Friday

19th Jan 2018

Focus

Reach out to blind people, expert tells employment services

First, the figures. There are some 30 million blind and partially sighted people in Europe, according to the European Blind Union (EBU), an umbrella organisation. Of them, some three quarters do not have a job.

According to a series of recent studies, more than half of them do not bother applying, even though many of them would like to work.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Research suggests there is an indeterminable proportion who would like to have a job, but do nothing to get one," Fred Reid, co-author of the studies, told EUobserver.

"When asked, they say things like 'I don't know how to set about it,' or 'My sight is too bad'," he added.

The studies - called The Hidden Majority and commissioned by the EBU - look at individual member states one at a time.

The latest, on France, was published earlier this month and is the seventh in a row after Germany, Sweden, Romania, the Netherlands, Poland and Austria.

But already in 2009, when the authors began working, were they able to make an EU-wide assumption.

"There is evidence to support the hypothesis of a significant rate of involuntary economic inactivity [of blind and partially sighted people] in every member state of the EU," they said at the time.

The reasons are manifold, noted Reid.

"There is a very large prejudice among employers. And there are additional impairments [when people grow old]," he said.

Perhaps most to blame are public sector employment bureaus, whom he accused of "very poor data keeping" and "extraordinary complacency."

"[They] don’t actively reach out to find out if these people would like work or not," he said.

"Our argument is that they ought to reach out," he added.

Disability in figures

People from Malta are least likely to have health problems that limit their daily activities. In 2011, 88 out of 100 told EU pollsters they were fine. Only 64 percent of Slovenes did, and some 75 percent of EU citizens.

EU parliament leaders in disability pledge

European Parliament leaders have committed themselves to better upholding the rights of persons with disabilities, starting with making their political websites more universally accessible ahead of next year's EU elections.

Interview

Disability in the EU - a 'paradigm shift'

Over recent decades, there has been a "paradigm shift" in the way disability rights are treated in the European Union with policy-makers now focussing on how to make society more inclusive of disabled people.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  2. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  3. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  4. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  5. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  6. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia
  7. Taking full benefit of supercomputers in Europe
  8. Spitzenkandidat system 'difficult to get rid of', hopes lead MEP