Breaking Down Barriers: Advancing Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities in Europe

The European Union is anchored in values of equality, social fairness, freedom, democracy and human rights. Both the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union serve as the foundation to combat all forms of discrimination, establishing equality as a cornerstone of EU policies. According to estimates there are 87 million persons with disabilities in the EU. Despite the progress has made over the last decade, people with disabilities continue to experience inequalities in various aspects of life, including access to physical activity.

The European Commission introduced the European Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2023 in March 2021, aiming to address the diverse challenges faced by persons with disabilities. The goal of the strategy is to ensure that persons with disabilities across Europe enjoy their human rights, have equal opportunities, freedom of movement and equal access to participate in society and economy, and no longer experience discrimination. The strategy represents the EU's roadmap for implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

On the 19th of March 2024, the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union organised a conference on the future of the European Strategy on the rights of persons with disabilities, in collaboration with the European Commission and with support of the European Disability Forum.

The conference aimed at advancing the discourse on developing a set of actions and initiatives in the next legislature, and focused on three main topics:

  • Access to employment for persons with disabilities;
  • Free movement of persons with disabilities;
  • Strategies to reinforce the implementation of the EU strategy and the UNCRPD on EU and national level.
 Reflecting the priorities of the Belgian presidency and recognising the importance of promoting inclusion and equal access to physical activity for all, this year #BEACTIVE DAY campaign places its focus on empowering individuals with disabilities, aligning with the ongoing mission of breaking down barriers to physical activity and healthy lifestyles. To support campaign organisers, the 2024 #BEACTIVE DAY project will develop an Accessibility Guide for implementing activities tailored to people with disabilities, offering insights into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of effective inclusion strategies. The guide serves as a vital tool in expanding the reach of the EWoS and #BEACTIVE DAY campaigns, moving away from generic, one-size-fits-all approaches and embracing tailored strategies.

In support of the broader fitness and sport sectors’ commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, EuropeActive was thrilled to attend the event commemorating Basic-Fit's 20 Years of Partnership with the Paralympic Team Belgium. Taking place on the 8th of March in Basic-Fit Wemmel, this incredible event was a true celebration of inclusion, empowerment, and remarkable achievements in the realm of fitness and sports. Attendees had the privilege of connecting with Belgian Paralympians such as Tim Celen, Manon Claeys, and Marc Ledoux, experiencing inspiring stories and shared workouts.

Throughout the event, Basic-Fit reaffirmed its commitment to fostering an inclusive fitness community. With Adaptive Training Plans tailored to various abilities, including workouts designed specifically for sitting athletes, single-leg athletes, and single-arm athletes, Basic-Fit continues to champion accessibility and inclusion in fitness.


Barrier Breakthrough: Elevated Mission of #BEACTIVE DAY 2024