Resources

EBU produces guidelines, topical papers, and other informative resources on a wide range of issues related to our community. The following selection of thematically classified documents will be regularly updated. Please note that other EBU recommendations and statements are to found in the Position Papers section.

Clear Print guidelines

The EBU clear print guidelines are available (pdf format, January 2017). The document offers basic principles with good practice examples for printed documents that you can easily apply. The guidelines are also available in German, and Lithuanian (pdf files July, 2017).

Guidelines on European legislation on accessibility

  • The site AccessibleEU is one of the flagship initiatives proposed by the European Commission Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030. It is a resource Centre on accessibility working on areas such as built environment, transport, information and communication technologies to ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in all areas of life on equal basis with others. They have just published Guidelines to European legislation on accessibility. These guidelines are a concise and easy-to-use document aiming at providing knowledge about the most relevant European Union legislation and standards on accessibility. Readers will get a better understanding of their purpose, scope, main and requirements. This document also includes the dates by which Member States have been or will be required to implement the provisions stated or transpose them into national legislation. The document is in pdf, available in many languages.
  • Also on this topic we would point out the European Disability Forum's Enforcement Toolkit. The aim of this toolkit is to provide persons with disabilities and their representative organisations with an overview of the remedy mechanisms that they can use when they experience or identify a breach of their rights as contained in EU Law and clarify which one is the most appropriate for each circumstance. Since enforcement is a combined effort of both European and National bodies, this toolkit makes a distinction between these two administrative and judicial levels.

Education

As for all children, it is vital for young blind and partially sighted youngsters to have access to and enjoy a good education. Inclusive education helps to build an inclusive society. Inclusive education teaches visually impaired and sighted children to learn and play together, making the concept of diversity and equality a practical and natural way of thinking for them.

EBU supports Inclusive education, provided that adequate support is guaranteed for blind and partially sighted students. To this aim EBU started important partnerships with  the International Council for Education and Rehabilitation of People with Visual Impairment, Europe (ICEVI-Europe) and the Inclusive Mobility Alliance (IMA), an alliance of European organisations aiming at promoting inclusive mobility for students and youth from a number of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Documentation;

'Erasmus+ Mobility of Students with Disability'

In order to obtain a clear picture of the possibilities and barriers of exchange programs for university students with visual impairments (VI), EBU and ICEVI-Europe have set up a research group. The research group consists of a researcher from ELTE University Bárczi Faculty of Special Education, Budapest (Hungary), a specialist in visual impairment from ICEVI-Europe, a university disability coordinator from Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia) and a member of EBU. The research group has gathered information about the experience of students with VI and Erasmus+ coordinators, resulting in the following documents;

  • Following the EBU 2023 Annual Conference held in Madrid, Spain, from November 6th to 8th , entitled ‘People on the Move: making educational and professional experiences abroad fully inclusive!’, the Madrid Declaration was adopted (pdf document, November 2023).
  • Recommendations for students with visual impairment participating in international exchange programmes (pdf)
    The aim of this brochure is to motivate blind and partially sighted students to participate in international mobility with the Erasmus+ program and to help them prepare for a successful academic experience and stay abroad. Information, recommendations, questions and messages are mainly drawn from the above-mentioned surveys and project materials. But other resources, recommendations and initiatives pursuing the same goal - promoting engagement, equal opportunities and implementing measures that will ensure the conditions for active participation are also used. Now also available in Portuguese (pdf). (13/12/2021)
  • A report 'Erasmus+ Mobility of Students with Disability'
    A State-of-the-art report on the accessibility of exchange programs for students with visual impairments jointly produced with ICEVI Europe which intends to obtain a clear picture of the possibilities and barriers of exchange programs for university students with visual impairments.
  • Pilot Survey report among Erasmus+ and Disability Coordinators,
    The main objective of this report is to describe the situation in and access to mobility of students with visual impairment in different higher education institutions which accept Erasmus students with disabilities.
  • Accessible Universities for Erasmus+ Students with Visual Impairment
    This document reports on the outcomes of the activities of the common project in its 2nd phase. The activities were aimed at investigating the opinions, experiences and suggestions of Erasmus+ mobility participants, and employees of universities involved in arranging international mobility programmes for students with visual impairment.
  • The 'Pedagogy and Language Learning for Blind and Partially Sighted Adults in Europe' project ran from 2008 to 2010 and aimed at Improving the accessibility of language learning for visually impaired (VI) persons. The final document 'Good practice for improving language learning for visually impaired adults' is now available in pdf format in Czech, English, French, Greek and Slovak.

Elderly

The EBU Age-Related sight-loss video (The video is also available with a voice-over in Croatian) or read the text transcription

Nearly 90% of all blind and partially sighted Europeans are over the age of 60, and two thirds are over the age of 65. Elderly people with sight loss may have additional health problems such as loss of hearing and reduced physical mobility.

They find it more difficult to learn new ways to adapt to their new condition and to cope with daily tasks. They are less likely to have access to adequate rehabilitation programmes or have the opportunity to register as disabled, because they feel it is ‘just part of growing old.' Agencies providing services to older people may have low awareness of sight problems. Consequently older people may be less aware of the support services available to them, and are at increased risk of isolation.

Documentation;

  • EBU closely follows all issues affecting the elderly and produced a concept paper (pdf 88 ko) on how to engage with them.
  • The new EBU information paper 'Rehabilitation and Older People with Acquired Sight Loss' (word).
    Also available in French, German and Spanish.
  • A Tale of Three Cities, a partnership project between the European Blind Union and the European Guide Dog Federation with additional collaborative support and assistance from Age Platform Europe. This looks at the experiences of a cross section of blind and partially sighted elderly people in three European cities, Tullamore in Ireland, Salzburg in Austria and Marseille in France. The resulting Tale of Three Cities report (pdf), uses specific criteria to examine the experiences of older people in adapting to poor vision whilst endeavouring to continue accessing the communities in which they live.
  • BIOVI report (pdf file) on two big projects took on in order to secure access to information for visually impaired people in Iceland, with special attention to the needs of senior citizens with visual impairments.
  • The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 2012 Ministerial Conference in Ageing ‘Ensuring a Society for all Ages'. Alan Suttie (Co-ordinator, Elderly Network, since deceased) attended this meeting as an invited representative on behalf of European Blind Union (EBU) and with support from World Blind Union (WBU) who have United Nations (UN) consultative status. Download Ensuring a Society for all Ages report (.doc 25ko), and the Ministerial Declaration (pdf 381 ko)

Employment, rehabilitation and vocational training

Blind and partially sighted Europeans are undoubtedly among the most vulnerable and least visible members of society. For the most part they are at the bottom end of the earnings league.

Poverty and social exclusion are inextricably linked and are caused by a complex combination of factors. Poor education and housing, unemployment and inadequate social protection, inaccessible information, transport and the built environment, negative attitudes and prejudices in society are all factors that lead to exclusion.

Rehabilitation and vocational training are closely related to employment and a decent income. All blind and partially sighted people should have access to these services and EBU advocates minimum quality standards.

The Union of the Blind of Serbia (External link) and the European Blind Union invited all EBU Members to the 2021 annual conference themed around Employment and Rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted People. At the end of the conference, EBU published the Belgrade Declaration, 2021, with our results and conclusions. More information on the event page.

Documentation;

The Hidden Majority (HM)

The Reports

A series of studies of economic inactivity among blind and partially sighted people in

The Summary Reports

A summary report (word) written in 2013 of the Hidden Majority studies in Sweden, Germany, Romania, Netherlands, Poland, France and Austria is now available. This report is now available in the languages of the countries covered (word): Swedish, German, Romanian, Dutch, Polish, French and also Spanish.

The HM 'How To' Manual

A "how to" manual (word)l was also developed to help the EBU members produce their own HM report. In order to further assist countries wishing to produce a HM report of their own, this document is now available in (word) Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, and Spanish.

See also useful links for more employment resourses

Transport and the built environment

Outdoor mobility presents difficulties for blind and partially sighted people. The design of vehicles as well as infrastructure such as stations and stops, many of the standards for which are set at European level, affect how easy or not it is for blind and partially sighted women, men and children to travel. The growing number of electric vehicle (EV) and electric-hybrid vehicles (EHV) is a fundamental concern to blind and partially sighted people. Due to the strong intervention of the European Blind Union, the European Union and the UNECE (United Nations economic Commission for Europe) have addressed the necessity for additional artificial sound generation for electric and electric hybrid vehicles, more on this in our campaigns section.

Documentation;

  • As a WBU member, EBU participated in its report  Closing the Accessibility Gap,” which provides a comprehensive overview of the progress and insights from its Global Programme for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (IAUD).

  • Accessible EU have published a document Accessibility Standards at European Level (pdf) detailing what is a standard and introducing the standardisation system.

  • ACI EUROPE, who work, amongst many other things, on the accessible airports awards, published in January 2024 their guide to assisting passengers with non visual disabilities, in regards to airports. (pdf file).

  • Assistance dogs -Travelling in and out of Europe following Brexit (02/03/2021)

    Following the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of 2020, the rules applying to travelling with a guide or assistance dog have changed. These are detailed in the links below, however, always check with your vet before you plan to travel. The new rules discriminate against persons with disabilities who wish to travel from the UK into Europe with their guide dog, as a new Animal Health Certificate (AHC) must be obtained for each and every trip out of the UK. For most people travelling with a dog is a choice; for a person with disabilities who relies on their guide dog, this is an essential. This means that short notice trips will be impossible to arrange, whether for business, pleasure or family matters. Each trip will incur a substantial additional cost, extra planning and time taken spent in the process involved obtaining the AHC. This is in addition to the current discrimination often experienced when travelling with a guide dog and highlights the inequalities suffered compared with other travellers. EGDF is engaging with MEP’s, the European Disability Forum, the European Blind Union and other Assistance Dog Organisations to campaign to create a level playing field.Travellers to Europe or Northern Ireland from the UK with their guide or assistance dog will no longer be able to use a UK issued EU Pet Passport.

    Detailed guidance for travelling into Europe or Northern Ireland can be found here

    For those travelling from the European Union into the UK however, rules have not changed and are detailed in the link below

    Detailed Guidance for travelling into the UK from Europe or Northern Ireland can be found here

  • In 2019, EBU invited its member organisations to submit examples of best practices on the accessibility of mobility for visually impaired persons. These were compiled into a brochure.
    The brochure is available (pdf files) in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish.
    This present brochure documents best practices towards independent and safe mobility from across Europe. It is structured in three clusters, which reflect important and interlocking areas of accessible mobility: legislation and standards, built environment and infrastructure and lastly digital solutions. A short discussion section complements these chapters in order to contextualise some pertinent issues on the safety and independency of mobility for visually impaired persons.
    The full document of the selected best practice, submitted by our Slovenian member, on Strategic Accessibility Planning, is available (pdf document).
  • 2019, EBU published a report to the European Commission’s DG Mobility and Transport, unit “Social Aspects, Passenger Rights & Equal Opportunities” entitled 'Most frequent problems experienced by blind and partially sighted persons when travelling by air' (pdf document).
  • In 2011, the EBU Commission on Transport and Mobility conducted a survey on the rights of VI air passengers to assess the impact of the Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of 5 July 2006 on VI air passengers. Read the final report (word) "Survey report on the implementation of the EU Regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) when travelling by air and its impact on visually impaired passengers' air travel experience"

See also useful links for more transport resources

Women

The Roads That Lead To The Top: a video on blind and partially sighted women’s leadership, a short video portraying the stories of ten women who are blind or partially sighted and traces the paths they followed towards pursuing their dreams.
There is also a transcript of the video content, this is also available in French, German and Spanish (word files).

NEW! (02/2021) On the occasion of the 2021 International Women’s Day, EBU launched the 2021 – 2023 Gender Equality Committee Action Plan. EBU fosters equal opportunities for both genders to full participation and aims at increasing the representation of women in decision making positions. This means raising awareness on the added value of diversity and on the right to equal opportunities, and also the empowerment of women to take their rightful place in society.

Leadership training and women´s forums organised by EBU gave women the opportunity to learn skills and to strengthen their network.

In 2018 EBU implemented a four-year activity, called GEAR - Gender Equality Awareness-Raising. On 14 - 16 June in Malmö (Sweden) the biggest event of this project took place. It was the GEAR conference. Our EBU Fous newsletter looks at the conference in detail. It is available in English, French, Spanish, and German, and in .doc only in Polish, Serbian and Turkish.
Audio files of the conference are now available, each mp3 file covers half a day of the conference: Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning.
The results and conclusions of the conference can be found in the 2019 Malmö Declaration. Blind and partially sighted women who are interested in joining the EBU women´s network can contact ebusecretariat@euroblind.org and our secretary general at ebusg@euroblind.org

Documentation;

Access to art and culture

Access to Art and Culture is another area in which EBU is active, guided by UNCRPD article 30. Below a selection of useful information and good practice.

See also our campaign on Creative Europe media funding to the film industry.

    Archive of press releases and position papers

    Position papers prior to 2019:

    2018

    • European Blind Union response to the European Commission public consultation on Building Trust in Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM), pdf and word format (November 2018)
    • EBU Response to the European Commission public consultation on integration of long term unemployed into the labour market, pdf and word format (July 2018)
    • EBU Fact Sheet for EAA Trilogue, this fact sheet contextualises EBU's demands for the EAA, so that the Directive’s impact on accessible goods and services enables societal participation of 30 million blind and partially sighted Europeans, pdf version, doc version (April 2018)
    • EBU Position on the EAA Trilogue Negotiations pdf and word format (February 2018)

    2017

    • EBU proposed amendments for EP Plenary, European Accessibility Act in pdf and word format (July 2017)

    2016

    • EBU Response to the European Commission public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights in doc and pdf format (December 2016)
    • EBU position paper on EC proposals to implement Marrakech Treaty in doc and pdf format (November 2016)
    • Accessible Lifts - EBU Statement on ballot within CEN/TC 10 regarding contrast requirements in EN 81-70 in doc and pdf format (October 2016)
    • EBU response to Public Consultation on reduced VAT rates for electronically supplied publications in doc and pdf format (September 2016)
    • EBU contribution to the consultation on COM(2016)287/final - Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services in view of changing market realities, in doc and pdf format (July 2016)
    • EBU response to Public Consultation on the Revision of the European Interoperability Framework, in doc and pdf format (June 2016).
    • EBU Response to the European Commission Consultation on the proposal for a European Accessibility Act, in doc and pdf format (February 2016).
    • EBU response to the European Commission Public consultation on eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 in .doc and .pdf format (January 2016).

    2015

    2014

    2013

    2012

    For recent documents, see the current position papers page

    Press Releases prior to 2019

    2018

    2017

    • 11 May 2017, The European Blind Union celebrates agreement on Marrakesh Treaty legislation, regrets optional “tax on accessible books” - Press Release in English, Spanish and Hungarian (pdf files)

    2016 (all the following documents are word)

    2015

    For current documents visit the current press releases page.