july-september 2015

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

EBU wins overwhelming support for accessible labelling in European Parliament

EBU responded to the EU consultation on the Single Market Act, which outlines the European Commission's plans to improve the free circulation of people, goods, services and capital.


Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein ahead of the first-ever International Albinism Awareness Day

The World’s first-ever day for Albinism Awareness (13th June 2015), is an opportunity to celebrate the talents and achievements of people with albinism, and to join the struggle against the challenges they face.

EBU president's Keynote speech at the Marrakesh Treaty Ratification event in the European Parliament on 24th June 2015

This event was sponsored by a cross-party group of MEPs and co-organized by the European Disability Forum, the European Blind Union, the World Blind Union and the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue.

This is the speech made by Wolfgang Angermann, EBU President.

National news

Spain - Positive step in Spanish legislation - people who are blind or deaf can now act as witnesses in the signing of wills and testaments

Meeting in plenary session on June 18th, the Spanish Congress of Deputies (lower house) adopted the Voluntary Jurisdiction Act, which includes an amendment removing from the Spanish Civil Code restrictions on persons with disabilities acting as witnesses in wills and testaments.

Belgium - BrailleTech 2015 – A closer look at adapted tools for the visually impaired

BrailleTech is a very special event about tools and products specifically adapted for the visually impaired persons. For three days, (15-17 October) all Belgian manufacturers involved have a booth at the "Brailleliga / Ligue Braille" in order to present their ingenious products.

Portugal - Portuguese speaking nations take another step towards approving Marrakech Treaty

From 15 to 19 June in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, an international meeting was held on implementing the Marrakech Treaty.

Slovenia - Blind and Partially Sighted citizens excited about the forthcoming 95-year anniversary of the organization

The Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia (UBPSS) will celebrate its 95-year anniversary on 7th November this year, a magnificent jubilee making it the oldest disability organization in the country.


Microsoft Spain offers technical support for persons with disabilities as of June 3rd

Microsoft has set up a telephone hotline to help people with disabilities use Windows and Office. The service focuses on the accessibility features of these products.


Monitoring the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The UNCRPD and its Optional Protocol were adopted by the UN in 2006 and the UNCRPD by the EU in 2010. It is the first human rights convention ever to be signed and ratified by the EU. The Convention contains innovative provisions on the role of organisations representing people with disabilities as well as on the role of civil society.
35 of the European Blind Union's 44 member countries have now individually ratified the UNCRPD, and EBU has already created a database to monitor the implementation of certain articles particularly relevant to the blind or visually impaired, including implementation and monitoring.
In order to understand how the implementation process is applied (or not) in differing countries Philippe Chazal, Chair of the EBU Commission on the Rights of Blind and Partially Sighted People, compiled a summary report based on the 15 replies which EBU received in response to its questionnaire on UNCRPD article 33 'Implementation and Monitoring'.