january-february 2013

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

Public websites: European Commission fails to deliver

In December the European Commission published a long awaited legislative proposal on the accessibility of public websites. Unfortunately, the proposal falls far short of upholding this commitment. In fact, the current proposal leaves the vast majority of public services out of the equation and there is no mandatory requirement to ensure the accessibility of websites delivering essential services and information about, among other things, schools, transport, banking, housing, and so on.

“Speaking” digital TV for blind people- “spec”tacular news!

Good news! The specification we agreed with DigitalEurope for “speaking” television sets has now been approved and published by standards body IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

WIPO update

The last edition of this newsletter mentioned the (then) impending WIPO “Extraordinary General Assembly” (EGA) on December 17-18. The EGA, you will recall, was expected to make a decision on whether the new law we are seeking to help end the “book famine” would be a binding treaty, and to identify an end date for work to agree this treaty.
Well, in a landmark agreement, on 18th December, for the first time, all governments at the EGA agreed formally that they would negotiate a legally binding WIPO treaty for print disabled people, and would aim to finish the work in June 2013.


The completion of the EVEIL project.

The EVEIL project led by the French Federation for the Blind and Partially Sighted (FAF), within the framework of the European Comenius programme, came to an end in November 2012. Its objective was to create a framework for exchanging thoughts, good practice and learning methods for professionals working in the field of raising awareness of the possibilities of writing, language development and representation amongst young blind and partially sighted people.

EBU job website distinguished at Zero Project Conference

Maria Kyriacou of EBU presented this website as one of 20 Innovative Practices at the Zero Project Conference on 18 and 19 February in Vienna.
Among the primary problem on the free employment market for persons with disabilities are preconceptions about their ability to work.The EBU job website is an exemplary project aimed at eliminating this cliché: blind and visually impaired persons are successfully employed in a large number of professions worldwide.

National news

Austria – Judicial office hesitantly opened for blind people

In contrast to many other European countries like Germany, the UK or the Netherlands, there is still not a single blind judge to be found in Austria. A pilot project is now launched to assess the organisational and technical requirements.


ACAPO presented the study “Services Provision and the Promotion of an Independent Living” on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Italy - VETTORE Evolution

Interacting with the environment by means of tactile paths for the blind with the support of information technology, which has been an objective for persons with a visual impairment for a long time, is now getting closer to its fulfilment.

Slovenia - The Alice project

A consortium of partners from Slovenia (Comland, Alpineon, Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia), France (Institut Mines-Télécom), the United Kingdom (Communication for Blind and Disabled People, Granite 5) and Spain (Information and Image Management Systems), has launched the ALICE project, co-founded by the Ambient Assisted Joint Programme (AAL JP). The aim of the project is to improve the quality of life of ageing people with impaired vision by providing a navigational assistant with cognitive abilities.

United Kingdom - New UK rules oblige channels to start providing audio description outside the UK.

As a result of the involvement of EBU members in influencing the Audio Visual Media Directive, there is now a requirement in the Directive to make audiovisual content increasingly accessible for sight- and/or hearing impaired people.


The 8th ICEVI European Conference on the Education and Rehabilitation of People with Visual Impairment

All professionals working with people with visual impairment from infancy until old age; such as ophthalmologists & other physicians, optometrists & low vision therapists, rehabilitation workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, early intervention workers, educators, social workers, occupational therapists, technological specialists, managers of organisations of and for people with V.I., policy makers and of course parents besides people with V.I. will gather together on this occasion.

THE CENTER FOR THE BLIND IN ISRAEL presented a Photo Exhibition

The exhibition was dedicated to the memory of Arie Schmidt, a friend of the photographer, Mati Davidson.



Every three years, EBU submits a triennial work programme to receive EU funding in the framework of the EU Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity — PROGRESS. This is a brief overview of activities implemented under EBU's PROGRESS 2012 work programme.