may-june 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.

EU update

WIPO negotiations update

EBU has been busy since the last newsletter in pursuit of a treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
There is just a month till the next copyright negotiating committee in Geneva (WIPO SCCR 24). SCCR24 has been described by many commentators as the one that should finalise the text for the new law, and decide whether that law will be the binding treaty we have long sought or a toothless “recommendation”. With this in mind, EBU recently published an interactive map showing which EU Member States support / oppose our treaty, with a link so that visitors can lobby their countries on this matter.

EU consultation on access to interoperability information of digital products and services

EBU responded to the European Commission consultation on access to interoperability information of digital products and services. The purpose of the consultation is to obtain structured input from stakeholders and interested parties on the need, barriers and opportunities for measures leading significant market players to license interoperability information not covered by standards.


The INTERGEN project in the news.

EBU’s lead project INTERGEN has been selected as an example of good practice in the field of education, training and social inclusion by the INCLUSION initiative . The results and outcome of the project were presented at the occasion of the final INCLUSION conference held in Birmingham (UK) on 20 June 2012. INTERGEN aimed to bring different generations together to share knowledge and experience.

National news

Slovakia - blind travellers toured the country without guides

The Guide Dog Training School (a department of the Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union) carried out in April 2012 a unique project called „I can´t see, but I don´t get lost in Slovakia.“ There were four blind participants accompanied exclusively by their guide dogs travelling across the country.

Austria – Self-help organisations of disabled persons reject payment in kind of the care allowance

Current efforts to pay the care allowance in Austria partly in kind are vigorously opposed by the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (BSVÖ) as well as by other self-help organisations of disabled persons. Payment in kind of the care allowance would be contradictory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).

United Kingdom - research trial helps man to see again

Chris James, who had been totally blind for more than 20 years, is the first patient to be fitted with a digital chip similar to those used in mobile phone cameras to help him see again.

Israel – International Guide Dog Day.

The Israeli Guide Dog Association held a festive event in celebration of International Guide Dog Day on Monday, April 23rd. The event took place in the lovely Edmund de Rothschild Memorial Gardens in Zichron Yaakov, and was attended by 230 people. Dozens of school children and other visitors to the gardens gazed in amazement and delight at the splendid procession of 60 beautiful guide dogs and their owners accompanied by friends, supporters, and volunteers strolling along the winding paths.

Albania - Update on the implementation and progress of the E.U funded Regional Project: "Blind people network for representation in the Western Balkans"

This article offers updated information on the implementation of the EU Project "Blind people network for representation in the Western Balkans", specifically the second project phase. The main aim of the second phase of its implementation which started in December 2011 up to April 2012, has been initiating a regional framework and advocacy effort.


A new president for the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted

On Friday, 4th May 2012, 41-year-old Viennese Dr. Markus Wolf was elected as the new president of the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (BSVÖ) by the delegates of the seven regional associations which compose the BSVÖ.

On May 26, 2012, the Czech Blind United (SONS) held its biennial General Assembly in Prague.

102 delegates representing over 10,000 individual members elected the new governing bodies of the association: President, VicePresident, Council of the Republic and Supervisory Board.


Social Media – Removing real barriers but adding virtual ones.

Social media (also known as social networking) has truly transformed the way in which we use the internet, the phone, and our computers in general. Instead of being passive consumers of information and services, social media enables us to become contributors, and gives us a way of sharing our ideas, hopes, feelings, art and intellectual property with the world. But how inaccessible are the social media to people with disabilities?