McGrath meets Commissioner Špidla in Brussels

Posted on January 12th, 2007

mcgrathmeetsspidlaMichael McGrath meets Vladimír Špidla Commissioner for European Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities at the European Commission in Brussels.

Last month McGrath was in Brussels in his capacity as a Senior Associate for PTI [Performance through Inclusion] a leading diversity practice.

McGrath travelled to the European Commission with one of PTI’s founder partners [previously Head of People Development at Guinness UDV and European Diversity Manager at Ford Motor Company] Tony Burnett, to meet a key cabinet member within Vladimír Špidla’s office.

As thought-leaders for inclusion, PTI has been working with some of the world’s leading organisations helping them to measure their potential exposure to legislation and pinpoint cultural deficiencies using InclusionIndex, a diagnostic tool that measures outputs not inputs, giving clients indisputable evidence on the effects that diversity strategies are having on people in their organisations.

The meeting provided an opportunity for McGrath to personally express his gratitude to the Commissioner for European Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities after the Commissions explicit support through the then Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou of his pole2pole initiative that saw him in January 2004 become the only disabled person in the world to have reached both North and South Poles.

In addition to the recent adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in light of the European Commission’s recent spotlight on equal opportunities and the benefits for Europe of a diverse society via the 2007 designated European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, McGrath was able to show Commissioner Špidla a short film of his polar endeavours, exemplifying that the only real barriers disabled people face in society today are those artificial ones that others impose on them.

Endorsements of support were also received from Richard Howitt MEP, European Parliament [East of England] and President of the All-Party Disability Group, Maria Eagle the then MP and Minister for Disabled People in the Department for Work and Pensions and Bert Massie, Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission.

2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All.

The European Year is the centrepiece of a framework strategy designed to ensure that discrimination is effectively tackled, diversity is celebrated and equal opportunities for all are promoted.

European Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Vladimír Špidla, said: “Europe must work towards real equality in practice. The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and the framework strategy will provide a new drive towards ensuring the full application of EU anti-discrimination legislation, which has encountered too many obstacles and delays. Fundamental rights, non-discrimination and equal opportunities will remain key priorities for the European Commission.”

The 4 core themes of the European Year proposed by the Commission are:

  1. Rights – raising awareness of the right to equality and non-discrimination
  2. Representation – stimulating a debate on ways to increase the participation of under-represented groups in society
  3. Recognition – celebrating and accommodating diversity
  4. Respect and tolerance – promoting a more cohesive society

Source from official website for the ‘2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All’

  • This website seeks to explain the aims of the Year and the way it operates
  • It also features a timetable outlining the key stages leading up to 1 January 2007
  • The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All in 2007 will seek to make people in the EU more aware of their rights to enjoy equal treatment and a life free of discrimination
  • These are two of the basic principles underpinning the Union
  • The Year will also launch a major debate on the benefits of diversity for European societies


Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
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