Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 37 million

Official Journal Reference

L 56 of 1993-03-09

Legislative Reference

93/136/CEE of 1993-02-25
To promote equal opportunities for and the integration of disabled people.


The European Parliament, in its Resolution of 11 March 1981 (Official Journal No C 77 of 6.4.1981), stressed the need to promote at Community level the economic, social and vocational integration of disabled people. The Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 21 December 1981 on the social integration of handicapped people (Official Journal No C 347 of 31.12.1981) established a first action programme to promote such integration.

A second Community action programme, HELIOS 1 (1988-1991), followed on from the first and was designed to contribute to the objective of the Community in accelerating the raising of the standard of living through the implementation of a number of specific actions to promote the social integration and independent way of life of people with disabilities. It was designed to complement action taken at national level, in particular by ensuring coordination of these actions and exchanges of experience gleaned from them.

This third action programme follows on from the second in this field. The objectives of the programme are as follows in respect of functional rehabilitation, educational integration, vocational training, employment rehabilitation, economic and social integration and an independent way of life for disabled people:

- To continue to develop and improve exchange and information activities with the Member States and non- governmental organizations (NGOs) which can make a useful contribution and to ensure that they are given as wide a distribution as possible;
- To promote effective approaches and measures in order to achieve increased effectiveness and better coordination of actions;
- To promote the development of a policy at Community level of cooperation with the Member States and the organizations and associations concerned with integration based on the best innovative and effective experience and practice in the Member States involving voluntary organizations in accordance with national laws and/or practice;
- To continue cooperation with European NGOs and NGOs which are regarded as representative in the respective Member States, through national disability councils where they exist, and which have expressed a desire to cooperate at Community level. The HANDYNET computerized information and documentation system will continue to be developed. In order to meet the information needs of disabled people, the HANDYNET system will offer users a multilingual database, a multilingual electronic newspaper and a computer-based message system. Collection of data at national level will be carried out by national collection and coordination centres designated by the Member States. Data forwarded to the Commission will be adapted for the HANDYNET system, updated regularly and made available to national centres designated by the Member State in CD-ROM form. Dissemination to users of the information processed under the HANDYNET system will be the responsibility of the Member States.

The Commission will continue to develop and update the first HANDYNET module on technical aids. That module consists of a European database comprising:

- An inventory of technical aids available on the Community market for disabled people;
- A list of manufacturers and distribution agencies for these products in the Member States;
- The national rules and procedures which disabled people must follow in order to obtain such technical aids.

In addition, the Commission will extend the promotion of:

- Positive and forward-looking activities to encourage the adaptation of technologies to the needs of disabled people;
- Research and creation of technical aids, in particular by drawing up an inventory of applied research activities in this area. The Commission will also examine whether it is possible to include information on the quality of the technical aids in the database.

The Commission plans to strengthen cooperation with NGOs with NGOs, via national disability councils where they exist, and with associations which include NGOs from all or a number of Member States. Each year the Commission will draw up a programme of activities eligible for financial support and will give a balanced opinion of the priority ratings of those activities. Activities in this area include:

- Conferences , seminars, study visits, training courses and other European-scale cooperative activities;
- Provision of information for NGOs on actions undertaken at Community level;
- Advice to the Commission on the technical aspects associated with the type of disability or of the specific integration issue being dealt with;
- Submission of an annual report on activities carried out within the HELIOS 2 framework.


Five activities:

- Coordinating, undertaking and encouraging activities based on specific annual themes, with the intention of promoting innovation, facilitating exchanges of experience and encouraging the dissemination of successful experiences and the transfer of effective practices. These activities closely involve disabled people, their families, representative organizations, experts, researchers, professionals working in the field, voluntary helpers and the two sides of industry;

- Meeting the information needs of disabled people by pursuing, within the context of the computerized information and documentation system HANDYNET, on the basis of national data, the collection, adaptation at European level, updating, exchange and dissemination of information gathered in the Member Sates by the national collection and information centres;

- Encouraging disabled people to take part in Community programmes, in particular in the areas of training and preparation for working life, new technologies, vocational training and employment, equality between men and women, the learning of languages, and mobility of, and exchanges by, young people within the Community;

- Developing exchanges of information and experience on issues common to Member States' education systems by means of cooperation between those activities so designated by Member States;

- Ensuring close coordination with activities undertaken by organizations at international level.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the programme, assisted by an advisory committee consisting of two government representatives from each Member State and chaired by a Commission representative. The Commission representative submits to the committee a draft of the measures to be taken. Before consulting the committee, the Commission ascertains the views of a European disability forum made up of representatives appointed by the Commission on the basis of proposals submitted by NGOs, a representative of employers' organizations and a representative of trade union organizations. The Commission also convenes a liaison group chaired by the Commission representative and consisting of one of the government representatives for each Member State and twelve forum members appointed by the latter.

The rate of Community financial contribution shall be up to 50% for conferences (in cooperation with national authorities) and up to 100% for seminars, working party activities, study visits and training courses.

The Commission shall submit a report on the implementation of the HANDYNET system before 1 July 1994, an interim evaluation report on the implementation of HELIOS 2 by 31 December 1995, and a full report on the implementation and results of HELIOS 2 before 1 July 1997 to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee.
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