Spain's medieval walled city of Avila was Thursday named the most disabled-friendly in Europe for providing better access for people with disabilities as well as increasing job offers for them.
The European Commission, which earlier this month launched a 10-year plan to improve life for the disabled, handed its first-ever award in the field to Avila.
The city beat three other finalists: Spain's Barcelona, Cologne in Germany and Finnish city Turku.
"People with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else, but accessibility is a precondition for them to enjoy those rights", said Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.
The competition for the first Access City Award was launched in July 2010 for the 1,000 European Union cities of over 50,000 people. The Commission reviewed 66 eligible applications from 19 of the 27 member states.
Earlier this month the Commission said the one in six Europeans with a disability should be able to cross EU borders carrying a single card offering bloc-wide entitlements from next year.
A disabled parking card from one country, for example, would work in another, according to a plan to create a barrier-free Europe for the 80 million people with disabilities.
Along with mutual recognition of national disability cards, the 27-nation bloc will seek by 2015 common rules and standards to make services accessible to the disabled and improve their lives.