EDF Executive Committee meeting: “our strength is our members"

19 September 2016
EDF Executive Committee photo

EDF Executive Committee met in Slovenia on 16 and 17 of September, hosted by our Slovenian members, the National Council of Disability Organisations in Slovenia ( NSIOS) . This meeting gave us an opportunity to discuss the most pressing matters for the disability movement in Europe today and to hear about the specific priorities of our Slovenian members.

EDF has had a long standing cooperation with the disability movement in Slovenia, which predates the accession of Slovenia to the EU in 2004. Since 2001, the Slovenian disability movement has worked together with EDF to promote the adoption of EU legislation to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and to promote its implementation to Slovenian law. Priorities for the movement in Slovenia now include the transposition of the recently adopted Directive on Public Sector websites, which will oblige governments all across Europe to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities. The European Accessibility Act is also eagerly awaited in Slovenia, since it will radically increase the availability of accessible products and services for persons with disabilities in the EU. on The European Structural Funds are also a priority for Slovenia; our Slovenian members will have a training on this facilitated by EDF.

Mr. Cveto Ursic, representing the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities in Slovenia also took part in an exchange of views with the EDF Executive Committee. He outlined the commitment of the Slovenian government to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and to pan-European collaboration to make the CRPD a reality at the European and the national level.

Major challenges are faced by the disability movement at the national and the European level. It was felt that while the CRPD presents our governments with a far reaching disability rights framework, progress on implementation has been slow. In particular, it will be important for EDF and its members to present a clear vision of how the CRPD can be implemented comprehensively at the European level, and to ensure that the EU’s upcoming work in the field of social policy, including the proposed ‘European Pillar of Social Rights (Social Pillar)’ becomes a vehicle for ensuring that the obligations under the CRPD are implemented.

EDF President Yannis Vardakastanis warmly thanked NSIOS for hosting the EDF Executive Committee and for its frank and open discussion on the situation in Europe and its cooperation with EDF:

“EDF has over 100 members across Europe and it exists because of and for its members. Right now we are planning how to use the opportunity of EDF’s 20th anniversary next year to strengthen our political voice at the European level and our cooperation across Europe with all of our members. In 2017, EDF will celebrate the important gains that have been made in the past 20 years, but will also focus on an ambitious disability rights agenda in Europe for the coming years. We look forward to continued collaboration with NSIOS to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in Europe”.

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