As every year the Bureau of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament met on 29th of January to discuss the progress on the work programme of 2020, and the priorities for this year.
The meeting was chaired by MEP Radka Maxová and included members of the EDF executive committee and EDF secretariat.
One of the main topics was the effects of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the EDF representatives agreed to focus of monitoring the recovery plans, the vaccination roll-out and access to healthcare. Additionally, the Disability Intergroup reiterated its support to an in-depth investigation to be carried out by the Parliament on the impact of COVID 19 on people living in residential institutions.
As for the Disability Rights Strategy, the Disability Intergroup bureau decided to organise a public event with all its members, the Commission, and the Portuguese Presidency, once the Commission releases the new Strategy, which we expect in February.
Besides, the Disability Intergroup bureau proposed to write to all political group presidents in the Parliament calling for the establishment of a standing Disability Rights Committee in the Parliament, that could mainstream the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the work of the Parliament. This new Committee would serve as CRPD focal point.
Finally, all the participants exchange their views on which priorities, in addition to the ones mentioned above, could guide the work of the Disability Intergroup in 2021, namely:
- Stronger gender perspective, including the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
- EU Pillar of Social Rights.
- EU Health package.
- Right to vote, and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Conference on the Future of Europe.
- Children with disabilities and the child guarantee
- Green Deal and Digitalisation
Despite the difficulties of last year, all participants agreed that the Disability Intergroup was crucial in advocating for, among others, the upcoming Disability Rights Strategy, in the adoption of an EU budget with a strong social dimension, and supporting the involvement of national disability organisations, in accessibility and passengers’ rights, and in promoting the voice of the disability movement in the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MEPs and EDF will remain in fluent contact during 2021 to keep on advancing on the rights of persons with disabilities in the EU.
Alejandro Moledo, Policy Coordinator