EDF calls on the EU to meet the new challenges of the next period for citizens with disabilities

9 November 2014
EDF banner saying "Nothing about us without us" at the entrance of the meeting room

This weekend, EDF Board meeting gathered together representatives from organisations of persons with disabilities around Europe. The meeting opened by EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, followed by the Head of Unit on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the European Commission, Maria Luisa Cabral. EDF has adopted measures in order to prepare the disability movement to fully participate in the new political period opened in the European Union after the European elections and the renewed European Commission.

In his opening speech, EDF President highlighted that this is a very crucial period. “The disability movement will be soon in front of important political issues for which it has worked hard during the past decade, like the European Accessibility Act, the non-discrimination directive, the report of the European Union to the UN Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the review of Europe 2020 and the European Disability Strategy”, said Yannis Vardakastanis underlining the responsibility of the new European Parliament and the new Commission towards their 80 million citizens with disabilities. “ 2015 will be a very key political year, it is a year when new actors will come in the disability scene and we need to try once again to be successful in making the rights of persons with disabilities a long lasting political priority”, he concluded.

From her side, the new Head of Unit on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the Commission, talked about the importance of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) by the EU that will present next year its first report to the UN Committee explaining the work it has done on this. Maria Luisa Cabral also said that the European Accessibility Act will be a top priority for the new Commission, while she also mentioned that the Commission will deliver a reviewed Disability Strategy by the end of 2015.

Furthermore, during the meeting EDF adopted its 2015 political agenda emphasizing the need to continue working on the capacity of the movement and to fully implement the UN CRPD in all areas of EU policy making. In this regard, EDF will submit to the UN CRPD Committee its alternative report to the report that the EU has prepared covering areas and actions that are left out of it.


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