Access for all
Federation for the Accessibility of Romania
According to article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Universal Design is "design of products, environments, programs and services , to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for specialist adaptation or design. Universal design shall not exclude assistive devices for specific groups of disabled persons, where this is required “.
Access for all


- Accessibility for goods and services
- Access to services (and goods related to the provision of these services)
- Procurement

This approach is explained, in accordance with the "Approach general to assess the accessibility of goods and services" and "Conditions of access to services (and goods related to the provision of these services)" (European Accessibility Act). The definition of accessibility should cover all areas and levels, including urban / rural and conventional / electronic applications. It should also combine the concept of accessibility with the concepts of autonomy, security and sustainable development. In developing such a definition, it is also important to refer to the concept of universal design.
According to Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Universal Design is "the design of products, environments, programs and services, so that they can be used by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for specialist adaptation or design. Universal design shall not exclude assistive devices for specific groups of disabled persons, where this thing is necessary". to participate and be used safely, independently, and with dignity by a person with a disability or reduced mobility in all circumstances (including in cases of expedite). This does not exclude the use of augmentative and alternative assistive or communication devices to achieve accessibility for certain groups of disabled people, where this is necessary.


The adoption of common EU accessibility standards would contribute significantly to reducing the accessibility barriers described above and will have a positive impact on the internal market. If the harmonized legal requirements related to European standards have been established, producers of goods and service providers would know that, if they comply with these standards, they could sell their products or services throughout the EU. Moreover, beyond the possible costs involved in adapting goods and services to make them accessible, common EU accessibility standards would considerably improve the quality of goods and services offered (accessibility is also a benchmark for quality) , and to satisfy the needs of citizens, thus increasing competition and increasing the market share of manufacturers and service providers.

In today's globalized world, the industry will benefit from the production of goods based on EU accessibility standards, because production prices will go down, due to the market economy, while market shares will increase.
First of all, the authorities must understand and accept the general rule that dependence and exclusion are much more costly than inclusion and participation.
It is a misconception that accessibility is expensive. In fact, building an accessible infrastructure, goods and services costs less than building an inaccessible infrastructure, and creates added value for the industry, because a good service, or the building that meets accessibility requirements will be able to adapt more easily to the needs in change. Moreover, the associated costs for goods, services and products offered by accessible companies are not high if accessibility is considered as one of the criteria from the beginning and taken into account in the design, production and distribution processes, if goods and the conception, development and delivery processes, in the case of services. The benefits of this, on the other hand, are considerable, as the potential market for goods and services expands considerably. Moreover, increasing the accessibility of products and services gives people with disabilities access to do things themselves, decreases the need for individualized services and free resource sets for public authorities.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by the majority of EU member states, requires the member states to take measures in the area of ​​accessibility. For businesses, adapting their products to different sets of requirements is both challenging and expensive. A harmonized set of European requirements would therefore reduce prices and increase a company's willingness and ability to sell products or services in all member states. This would increase the market for businesses, and also lead to increased competition, which should lead to better products at a lower price for the customer.
There are around 80 million disabled people in the EU, and they are all potential customers, offering products and services accessible to them. This is a very large number of customers - more than 15% of the entire European population. Furthermore, with ongoing demographic changes, the number of older people will increase substantially.
Disability statistics do not take into account the large number of Europeans of all ages who have a disability, whether mild (such as people with low vision, hearing, mobility, feeding problems), or who have a temporary inability to work. Accessibility measures could benefit this very important part of the EU population. Taking into account the needs of people with disabilities and producing goods and services that meet their needs, therefore, could open new key market opportunities and generate higher profits for companies. In addition, older consumers and younger consumers usually do not have the same needs in terms of design / functions of a product or service. The classification used to assess the level of accessibility of goods or services could be based on the following criteria:

- Security
- Accessibility (the cost of a marketed product should not be higher than the cost of an ordinary product. Currently, if a person needs accessible products, that meet his specific needs, he has to pay for that product many times more than for the regular product. For example, you can have a perfectly affordable mobile phone, but if it costs 1000 euros, then the situation changes, because there is no can buy.)
- Interoperability: (for example compatibility with assistance devices or accompanying services)
- Autonomy: (this criterion would determine to what extent a disabled person must be accompanied or may be able to manipulate or use the service)
- User Manual
- Choice: (Here we wish to emphasize the importance of having a range of products and services available in order to have healthy competition within the internal market Disabled people must also be able to choose from a range of products and services and to determine the best option for their use
The accessibility requirements suggested above should include the conditions in which the goods are delivered (eg retail premises, online, retail) and information relating to goods (eg packaging, labelling, contracts and user manuals). In addition, accessibility requirements should address the electronic operation of goods, navigational instruments, and packaging and labelling.
Accessibility level of a product or service must be communicated through the use of a European label. In this way, consumers would be able to understand the extent to which goods and services are accessible (which is particularly useful for people traveling within member states). This classification of goods and services should be reviewed periodically, with the objective of having more and more accessible goods and services.
At this stage, we emphasize that essential goods and services (related, for example, to health, transport, education, communication...) must be fully accessible and systematically respect the maximum level of accessibility criteria, because they are essential for the participation of people with disabilities in society.
The law should contain provisions that to ensure the following conditions of access to services


This remains very difficult for disabled people due to the difficulties they face to access the spaces used to provide such services. The law should therefore cover access not only for the built environment but also for the physical environment in which the service is provided, which also implies access to adequate transport to and from the place where the service is provided .


Access to services for disabled people is impossible without accessible goods (for example: increasing the accessibility of packaging and leaflets), which correspond to their needs and are based on a perspective of gender equality . The law should therefore ensure that accessibility requirements are applied to the physical infrastructure, equipment and materials relating to a service. The law should also ensure that automated equipment as self-service for cars, but also telematics or electronic devices, including websites, etc., which are made available to the customer for consulting, and handling services are fully accessible.


The law should address the information and communication component (including Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)) barriers to services. This issue relates to the way information is presented and is the biggest challenge for people with disabilities. The insufficient availability of clear and adapted displays, orientation signs, for example, in public transport, remains an important communication obstacle for disabled people. The law should also provide that information provided to service users, as well as contracts or general rules, complaint forms, customer satisfaction measurement, are made available in accessible formats upon request.


Too few basic service offers provide access for disabled people. For example, tickets for passenger transport cannot be bought online due to the inaccessibility of travel tickets for people with disabilities. In many cases, they have to pay an additional fee when buying over the phone or at a physical counter. This lack of accessible offers should be emphasized in the Law, because it contributes to the distortion of the service market. should be included in the Law. One of the key persistent issues with accessibility is the lack of staff to provide accessible services for people with disabilities. The problems faced by people with disabilities in services relate to prejudice, lack of awareness and stigma. Most such problems are invisible and therefore it is essential that service providers understand that different customers/patients/passengers have different needs and must train their staff accordingly. The presence of qualified staff can, for example, help build confidence for disabled people to use services that are increasingly automated.


Following the growing trend of sub-contracting the provision of certain services through public and private procurement procedures, it is essential that these procedures are accessible and the selection criteria include mandatory standards of accessibility.
We will give some examples of services for which the conditions mentioned above must be fully applied (FAR considers that all services must be accessible, as well as the conditions of access to a service must be , also covered by law, including accessibility to goods related to the provision of that service):


The law must guarantee full access to all means of transport, which is far from being fulfilled today and a barrier is raised in the way of freedom of movement and access to goods and services. The law should also cover accessible and taxi services, provide rental vehicles for disabled people.


Accessibility of health services is a crucial aspect that needs to be regulated by Law.


Education services must be accessible to students and job seekers for persons with disabilities. In this sense, FAR demands to respect the obligations of the Romanian state, regarding the UN Convention, to ensure accessible services in the education system.

- SOCIAL SERVICES, including social housing:

The law should covers the accessibility of social services, including essential services provided directly to the person. These services include rehabilitation, social security services, employment and vocational training, social housing, child care, long-term care and social assistance services.


People with disabilities (including the elderly) are usually the ones who use emergency services the most, which is why the sector should be modernized in order to meet the needs of this population. Therefore, emergency services (including contacting emergency services 112 and using emergency numbers, social rescue, prevention services, assistance services) must be addressed by law.


People with disabilities should be able to access cultural sites and services delivered in public places (eg museums, theatres, cinemas, libraries), including indoor and outdoor exhibitions and performances, and musical and cultural festivals. In this sense, accessibility must include the provision of accessible formats.


People with disabilities and their families can use mass tourism services, but they still face many barriers that prevent access to these services.

- BANKING SERVICES: access to banking services (physical and online), remains a problem for many disabled people, who often have to use more expensive services, or call on the help of a personal assistant to be able to manage their bank account or financial portfolio.


People with disabilities are generally excluded from health and life insurance, such as mortgage loans, which is a violation of the principle of freedom of movement and establishment.


People with disabilities must have access to housing services, such as property rental and purchase services, because these are the prerequisites for a life based on equality of to nse. Housing services should include social housing. Housing construction services are another aspect to consider.The existing funds to support the renovation - that is, the accessibility of the houses for people with disabilities, provided by the public authorities are insufficient. In addition, it is practically impossible for many disabled people to live in their own homes, because the support necessary to do so after the death of their parents is not provided by law.


For to be able to purchase accessible goods and services, disabled people must be aware of stores that sell these types of goods. This also requires that the accessible elements provided in stores are displayed in plain sight for disabled people.
We believe that the EU should be inspired by the experience of the United States in legislating accessibility for goods and services. In the US, there is evidence that the cost of providing access is very limited compared to the benefits for society, such as increased employment, consumer spending, and decreased welfare dependency. It is, for example, imperative to clearly define in legislation which sites must be accessible.
Both individuals and civil society organizations should be allowed to take legal action at national level, in case in which the accessibility criteria are not respected. Taking legal action individually is very expensive and is simply not an option for many disabled people, which is why alternative legal actions (eg class action) must be part of the equation to ensure in effectively implementing the Law.

• The role of public authorities and market operators Market operators, such as manufacturers or service providers, should be encouraged to include accessibility requirements in the design process, right from the start. Market operators could also be encouraged by research in areas where the technical means to achieve accessibility are still absent, supported by European research and innovation programs and/or cohesion policy funds. Economic incentives such as tax reductions could be considered for market retailers who develop innovative products and accessible services.

Accessibility education and training for public authority staff and market operators is also crucial. Training programs should highlight design principles for all people and accessibility requirements. Public authorities and market operators should also provide information for their customers regarding the level of accessibility provided.
Finally, the cooperation of public authorities with market operators, with representative organizations of people with disability at the national and European level is a basic condition for improving accessibility in all areas. FAR must be involved in the design, monitoring, evaluation of the entire process for improving accessibility.

• The role of SMEs
Currently, the suppliers of accessible goods and services are mostly SMEs. They could therefore benefit from an important competitive advantage. In this context, we believe that there is a need for exemptions for SMEs, and they should be included in the legislation. SMEs could benefit from additional incentives to provide affordable goods and services. For example, innovative solutions based on accessibility and design for all could be stimulated through credit facilities. Public authorities could offer programs aimed at promoting the implementation and development of good accessibility practices for SMEs. SMEs could also receive support to organize training that would strengthen the capacity of their staff to provide accessible services for people with disabilities.

Access to knowledge

The concept of fundamental right and freedom has evolved. From the "blue rights", civil and political in essence (the right to life, equality before the law, the right to free expression, the right to choose and be chosen), intended to protect the individual from the abuse of the state; to the "red rights" - economic, social and cultural, derived from the affirmation of the principle of equality, intended to guarantee equal conditions and treatment (the right to food and housing, equal access to health services, the right to work). These two categories of rights are contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948.
Today we are talking about a third generation, the "green rights", which go beyond the social and civil area: the right to self-determination, the right to economic development and social, access to natural resources, the right to a healthy environment, the right to cultural heritage, to inclusion. They are collective and group rights and generally look to the future. The future of a nation, of humanity; the legacy we leave to those who will follow us. The High Commissioner for Human Rights within the UN concludes: "All Human Rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent."

This is how the concept of equal opportunities evolves: from a minimalist understanding - equal opportunities to access socially, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, strictly based on skills and competences – to an active attitude: to address and equal opportunity to acquire the relevant knowledge, skills and abilities to access socially. Thus, the decision-maker should perform social justice by readjusting social and economic inequality for the benefit of disadvantaged groups - proactively creating egalitarian premises.
Let's develop means of exercising the right, not just formally recognize it. Respecting difference takes precedence over emphasizing similarity. Modern social citizenship, in the exercise of civil, political and social rights, assumes equality and imposes a moral justification of discrimination and asymmetric treatment.

I participated in many debates, in the country and abroad, on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), ratified by Romania in 2010. The convention, in essence, proposes a paradigm shift: Disability is an inadequacy of society to be inclusive rather than a pathology of the individual. We need to move from the medical model to the social dimension of disability. The preamble of the Convention for Persons with Disabilities starts from these conceptual premises - it recognizes the right to independence and decision-making and urges decision-makers to take measures to implement the assumed wishes.

Practically, we propose to create in Romania as well functional models, financed predictably (through programs of national interest and/or European funds). Buffer zones between citizens and authorities. Areas of intervention in the economy! Development of solutions we need!

At the same time we have a chance to find ourselves as a society. It can be a process of re-norming our values ​​as a nation.

The difference between inclusive design and accessibility

What is inclusive design?
What is the difference between inclusive design and accessibility?
Two really important things, in the perspective of the European Accessibility Act, are quality design and inclusion for disabled people. The social mission to create beautiful and functional products that meet the needs of as many people as possible. This is the core of inclusive design.
Why quality design is not enough The truth is that "quality design" considers the best form and function for some users, but excludes many other people based on the ability to use the final product - and people with disabilities are often ignored. We need to change this. Design should not differentiate or divide us, but bring us together.
We believe that people with disabilities should have equal and integrated access to quality products, services and structures - everyone has the right to enjoy beautiful and functional design, and that we will all benefit when the final product is accessible to all. We believe that inclusive design is a matter of social justice. Through inclusive design, we create the change we want to see around the world.
What is inclusive design?
Called universal design, inclusive design considers the needs and abilities of as many people as possible. Rather than assuming a unique user experience, inclusive design aims to please a much wider range of individuals and accommodate a variety of experiences and ways of interacting with the world as a whole.
Design- inclusiveness recognizes that our needs change over time, so it anticipates different ways in which an individual might interact with the world as life goes on. Aging, permanently or temporarily disabled, carrying a baby, pushing a stroller, or sitting in a business meeting are some examples of circumstances that influence how you interact with the world around you - circumstances that could change what do or how you do things.
What is the difference between inclusive design and accessibility?While inclusive design considers from the beginning how something could be easy to use and enjoyable for as many individuals as possible, accessibility traditionally means taking into account special considerations for people with disabilities. It's the difference between designing an "object" that can be "read" by touch or sight and taking the same "object" to an analog standard, then adding braille instead of numbers (eg a clock). The first example considers the functionality and beauty of a watch that doesn't require visibility, while the second example tries to take something designed to be "read" by anyone, and then make it work by touch, without changing the design created by this change.
Unlike assistive devices, inclusive design does not specifically target people with disabilities. While assistive devices fill in the gaps left by exclusive design practices, inclusive design integrated follows the evolution of products beyond their conventional definitions, changing the initial standards for products. Assistive devices aim to remove a barrier for people with disabilities. Inclusive design strives to fundamentally redefine a product so that only barriers exist. Assistive technology is reactive.
Inclusive design is proactive.
How accessibility should be approached
We should use both approaches: building accessibility in what we do from the start and solving access issues on platforms we use but don't own.
There are certain cases where something cannot be done inclusively because we have no control over the design and user experience, such as social media platforms, partners' websites, institutions, etc. However, as far as possible, we aim to make the use of our platforms and sites accessible - using the features available to us in ways that allow the most users to interact with us.
Being an entrepreneur in Romania as of today, it means you have courage! We talk about courage, we recognize courage when we see it, but how do we find it?
Courage is about decisions.
Courage means change, but also perseverance. It's about seeing opportunities where others see only obstacles.
Courage is a form of optimism. It involves risks. Sometimes even dangers.
Courage means being different and owning it. It means a lot of work, but also a lot of madness. What does it mean to you to have courage?
When courage becomes risk?
Courage in marketing, between creativity and efficiency
How fear affects business decisions
Courage in strategy
The consumer of the future
Today's brands can prepare the ground for tomorrow's consumer, but to succeed in this, they must train their long-term vision with perseverance and tenacity, because it is your right to move forward, to reach your goal, to - you make your dreams come true.