ESCIF Congress 2024 in Berlin

22 - 25 May 2024

Special award for Albert Marti

EU disability card

There is currently no mutual recognition of disability status between the EU Member States. It can cause difficulties for persons with disabilities travelling in the EU.

The European Commission worked with persons with disabilities and their advocates to test the European Disability Card.

Eight countries already use the European Disability Card a voluntary system of mutual recognition of disability status and some associated benefits.

The card ensures equal access to benefits across borders for persons with disabilities, mainly in culture, leisure, sport and transport.

Based on this good experience, by the end of 2023, the European Commission will propose a European Disability Card that would apply to all EU countries.

The card will make it easier for persons with disabilities to get the proper support when they travel or move to another country in the European Union.

We are delighted to inform you that we had a very successful ESCIF Congress in Thessaloniki, Greece last week. We were hosted by the Greek ESCIF member organisation PASPA who did a wonderful job of hosting this event that enabled great networking, informative presentations and a chance to enjoy the welcoming hospitality of Thessaloniki. We are also very excited to invite you to the 2024 ESCIF Congress which will be held in Berlin.

New ESCIF Project: Accessible Charging project

In most countries in Europe governments promoted the switch to electro mobility and the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is currently being developed….

Project Ukrainian SCI Relief: Closing of the safe house in Poland

After 6 months ESCIF and its partners close the safe house for Ukrainian refugees with SCI in Poland due to resource constraints (staffing, not enough accurate accommodation and finances). However, the steering group is working on direct transports out of Ukraine and an in-country follow up project.


On the first weekend of September, a meeting of the ESCIF board was held in the Greek city of Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki). The main goal of this meeting was to meet with Greek paraplegics, who will be the organizers of the future congress, which will take place from May 31st to June 3rd 2023, entitled “Reach beyond your limits – keep on wheeling”.

We reviewed the possible locations of accommodation for congress participants, the content of the program and potential speakers, the financial framework of the congress and a number of other details that are extremely important for a good congress. We had the honor of being the first to drive through the streets of Thessaloniki with a accessible tourist bus, which the Greek paraplegics acquired with the help of donations and with which they will conduct trips for their members. Of course, we cannot ignore the traditional Greek hospitality, for which we would like to thank our Thessaloniki friends, President George Avgoustidis and his wife Vasilika.

An equally important part of the meeting in the second largest Greek city was the discussion by members of the ESCIF management on the vision, goals and strategy for the further work of ESCIF.

Among others, Mirjam Kanalec, Vice-President of ESCIF, and Albert Marti, Secretary of ESCIF, visited Greek paraplegics in their office, where they exchanged many experiences and information about the implementation of programs for paraplegics and quadriplegics in Greece, Switzerland and Slovenia. Of course, on such occasions, a comparison of legislation in individual countries is inevitable.


Changes to the ESCIF Board

The 2022 annual congress of the European Association of Paraplegics ESCIF was held in the Slovak town of Šamorin, where a new member of the board, Lucy Robinson from England, was elected at the regular assembly. The vice-president Nuutti Hiltunen from Finland stepped down after for years of service. Due to the illness of President Stefan Opresnik Jorlev, this Vice President function is even more important so that the operation of the association can run smoothly. Mirjam Kanalec has been unanimously appointed by the board as the next Vice President and Lucy Robinson is the Treasurer. 

ESCIF Congress Samorin 2022

The European Spinal Cord Injury Federation (ESCIF), the annual congress of the European Spinal Cord Injury Federation (ESCIF), was held in the Slovak town of Šamorin between 25 and 28 May 2022, during which the annual assembly was held. ESCIF.

ESCIF Help Alliance project “Ukrainian SCI Relief”

The European Spinal Cord Injury Federation (ESCIF Help Alliance) with the support of several European SCI related organisations are aiming to install and run a    “safe-house for disabled refugees from the war in Ukraine with a focus on the Spinal Cord Injured community.