Government initiative to make Greek beaches accessible to people with disabilities

By next summer, a number of Greece’s beaches are to be equipped with facilities giving access to the sea for those with reduced mobility, such as those with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women and those recovering from injuries and illness, based on a plan to be launched on Monday.

The project is an initiative emanating from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s social policy office, which mobilised the economy and development ministry to draw up a plan to install infrastructure giving independent wheelchair access to the sea and related facilities.

The economy ministry will invite offers on Monday, while the aim is that the project will be completed by next summer. The budget is set at five million euros in total, with a maximum of 60,000 euros per facility. Among potential beneficiaries are municipalities on the coast, which can each bid for up to four, and the Public Properties Company.

The facilities are designed to allow persons with disabilities or other problems to access and use them independently, without assistance, while their use will be free of charge. The infrastructure will consist of non-permanent assembled mechanisms, as well as specially designed changing cabins, portable toilets, ramps, parking areas and areas providing shade and protection.

The programme aims to promote equal rights and access to the disabled, on the one hand, and to make Greece a top tourist destination for the disabled worldwide.

Talking to the ANA, economy ministry staff noted that the project helped Greece to “harmonise and take the lead in the full economic and social participation of people with disabilities, which is an important parameter in the success of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy and in implementing the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that was recently made a law of the state.”

Among others, this makes the state responsible for ensuring equal access for the disabled to the natural, built and electronic environment.