A record-breaking number of MEPs have signed a written declaration in the European Parliament supporting accessible labelling. This marks an important milestone for blind and partially sighted people. The text, initiated by MEPs Konstantinos Poupakis and ádám Kósa, with the support of MEPs Cecilia Wikström, Richard Howitt and Eva Lichtenberger, calls on the European Commission to launch a wide consultation on the feasibility of introducing a voluntary system of labelling in Braille and other accessible formats.
Following a strong campaign by the European Blind Union (EBU), the written declaration was formally adopted during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels on 23 June. With a record-breaking 447 signatures, it becomes the most supported written declaration in this Parliament, highlighting the institution's commitment to fight the discrimination that blind and partially sighted people experience when carrying out everyday tasks such as shopping.
EBU President, Lord Low of Dalston, said: "This is a landmark victory. I am delighted with the overwhelming support from MEPs. Without access to information there is no independence, no choice, and no safety. This must be addressed - the success of this written declaration puts the issue back on the EU agenda."
EBU will continue to work with EU institutions to make sure that the right to access information becomes a reality for all blind and partially sighted people in Europe. "If you can't see, a tin is 'just a tin'; if you can't read labels, you have to rely on others to do your shopping. It needn't be that way, technology out there can make accessible information a reality", says Lord Low.