The Future of Europe for persons with Disabilities

The Future of Europe for persons with Disabilities

Every year, on December 3rd, we celebrate the European Day of Persons with Disabilities and reflect on the achievements and ongoing progress on Disability Rights. But this celebration also allows us to think of how much there is still to accomplish to create a fully inclusive society where persons with disabilities can enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This is the inclusive future the European Parliament Disability Intergroup wants for persons with disabilities, and this is the future many citizens are calling for in the Conference on the Future of Europe, an unprecedented democratic exercise to which every European is invited to participate.

However, the Disability Intergroup regrets to notice that the Conference on the Future of Europe is still not accessible to persons with disabilities six months after the launch of the Conference.

At only a few months before the end of the initiative, the Disability Intergroup would like the remind the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe of the following points:

  • The multilingual platform is the primary democratic tool from which citizens can engage in Conference activities. Therefore, it must urgently fix its accessibility problems.
  • Events of the Conference on the Future of Europe, such as plenary meetings and Citizens’ Panels, must also be accessible to persons with disabilities so they can follow the discussions on equal footing with other citizens.

The European Parliament Disability Intergroup recalls that accessibility is a precondition for persons with disabilities to be able to participate in the Conference. Therefore, the multilingual platform and the Conference’s main live-streamed meetings must live up to the same accessibility requirements as any other public sector website as required by the 2016 Web Accessibility Directive.

Members of the Disability Intergroup active in the Conference on the Future of Europe will continue raising this issue and supporting citizens’ ideas aiming at advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. But these will only succeed if they count with the participation of persons with disabilities themselves, following the motto of the disability movement: nothing about persons with disabilities, without persons with disabilities.

On this European Day of Persons with Disabilities, some members of the Disability Intergroup would like to share how they envisage the future of Europe for persons with disabilities:
All disabled persons live in a reality where they do not need to ask for accessibility because all the people would have been integrated into the society. – MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos
All persons with disabilities have the right to have personal and individualized assistance. – MEP Tilly Metz
Free movement across the European Union is a reality also for people with disabilities, who can access cross-border health rights and any other right. All persons with disabilities are free to decide for their independent lives and therefore to the assistance they need and want.” – MEP Brando Benifei
For the Future of Europe for persons with disabilities, and as Bethany Hamilton once said: we don’t need easy, we just need possible. – MEP Ádám Kósa
A European Union where 46 % of women and girls with disabilities have experienced violence is not the Union I wish to see in the future. We have a long way to go for equality and we must pick up the pace, by listing to every voice and translating words into actions. – MEP Sylwia Spurek
An inclusive future is one hearing all EU citizens, including people living with disabilities, empowering, and enabling everyone to be an active member of the European society and having access to fair opportunities! – MEP Dragos- Pislaru
Our society can only be truly digital if everyone, including people with disabilities, has in the future a complete access. –  MEP Radka Maxova
Persons with disabilities should no longer be treated as second-class citizens. All member states must implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in order to ensure that everyone will have a quality life with dignity, without any discrimination, inequality, and pain. The EU should be a real welfare state with supporting care structures and public quality health services for people with disabilities while promoting at the same time their integration into society. – MEP Georgios Georgiou