In order to provide a conceptual framework for action for the European Year of People with Disabilities (2003), the Madrid Declaration was proclaimed by more than 600 participants from 34 different countries during the European Congress of People with Disabilities held in Madrid in March 2002. The text adopted was the result of a consensus between the European Disability Forum, the Spanish Presidency of the European Union and the European Commission.
The Madrid Declaration takes as a starting point the analysis of the current situation of people with disabilities in the European Union. Having a disability very often leads to discrimination, social exclusion and poverty.
The Madrid Declaration proposes a general vision, in which disabled people are not objects of charity and patients, but independent citizens fully integrated in society.