In response to decades of inaction, Macron pledges €1.5 billion for enhanced accessibility as disabled individuals protest.

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an investment of €1.5 billion to improve accessibility to public spaces for people with disabilities.

The announcement came a day after disabled rights associations protested in Paris due to decades of unfulfilled promises, making it difficult for them to travel independently by public transport ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At a national conference on disabilities, Macron acknowledged failures and slow progress, and promised concrete action for France’s 12 million people with disabilities, including measures to be announced before the summer targeting small establishments receiving the public, such as restaurants, administrative locations, taxis, train stations, and trains.

Macron also pledged to fully reimburse wheelchair purchases in 2024. However, many disabled people in France still face challenges in public transport.

An arm of Europe’s foremost human rights body found France in violation of a European treaty on social and economic rights this month, and the looming deadlines of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics risk highlighting the country’s accessibility shortcomings.

Macron has promised to improve accessibility, but some disabled rights groups fear fresh pledges will fall short of what is needed.

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