EDF welcomes the re-establishment of the European Parliament Disability Intergroup

12 December 2014

EDF welcomes the decision of the Conference of Presidents to re-establish the Disability intergroup for another legislature. Alive since 1979, the Disability Intergroup is one of the oldest and largest intergroups in the European Parliament with consistent cross-party support of around 100 Members. It is the only body which focuses on disability and allows for a regular dialogue with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

Since its creation, EDF and its members have worked closely with the Disability Intergroup MEPs to advocate for a Europe free from discrimination, where 80 million citizens with disabilities can enjoy equal rights and opportunities and can bring a meaningful contribution to a better society.

“The Disability Intergroup plays an important role in pushing the European Parliament but also the other EU institutions into designing laws and policies inclusive for persons with disabilities. Without the Disability Intergroup, we wouldn’t have important legislative initiatives to improve the lives of citizens with disabilities. On behalf of the whole European Disability movement, I want to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Members of the European Parliament who have campaigned for the re-establishment of the intergroup and in particular those who have succeeded in convincing their political groups to make the disability intergroup a priority”, underlines EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis.

Three political groups voted to include the Disability Intergroup among their priorities making its re-establishment possible: EPP Group, S&D Group and GUE/NGL Group.

EDF looks forward to working with the new Disability Intergroup as there are still big challenges ahead.


2015 will be a crucial year with the revision of the Europe 2020 strategy and of the European Disability Strategy, with the dialogue between the EU and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the progress made on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). It will also be the year that the European Commission will –hopefully- launch its proposal for the European Accessibility Act and the conclusion of the EU antidiscrimination directive, which we have been waiting for so long.

The Disability intergroup is necessary because persons with disabilities continue to suffer from severe discriminations in all aspects of life and do not enjoy the same opportunities as other EU citizens. For instance, their unemployment rate is more than twice higher than that of persons without disabilities.

The Disability intergroup is necessary because the EU, as well as most Member States, is a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the first and only international treaty the EU has ever ratified in the field of human rights) and therefore the European Parliament too. The Parliament is bound to implement the Convention. The work of the Disability intergroup is a crucial lever to stimulate and enable the European Parliament to respect and implement the UN Convention.

The Disability intergroup is necessary because as a forum for discussion with civil society and in particular organisations of persons with disabilities, contributes to implementing a key article of the UN Convention: no decision on disability without persons with disabilities themselves (article 4.3).

EDF provides the secretariat of the intergroup.


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