Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 180 million

Official Journal Reference

C 327 of 1990-12-29

Legislative Reference

To improve the conditions for access to the labour market and the competitivity of the handicapped, in particular through vocational training in new technologies, notably distance training, and the adaptation of infrastructure which takes into account the specific needs of the handicapped; to improve the knowledge of the problems of long-term unemployment and the deterioration in the socio-economic situation of certain groups of the population and consequently of responses to be applied.


On 18 December 1990 the Commission of the European Communities decided to establish a Community initiative concerning handicapped persons and certain other disadvantaged groups within the meaning of Article 11 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4253/88.

The initiative aims to achieve its objective for the handicapped through transnational actions and to improve their professional insertion in different sectors of the economy. This initiative also reinforces the HELIOS programme (Council Decision 88/231/EEC) which aimed at promotion of employment and vocational training, the socio-economic and educational integration of the handicapped, and the HANDYNET system (Council Decision 89/658/EEC) concerning technical aids for vocational training and employment for the handicapped.

In context of the combat against social exclusion, and in connection with the Poverty programme (Council Decision 89/457/EEC), the operations for the disadvantaged aim to reinforce the local capacity for actions and establish a network for the exchange of experiences at the Community level to deal with this type of situation, so as to integrate in the labour market and the society the groups of disadvantaged persons in the population. The Community aims to support the development of appropriate methods and it encourages these activities and supports the exchange of experience at the Community level. In the same context the Community supports actions in favour of persons abruptly confronted by a new socio-economic situation and whose exceptional and mass arrival has a lasting effect on the labour market equilibrium of the areas concerned, particularly in objective 1 regions. The Community supports actions for promoting employment at local levels and vocational training adapted to the specific difficulties of these groups, as well as guidance and counselling measures for their socio-economic integration, combined with mastering of the local language skills, and other measures destined to facilitate their installation.


- For handicapped persons to be inserted into the open economy through training given in a sheltered milieu:
. In favour of the physically handicapped, vocational training for qualifications and/or skills, use of technologies which diminish physical constraints with a view to their training in new technologies amongst others;
. In favour of the mentally handicapped, vocational training and employment in economic sectors or jobs suitable and apt for them;
. Training of trainers, social assistants, ergotherapists, psychologists, professional guidance experts, sign language interpreters, ergonomists and physiotherapists, using techniques to improve the transition of the handicapped from a sheltered environment towards the open labour market;
. Aid for creation of SMEs and cooperatives by the handicapped or aids in favour of creation of employment for the handicapped provided that these SMEs and cooperatives are eventually capable of being integrated in the market economy;
. Aid for starting up services whose aim is to help the access of the handicapped to the existing structures facilitating the creation and development of artisanal activities and SMEs;
. Pilot projects concerning the adapation of infrastructure of collective interest with the aim of diminishing the difficulties of the physically handicapped;
. Dissemination to enterprises of the experiences and technologies which take account of the problems of the handicapped to facilitate their access to infrastructure and services of collective interest;
. Creation in vocational training centres of physiotherapy and ergotherapy equipment to facilitate vocational training of the handicapped;
. Creation or development of information networks in respect of access to professional training and employment of the handicapped;
. Exchange of experiences and specialists between organizations specializing in the training of the handicapped from several Member States, with the aim of increasing know-how in the Community and the setting up of an expert team for management and monitoring;

- Regarding disadvantaged groups of persons having specific difficulties with professional, economic and social integration:
. Guidance and counselling measures;
. Vocational training, including that for social development agents;
. Exchange of social development agents at Community level;
. Preparatory studies and technical assistance;

- Regarding persons who are obliged to adapt themselves abruptly to an entirely new socio-economic situation which risks perturbing seriously the labour market due to the exceptional influx of these persons:
. Measures to facilitate their occupational integration into the labour market by providing training for qualifications or adapting their qualifications to those required by the labour market;
. Measures linked to vocational training to tackle language problems;
. Preparatory and accompanying measures for their children in order to improve or preserve mother tongue skills with a view to their professional insertion;
. Recruitment aid measures, aid towards the creation of self-employed activities, counselling and guidance measures;
. Aid for starting-up services whose aim is to help these persons to have access to the existing services facilitating the creation and development of artisanal activities or SMEs;
. Setting up places of transit for multiple collective use.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the initiative. The categories of persons eligible for assistance under HORIZON are persons with serious handicaps resulting from physical or mental impairments (handicapped) and persons suffering from specific difficulties which hinder or act as a brake on their economic and social integration (disadvantaged). For the handicapped, all the regions of the Community are eligible provided the operations concern transnational actions involving at least one partner from an objective 1 region. For the disadvantaged, all the regions of the Community are eligible. For operations in respect of abrupt changes on the labour market as a result of the exceptional and massive arrival of persons in a new economic context, priority is given to objective 1 regions and to cope with the problem because of the economic disequilibrium provoked by the influx of a population requiring rapid integration into the economic and social fabric.

The operational programmes or global grants are the subject of joint financing by the Community and the Member States. The eligibility of the actions is subject to the Regulations governing the Structural Funds. Rates of assistance are decided in conformity with the Decisions governing the Regulations of the Structural Funds and take account of the financing capacity of the national and regional authorities concerned.
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