On Friday, the 8 November, representatives of the European Disability Forum and of the Finnish Disability Forum met with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne. Finland currently holds the Presidency of the European Union.
We stressed the importance to achieve equal rights for persons with disabilities, 100 million persons with disabilities in the EU, and briefed the Prime Minister on the priorities of the disability movement, including:
- Achieving full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in particular ensuring that the Council itself established s focal point for the CRPD
- Ensuring a strong European Disability Rights Agenda post 2020.
- The importance of Finland as a leader of disability inclusive development, humanitarian action and international cooperation and the potential for promoting a strong disability inclusive international cooperation approach at EU level
- The importance of an ambitious application of accessibility laws, including transposition of the European Accessibility Act and implementation of the Web Accessibility Directive.
- The importance of implementation of the EU Pillar of Social Rights and removing all barriers to employment for persons with disabilities, including through the use of EU funds- the next EU budget should be used to invest in an inclusive accessible Europe
Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum stated
Finland is seen as a world leader in many areas concerning social issues. We hope to see disability inclusion added to that list in the near future.
Sari Kokko, President of the Finnish Disability Forum added:
It is vital that we improve the employment and raise the education level of people with disabilities. We need to have access to real jobs, wage-paying jobs that match our skills, training and professionalism.