EU Disability Card should be expanded to all Member States

6 February 2019
Disability Cards in credit card format with picture of card holder, copyright European Commission

The EU Disability Card is a promising practice that should be expanded to all EU Member States.

These are the main conclusions of the EDF report on the European Disability Card.The report also analysed the main benefits and drawbacks of the Card and summarised its usage in each participating Member State.

The report analysed the benefits of the Card for all stakeholders. Users reported benefits such as easier identification of invisible disabilities and easier communication especially abroad to claim your rights, among others. But there are also benefits to providers, national authorities and EU institutions, such as increased number of users in services and • Improved coordination and dialogue between different government agencies. However challenges remain, such as lack of sources of funding (if Commission funding stops) and confusing information about how to apply for the Card in some Member States.

Currently, the participating Member States are Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia. Some of the participating Member States already had an established Card system for persons with disabilities residing in their territory, others such as Finland were starting from a blank canvas without a pre-existing Card. Due to the national differences, each Member States decided independently who will become eligible as a Card holder. They also decided each what kind of advantages will be connected to this Card. The European Commission only indicated only that Culture, Leisure, Sport, and Transport could be included.

Not every pilot project was identical, e.g. Estonia’s project was limited to the mapping of potential partners and discounts and establishing a database with this information but not issuing the actual Card. Other Member States, such as Finland or Belgium are already issuing the Card to persons with disabilities. To get a more precise overview we will in the following section present the state of play by Member State.

The report includes EDF recommendations for a possible next phase, such as the creation of a permanent network for exchange of good practices and experience between the Member States, inclusion of European Parliament Members in the promotion of the Disability Card and adding more services under the card.

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