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Excerpt from "Esserci tutti" (Being all there): ideas, projects and laws in 2003, the European Year of Disabled People, edited by Franco Bonprezzi

European directive 2000/78/EC

Approved in November 2000 by the Council of the European Union, drawn out a general framework for equality and fair treatment in employment and on the workplace. The directive forbids any form of discrimination, explicit or indirect, based on religion, political or personal ideas, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Like other directives, its application within the EU member states is subject to adoption and conversion of the law in each state’s national legislation.


According to decisions of the European Court of Justice “a discrimination consists in the application of different rules in the same situation (or subject) or the application of the same rule or regulation to altogether different situations (or subjects)”. The non-discrimination principle, therefore, aims at guaranteeing that everyone is treated equally regardless of their nationality, sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or personal ideas, handicaps, age or sexual orientation.

EDF, European Disability Forum

The European Disability Forum is an European association composed by 17 National Councils of Disabilities (the pre-enlargement EU Member States plus Norway and Iceland) and 80 European NGOs composed by disabled people and their families. The Forum represents more than 37 millions of European disabled people; it is an officially recognised advisory board of the European Union and the European Council. The Forum’s task is to ensure that all the disabled European citizens have access to all their human and civil rights, by means of an active involvement in the development of the EU and its policies.
The Italian representative of the Forum is the Consiglio Nazionale sulla Disabilità (National Council on Disability) a founding member of the Forum.


ICF is the new “International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health”, published in ;ay 2001 by the WHO. 191 countries have adopted it as the new regulations on health and disability. ICF is not a group-specific classification but rather it is a regulation for everyone since everybody can suffer from a negative health condition that can turn into a disability in a particular context. The ICF criteria treat all the diseases equally, regardless of their cause.

Equal opportunity regulations

These regulations have been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 1993. Their aim is to ensure that disabled men and women can exercise their rights and duties just like all the other members of the society they belong to. These regulations require a strong moral and political commitment on part of the Member States that shall take actions aimed at establishing equal opportunities for disabled people. The regulations include important principles regarding responsibility, action and cooperation.


Social inclusion is not only the result of non-discrimination, but also of positive actions enacted to guarantee the achievement of equal opportunities.
Inclusion is different from mainstreaming (putting back in place everything that had been placed in different places and with different modalities) and “integration”, because both these words refer to processes that involve only the participation of disabled people, provided that they can prove they will benefit to them and that the environment is not influenced negatively by their presence. In the light of these differences inclusion is the starting point of a process that cannot be overlooked or left behind in the development of administrative policies.

Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty

The Amsterdam Treaty has been drawn up on October 2, 1997 and has come into effect on May 1, 1999. It established the European Community. Art. 13 of the Treaty states: “Without prejudice of the other provisions of this Treaty and within the limits of the powers conferred by it upon the Community, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age of sexual orientation”.

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