New disability agenda agreed by the European Parliament

7 July 2016

Huge majority of Members of the European Parliament adopt resolution to apply UN’s human rights recommendations

Last year, the European Union (EU) was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on its work to protect and promote the rights of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. Followed that review, the UN Committee issued a list of recommendations (‘Concluding Observations)' to the EU which should report back on in four years. The European Parliament has formally reacted to the UN’s recommendations and made a report on this. Drafted by the Member of European Parliament, Helga Stevens, the report outlines the European Parliament’s views on what the EU needs to do better to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Today, during the European Parliament’s plenary debate in Strasbourg, Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the report calling on the European Commission and the EU Council to fully implement the UN’s recommendations . The resolution is far reaching and comprehensive and includes that:

  • the EU should lead the way as far as respect and promotion of human rights are concerned;
  • all EU laws, policies and programmes must be compliant with the CRPD;
  • the EU must consider the impact of the EU economic policy on the situation of persons with disabilities more closely and should create a social protection floor, as recommended by the CRPD Committee;
  • to guarantee freedom of movement across the EU persons with disabilities should be allowed to freely move to live, work and study in the EU- and this should be supported by EU programmes.

EDF welcomes the adoption of this resolution and praises the fact that persons with disabilities through their representative organisations were actively involved throughout the whole process of the European Parliament’s report . This was a very good application of Article 4.3 of the CRPD foreseeing that persons with disabilities through their representative organisations should be closely consulted and actively involved in the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the CRPD . Accessible hearings for consultation with organisations of persons with disabilities were organised allowing persons with disabilities to participate and share their views.

“We congratulate the rapporteur MEP Helga Stevens for drafting the report in such a participatory way and the European Parliament for adopting this resolution with a huge majority. The role of the European Parliament in the implementation of the CRPD and the UN’s recommendations to the EU is fundamental. The last years have been difficult for persons with disabilities in Europe, with austerity, unemployment and poverty increasing for women and men with disabilities. This report describes the pathway by which the European Institutions can act to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities will be protected. We are looking forward to continuing our cooperation with the European Parliament so that we can make the recommendations of this report a reality”, underlined EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis.

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Media release of the European Parliament’s Disability Intergroup

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