Sunday

29th May 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Column / UK referendum briefing

Cynical campaigns harm public trust

With a month to go before the vote, the Leave and Remain campaigns have made claims that would make the average pub bore blush.

Spanish election goes Venezuelan

The crisis in Venezuela has become central to the June election campaign, with radical-left Podemos being accused of being too close to the Chavist government.

News in Brief

  1. Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law
  2. Ukraine bans Gorbachev for backing Crimea's seizure
  3. Dozens dead in two shipwrecks outside Libya
  4. Slovak PM says his country is no place for Muslims
  5. Juncker's spin-doctor warns of populist 'horror'
  6. EU urges Hungary to end discrimination of Roma children
  7. Majority of voters think UK will stay in EU
  8. Leading MEP says Greek bailout will not work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan