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

Directive on accessibility of public sector websites

EBU worked closely with IMCO MEPs ahead of the Committee vote on amendments to the directive on 28 November. We were able to ensure that key compromise amendments - drafted in the days leading to the vote - took our main concerns on board.


eVADER – EBU attended the first workshop in Barcelona, 21st November 2013.

On the 21st of November IDIADA, coordinator of the eVADER project, organised in its premises the first eVADER Workshop. The EC-funded eVADER research project is the reference EU project investigating the interior and exterior sound scope of electric vehicle for safe operation. The project defines solutions to warn vulnerable users of nearby moving vehicles while providing means for heightening the awareness of drivers in critical situations.

VISAL update number two - The state of play at the half-way stage

The VISAL project, coordinated by EBU and financed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture DG of the European Commission, aims to develop an informal training model which responds to the needs of visually impaired (VI) elderly people with the aim of inciting them to take a more active role in society depending on their individual capacities and level of self-confidence, and thereby reduce their sense of isolation.
At the half-way stage the VISAL project has already fulfilled a certain number of its engagements.

National news

Israel – Dr. Zohar Ginio

On 16th November , Dr. Zohar Ginio, Chairman of the non-profit organization ALEH from the day of its establishment, and member of the Committee of THE CENTER FOR THE BLIND IN ISRAEL, was presented with the First Prize in the Biennial Competition and Exhibition of Contemporary Art dedicated to blind and partially sighted people, arranged by ArtSenses 2013 in Grosseto, Tuscany in Italy.

Netherlands - “Visual Information Processing” Chair

Recently Royal Dutch Visio founded the Chair “Visual Information Processing” at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (ErasmusMC).

Poland - Helpline on pharmaceutical products

A helpline with an audio mode that makes pharmaceutical leaflets available to blind and visually impaired people was opened in Poland on 1st January 2010. It was created by MEDsynC who is also responsible for its further maintenance.



Arvo Karvinen, the retired Secretary General of the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI), and a well known and respected figure in the international visual impairment community has died. He passed away on October 6th 2013 after a fight against a serious illness.

Irish sight loss agency boss retires into poetry

This week saw the launch of Chief Executive of NCBI, the Irish national sight loss organisation, Des Kenny's first book of poems - "My Sense of Blind and Other Collected Poems".  The launch at the Writers Centre, Dublin, was supported by Retired Broadcaster, Micheal O'Muircheartaigh who, with Des Kenny, read from a number of poems in the 40-poem collection.


Employment - The Hidden Majority

Ten years ago EBU established a Working Group on Rehabilitation, Vocational Training and Employment. The working group reviewed evidence compiled by EBU indicating that blind and visually impaired people work in a wide range of mainstream jobs and yet found that between 40 to 80 per cent of blind and visually impaired people in various member states were not in work. The Working Group became concerned to understand more about the situation of working age blind and visually impaired people. So EBU commissioned a series of studies supported by PROGRESS, the Community programme for Employment and Social Solidarity and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Over the past five years this work has included a review of the situation for working age blind and visually impaired people in seven different European countries. A series of reports, with the collective name 'The Hidden Majority' describes the findings.