As well as being used as polling stations during elections, national and local authority buildings are often the site of council meetings, consultations or political speeches, as well as party political or civil society meetings. Although mandatory accessibility standards for national and local authority buildings are in place in nearly all EU Member States, it is difficult to identify reliable information from official sources on the proportion of national and local authority buildings that are accessible for persons with disabilities in practice.
The analysis below rather highlights those Member States where some data on the accessibility of public buildings was identified, either from official government sources or from other information providers, including NGOs.
Is data available on the proportion of public buildings that are accessible for persons with disabilities in the EU?
Sources: FRA, 2014
In only five Member States: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, France and Poland, did the analysis identify a source of official government data on the accessibility of public authority buildings. In Greece, a survey published by the Ministry of Administrative Reform and Electronic Government in 2008 found that 9 % of the 3,828 public buildings surveyed were fully accessible to people with disabilities. Similarly, in France, a 2012 report by the Inter-ministerial Observatory on accessibility and universal design found that 15 % of establishments open to the public conform with accessibility standards.
In a second group of six EU Member States, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden, some data on the proportion of public authority buildings that are accessible for persons with disabilities was found from unofficial sources such as research undertaken by NGOs. The Lithuanian society of persons with disabilities assessed the accessibility of over 350 public buildings in nine Lithuanian municipalities in 2012, reporting that almost half are not accessible to persons with disabilities. In 2010, the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection evaluated the accessibility of 33 public authority buildings across five cities against a number of criteria covering the inside and outside of the buildings. The study concluded that none were fully accessible to persons with disabilities, with major physical barriers found in 23 of the buildings.