IPC praises French Government’s push to improve rights of persons with disabilities

Amongst a range of measures by the French Government will be a EUR 1.5 billion investment into accessibility 11 May 2023
A woman and a man on a wheelchair holding tennis racquet.
IPC President Andrew Parsons, left, and Amélie Oudéa-Castera, French Minister for Sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, attended Paralympic Day in Paris on 8 October 2022.
ⒸParis 2024

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons has praised the French Government’s recent announcement on measures to improve inclusion of persons with disabilities, hailing it as “a major step in the right direction” and “further proof that Change Starts with Sport.” 

Speaking at the sixth annual disability conference in Paris on 27 April 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron presented his Government’s policy which prioritises accessibility, education and employment. It also includes a EUR 1.5 billion investment that will ensure better access to public places for people with disabilities.

As part of a range of measures, President Macron committed to: 

  •  Full reimbursement for wheelchair purchases in 2024 
  • A continuation of reduced VAT on a range of sports equipment for persons with disabilities from 20 per cent to 5.5 per cent 
  • More inclusive schooling for 430,000 students with disabilities 
  • An investment of EUR 1.5 billion to improve the accessibility of places of daily life, such as small shops and restaurants, as well as improved digital accessibility of public websites 
  • The rights of the 120,000 workers in the sheltered sector will "evolve" to be identical to those of employees. In addition, a study will be launched to facilitate the resumption of professional activity through a reform of aid and professional income beyond part-time work 
  • An increase in disability benefit payments
  •  Five times more accessible taxis than are currently in the Paris region, to reach 1,000 and a special shuttle service to venues during Paris 2024 
  • An expansion nationwide of the inclusive sport club initiative that is currently being implemented in Paris ahead of the Paralympic Games

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “When it comes to the rights of persons with disabilities, the starting point for each country is different and these measures announced by President Macron are a major step in the right direction for France’s 12 million persons with disabilities. 

“Staging the Paralympic Games, the world’s biggest global showcase of persons with disabilities, acts as a catalyst to Governments focusing and investing more into advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. I am really pleased at President’s Macron’s announcement, it’s further proof that Change Starts with Sport and evidence that he wants the Paris 2024 Games to be a real game changer. 

“Since Paris was awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2017, we have already witnessed many positive changes in the country. For example, the unemployment of persons with disabilities in France has fallen from 18 per cent to 14 per cent in the last six years, while the City of Paris is investing more than EUR 125 million into making the city more accessible ahead of the Paralympics. 

“Change takes time, it does not happen overnight, and I really do hope that these initiatives are just the starting point with further measures continuing in the lead up to and beyond next year’s Games.” 

The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will take place between 28 August and 8 September 2024, featuring 4,400 Para athletes who will compete in 549 medal events across 22 sports.