The European Parliament Disability Intergroup welcomes the publication of the European Disability Rights Strategypresented by the European Commission last Wednesday. Despite the Strategy does not meet the ambition of the European Parliament resolution on the post-2020 disability strategy, the Disability Intergroup considers the plan put forward by the Commission as a positive step in the right direction.
The members of the Disability Intergroup are ready to fulfil and exceed the objectives of the Strategy, and call the Commission, and particularly the Member States to prove a strong political will to improve the lives of persons with disabilities across the EU, and fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Disability Intergroup particularly welcomes the Commission proposals with regards to strengthening the governance and implementation of the Strategy with new mechanisms such as the Disability Platform, and the appointment of “disability coordinators”. Nevertheless, the Intergroup calls again on the need of appointing a CRPD focal point in all EU institutions, including in the European Parliament and in the Council.
The Members of the European Parliament in the Disability Intergroup are extremely satisfied with the proposal for an EU-wide Disability Card, a long-demanded action by the Intergroup. Additional positive measures under the new Strategy include: the framework for social services of excellence for persons with disabilities, guidance for Member States on supporting deinstitutionalisation and independent living, and the involvement of disability organisations in the implementation and monitoring of the Strategy.
However, the Strategy misses a stronger focus on supporting carers, as well as personal assistance to persons with disabilities. Besides, even though in the Strategy the Commission calls again on Member States to unblock the proposal for an Equal Treatment Directive, the Disability Intergroup demands further proposals to tackle discrimination in all areas of life as soon as possible.
The intersectional and holistic approach of the Strategy should also be enhanced when implementing the actions, such as for example those related to healthcare or with the sexual and reproductive rights. This intersectional approach has become more necessary than ever due to the extremely difficult situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Disability Intergroup appreciates the different actions to guarantee political participation of persons with disabilities, but also recall the urgent need to amend the EU Electoral Law to ensure full voting rights and accessible elections to all persons with disabilities. In this sense, the Intergroup welcomes the acknowledgment of the Commission to make sure that the Conference on the Future of Europe should be inclusive to persons with disabilities too.
It is also positive that the Strategy mentions the impact of climate change to persons with disabilities, but more actions would be needed by the Commission, for example when it comes to the Common European Asylum System. In the same vein, as for promoting the rights of persons with disabilities globally, the Disability Intergroup believes that successful projects, such as Bridging the Gap, should be further promoted.
Alejandro Moledo – Policy Coordinator