European Economic Strategy fails to include European citizens with disabilities

23 February 2015

At EDF's Board meeting in Latvia this weekend, members took part in a general discussion on Europe 2020 and the European Semester process. New evidence came to light of the negative impact that this agenda has on persons with disabilities across the EU.

The measures being taken by governments as a result of EU recommendations are undermining social inclusion. EDF members from countries such as Finland, Denmark and Belgium gave examples of processes at country level which are neither transparent, nor inclusive.

Persons with disabilities are at higher risk of poverty and social exclusion, and higher risk of unemployment than people without disabilities.

Adequate standards of living and social protections are fundamental rights which are hindered by national reforms and recovery measures taken to pursuit economic growth by the EU. Economic growth should be inclusive and not leave 16% of the EU population behind.

Controversial consequences of the Country Specific Recommendations on persons with disabilities, lack of transparency and lack of involvement in the development of the National Reform Programmes, by the national authorities, are common problems experienced across the EU.

Currently reform processes are exacerbating inequalities in Europe. Right now women, young people, persons with disabilities, and older people are disproportionately affected by these reforms and being driven into poverty. We call on the European Commission and European Council to require and ensure involvement of civil society, including organisations of persons with disabilities in the semester process at national level. We call for truly inclusive growth, and truly inclusive economic recovery. We call for the inclusion of social equality indicators in the semester process.

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