips, and the tactile experience is also increased by an audio recording of the river and waterfalls. The Croatian Association of the Blind indicates that a project is under way to create similar tactile plans of different cities.


From Austria a new amendment makes it easier for blind and partially sighted students to take examinations in adapted formats, while Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (BSVÖ) has been lobbying for a national disability strategy that is oriented to the needs of blind and partially sighted.

Portugal - ACAPO is carrying out a pioneering study in Portugal on people with visual disabilities

2012, ACAPO – The Portuguese Association of Blind and Partially Sighted - is
developing a pioneering study entitled "The Services Provision and the
Promotion of Independent Living."


Playing is growing, play development and facilitating play in visually impaired and blind children.

Do visually impaired and blind children play in the same way sighted children do? How do blind children imitate the play of other children? Can visually impaired and blind children learn to play together with sighted children? You can find answers on these and other questions in “Playing is growing”, a publication of Royal Dutch Visio, centre of expertise for blind and partially sighted people.

Julien Aimi (1932 – 2012).

All the people who ever knew Julien Aimi learned with
great sorrow that he passed away on Sunday 15 April at the age of eighty.


ViE and making the first steps to self-employment accessible.

Our feature focuses on the ViE project in which EBU is participating. The project aims to make it easier for blind and visually impaired entrepreneurs to get started and receive correct advice and assistance. This article offers some examples of good (or not so good) practice and demonstrates how the project can improve the situation while raising awareness of accessibility issues in general.