MEP Adam Kosa , who is also the President of the European Parliament Disability Intergroup, opened the event together with the Vice-President of the Intergroup, MEP Richard Howitt.
"In the next term of the European Commission we need a fully-fledged
directorate on disability issues and we hope that we will achieve that. It is
time to bring a real change to the lives of persons with disabilities”, said MEP Adam Kosa.
"We have not protected persons with disabilities during the crisis and this is a deep shame for our countries and for Europe. We are disappointed that the European Commission has not published the proposal for European Accessibility Act but it is not too late!”, said MEP Richard Howitt underlining that “the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is also in our project for the next 5 years."
EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis , presented the manifesto expressing the expectations of the disability movement: “Progress had been made on legislative level but due to the crisis, the real situation of persons with disabilities has got worse. We need the loud support of the European Parliament and of all candidates MEPs during the election campaign to promote a drastic change of policy whereby public finances consolidation is not at the expense of fundamental rights and social cohesion in the EU and do not to create more exclusion for those who are already excluded. We want persons with disabilities to participate fully in the democratic process and be able to enjoy their right to vote."
The President of the Socialists & Democrats Group, MEP Hannes Swoboda committed to push the European Commission about the European Accessibility Act: "I will propose to my colleagues, the other Presidents of the European Parliament’s political Groups, to write a letter to the European Commission to push for the proposal for a European Accessibility Act to be published now. This is my promise.”
MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis underlined the importance of the inclusion of 80 million Europeans with disabilities, who represent 16% of the EU population: "Persons with disabilities are an electorate that cannot be ignored."