The European Union works towards the free movement of people, goods, services and capitals within its boundaries. It is the so-called ‘internal market”. In the past two years, the EU has also undertaken the task of making real the free movement of services.
An adequate internal market of services would allow persons with disabilities to benefit from quality services anywhere in the European Union, when travelling or living abroad. The EU should guarantee that these services are of quality throughout the EU; that they are not submitted to the same competition rules as commercial goods and services and that they remain accessible for all citizens.
The discussions on the EU Services Directive begun in 2004. The aim of the legislation was to ease the freedom of establishment for providers and the freedom of provision of services in the European Union. At this occasion, the European Disability Forum rallied together with other civil society organisations under the umbrella of the Social Platform, in order to reduce the scope of the directive and to make sure that the social and health services were not submitted to purely competition market rules.
The Services Directive was adopted in December 2006, taking into account the demands of the disability movement. Both healthcare services and social services were excluded from its scope.
EDF’s objectives currently focus on guaranteeing that the needs of people in situation of dependence are taken into account in the development and provision of quality services. Among other actions, the EDF contributes to the development of a new method of coordination among the 27 Member States, in view of the long-term reforms to their health services and long-term care.
The EDF was also involved in a campaign related to the specific needs of people in a situation of dependency and the need to provide them with good quality services, in order to facilitate their full participation in society. The campaign was undertaken together with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Fédération européenne des personnes retraitées et agées (FERPA), the Confédération européenne des organisations familiales de la Communauté européenne (COFACE) and the European trans-rgional Network for Social Inclusion (RETIS).
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