European Year of People with Disabilities 2003 Sept02

The European Union has adopted 2003 as the 'European Year of People with Disabilities' to highlight the hurdles and discrimination encountered by disabled people on a daily basis.

Bashir Khanbhai Conservative MEP for Eastern Region said, "There is still much to be done to eliminate the barriers and discrimination faced by the 37 million people with disabilities across the European Union. The decision to adopt a Year for People with Disabilities has given us the opportunity to place disability rights at the top of the European agenda."

Thousands of activities and events will take place during the year across the EU linked by a European Year bus which will start in Athens in January 2003 and travel through all 15 member states.

To launch the year, the EU has organised a competition for children aged between 10 and 15 years old asking them to draw a picture to show how they would change the world to include people with disabilities equally.

Mr Khanbhai added, "It is so important to get young people involved so that they understand and help change attitudes towards disability issues and disabled people from an early age."

The closing date for receipt of entries is 15 October 2002 and the competition is open to disabled and non-disabled children throughout the EU.

The UK winning entry will become the official European Year postcard for the UK and the winning entrant will also have the chance to win a trip to Brussels in December 2002. For competition regulations and the official application form, please visit