EDF Strategic Framework 2017 - 2021

During our Annual General Assembly in 2017, we adopted our Strategic Framework for 2017-2021.

This document provides an overview of important legislations and events during this 4 year period and sets our political goals and priorities

Below you can find a overview of our strategy: vision and mission, internatinal context, and our main policy goals and priorities. For the full strategy, please download the full strategic framework document above.

Vision and Mission of the European Disability Forum


Our vision is that persons with disabilities in Europe are fully included in society on an equal basis with others and that our human rights, as outlined in the CRPD, are fully respected, protected and fulfilled. The principles of the CRPD are central to this vision, and they inform our advocacy objectives and our way of working.


Our mission is to ensure persons with disabilities’ full inclusion in society and access to our human rights through our active involvement in policy development, implementation and monitoring of the CRPD in Europe.

We are convinced that the EU can play a key role in promoting human rights in the European region and globally.

We are convinced that acting collectively, EDF, and its members and partners can fight together for a strong social and human rights-based Europe, where democratic, active civil participation is continuously practiced and improved. The European Union institutions themselves, and the European Disability Forum, should embody the human rights principles of participation, non-discrimination and ownership in the way that they work.

We are committed to a strong and inclusive European Union, where the right to live, travel, work, study, vote or be elected is guaranteed to all citizens in the Union, and where women, men and children with disabilities enjoy these rights on an equal basis with others.

We are committed to practising diversity and ensuring within its own work that no one is left behind.

We are committed to ensuring that the voices of the most marginalised persons with disabilities are heard and are central to our work; women and children with disabilities, persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, persons with disabilities requiring more intensive support and refugees with disabilities.

We are committed to strengthening our collaboration with all relevant industry players, in order to promote Universal Design.

Outlook 2017-2021

Many relevant legislation and events will take place in the next 4 years. Of special relevance to us:

  • The European Parliament elections will take place in May 2019; This will be followed by the selection of new European Commission’s President and Commissioners.

  • The final stages of implementation of the current European Disability Strategy (2010-2020) take place and make way for a new Disability Strategy to be launched in 2021

  • The next report of the EU to the CRPD committee in **2021 **and the implementation of the 2015 recommendations from the CRPD Committee to the EU

  • The next EU programming period (long term budget) will be launched: 2021-2027

  • The EU will mark 10 years of the CRPD coming into force in 2021 (and EDF is proposing a 2nd European Year of Persons with Disabilities)

  • Relevant frameworks will be implemented: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, European Disability Strategy, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (an agenda which promises to ‘leave no-one behind).; Council of Europe’s disability strategy 2017-2023; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

  • Important legislation and initiatives will be adopted: The European Pillar of Social Rights; the European Accessibility Act; Audiovisual Media Services Directive and Telecoms package revisions; revision of the Rail Passengers’ Rights Regulation

  • Important legislation and initiatives need to be monitored and implemented: European standards relevant for persons with disabilities such had “accessibility for ICT” an “Design for All”; Web Accessibility Directive,; the Regulation on rail accessibility (TSI-PRM); the European Structural and Investment Funds regulations; the Public Procurement Directive; the Employment Equality Directive.

Policy goals and priorities

Our overarching goal

To create a new framework for the rights of persons with disabilities in the EU.

We aim for a comprehensive disability rights strategy 2021-2030, which will be implemented via an inter-institutional agreement at the EU level.

The new comprehensive disability rights strategy 2020 -2030 should be aligned to the implementation of the CRPD, and its time period should coincide with the endpoint of the Global Sustainable Development Agenda. It should be mainstreamed in the EU budget 2021-2027. In order to raise awareness about this strategy, 2021 should be named as the Second European Year for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Policy Priorities

Human rights:

Ensuring full implementation of the UN Convetion on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the EU level and that the EU monitors its application in all its laws, policies, programmes and funding. This includes but is not limited to the following issues and areas of work: gender equality and women’s rights; rights of children and youth; rights of older people; intersectional discrimination and refugees with disabilities; persons denied their legal capacity and those living in institutions, and the adoption of a horizontal equal treatment legislation at the EU level

Social and employment policy:

European social policies, European Structural and Investment Funds, de-institutionalisation/ independent living

Accessibility and freedom of movement:

Adoption and implementation of the European Accessibility Act and the revised Audio Visual Media Services Directive and Telecommunication regulations; implementation and monitoring of the Web Directive; adoption, revision, and implementation of relevant pieces of transport and passengers’ rights legislation; adoption and implementation of other relevant transport initiatives; adoption and implementation of relevant pieces of ICT legislation under the Digital Single Market strategy; the European Disability Card projects; implementation of the mandatory accessibility criterion in the Public Procurement Directive; the European Structural and Investment Funds regulations; and, the adoption of the horizontal Equal Treatment Directive

Emerging technology:

Monitor the accessibility of emerging technologies and monitor and influence upcoming policy and standards developments in this field, promoting accessibility following a Universal Design approach.

International cooperation:

Ensuring inclusive follow-up on international commitments- the Sustainable Development Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Charter for Inclusive Humanitarian Action

Political participation:

Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in the European Parliament elections and new European Commission

EU Budgets and frameworks:

The EU budget 2021-2027, and the post-Horizon 2020 Research and Development framework

Education and Health:

Access to inclusive education and to accessible, affordable and quality healthcare continues to be denied to persons with disabilities in Europe. The EU does not have strong competencies to act in these fields. EDF will collaborate with expert networks in these fields to enhance their work, in partnership with the disability movement.


Our strategic framework has 4 main objectives

1. Influencing the EU

The European Union, including its key institutions, establishes a comprehensive process for ensuring the CRPD is fully promoted, implemented and monitored. Accessibility and social inclusion are promoted through all relevant existing and upcoming EU legislation and the EU takes all measures possible to reduce poverty and social exclusion of persons with disabilities in Europe

2. Strengthening the Disability Movement in Europe

There is a strong, sustainable and diverse disability movement with the capacity to effectively influence the EU and EU Member States.

3. External communication and awareness raising

Ensure that policy makers and influencers, the public, including persons with disabilities across Europe, are aware of the situation of persons with disabilities in Europe, and the work of the Disability Movement.

4. International cooperation

Ensure that EDF uses it leverage to promote inclusive rights based international cooperation, influencing the EUs external policies and programmes as well as finding opportunities to collaborate with and support the Disability Movement globally


During the last 20 years we campaigned very successfully for EU laws, policies and regulations inclusive of persons with disabilities. Successes of the past are not guaranteed for the future. It is clear that the political will within the EU for truly joint EU initiatives is presently low, and not due to increase in this period. Furthermore, forces challenging the values on which the EU was built are increasing their leverage and influence over the EU.

We need to work, not only to promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the EU level, but to work with all like minded partners to promote a diverse, inclusive and human rights–based, Europe.

We need to be a strong partner on human rights and social rights in Europe and need to build bridges with actors at the EU level to achieve this. It will also be important to work simultaneously at the EU and with our members at the national level on European issues.

The voice of the disability movement will be strong if it is truly diverse, and interconnected, and if our main partners and strong EU stakeholders are also promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

This strategy is a basis for our work in the future. The implementation will be overseen by the EDF Executive Committee and Board who will ensure that where needed EDF can engage in new or emerging issues and continuously work to improve our ways of working.

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