Let’s aim for an ambitious European Disability Rights Agenda 2021-30

Last Friday the EC published its roadmap on the post-2020 European Disability Strategy, to be adopted in the 1st quarter 2021. EDF advocates for a comprehensive Strategy covering all aspects of the lives of persons with disabilities. All areas contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) should be part of the Strategy. We welcome the current areas listed in the roadmap. In our views, the current adopted approach offers opportunities to meaningfully deliver to citizens with disabilities – if clear and ambitious objectives are adopted in each sector.

Now it’s time to discuss the detailed content and related implementation means, since internal discussions which will shape the next Strategy are taking place within the Commission. EDF wants to emphasise the following crosscutting aspects, which will support tangible delivery of the Agenda in the next 10 years:

  • Ensure full participation of persons with disabilities, including women, girls and boys with disabilities, through their representative organisations
  • Ensure that the 2015 Concluding Observations of the CRPD Committee are taken into account in all aspects of the EU’s policies and programmes
  • Improve the data collected by Eurostat, especially disaggregating by impairments, socio-economic characteristics such as age and gender, and about persons with disabilities living in institutions
  • Take an intersectional approach recognising the multiple and intersectional discrimination on basis of sex, age, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender  identify and how they combine with disability to create specific and compounded barriers for these groups among the wider population with disabilities
  • Clearly spell out how the multiple discrimination and those based on intersectional grounds faced by persons with disabilities negatively impact their lives
  • Raise awareness about the CRPD
  • Establish coordination mechanisms to ensure a swift implementation of the Strategy and especially:
    • Create a CRPD unit (focal point) in DG for Justice and Consumers, under the direct supervision of the Commissioner for Equality, consistent with how other equality issues such as gender equality are handled.
    • Place Disability Focal Points -who are in charge of mainstreaming disability rights in all relevant EU policies and legislations- in each EU institution, agency and body and all external EU delegations. Focal points should also be assigned to all Commission DGs.
    • Strengthen the technical capacity of all Disability Focal Points
    • Replace the current High-Level Group on Disability with a “Disability Rights Committee”
    • Set up an interinstitutional coordination mechanism between the Commission, Parliament and Council
  • Give the EU CRPD monitoring framework an independent budget and secretariat, as well as independence from EU institutions, in line with the UN Paris principles.
  • Strategy monitoring and evaluation processes including:
    • Annually publish a progress report presented to the Commission’s Secretariat general
    • Conduct a scientifically supported mid-term review and independent final evaluation
  • Funding: the Multi-Annual Framework (MFF) should include the perspectives of persons with disabilities throughout the financial framework and more specifically in various EU funding and budgetary guarantee instruments

For more detailed content relating to specific areas and sectors: