The Bureau of the Disability Intergroup met on April 20th to set its upcoming priorities and discuss the 2022-2024 work programme.
The meeting was chaired by MEP Radka Maxová. The European Disability Forum (EDF) President, Yannis Vardakastanis, and EDF’s Executive Committee members were invited to give an update on EDF’s policy priorities and work on Ukraine.
One of the most discussed topics during the meeting was the impact of the war in Ukraine on adults and children with disabilities. By turns, EDF and Members of the Disability Intergroup presented their actions to support persons with disabilities in Ukraine and fleeing Ukraine. As for immediate actions, the Bureau of the Disability Intergroup discussed proposals such as sending a set of written questions to the Commission, sending letters to national governments to call on them to support refugees with disabilities, asking for a public hearing about persons with disabilities in EMPL or LIBE committees, and organising a public event inviting Ukrainian disability organisations to take the floor.
Concerning the key ongoing policy files on disability in the Parliament, the Disability Intergroup reflected on the highlights of 2021 and presented its proposed 2022-2024 Workplan for approval. The suggested areas of work focused on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Disability Strategy 2021-2030 and more broadly on Human Rights (youth, gender equality, education, intersectionality, protection, political participation), EU challenges (refugee policies, COVID-19, EU budget, Green and digital transitions), social policies, accessibility, and free movement, and raising awareness and collaboration.
MEPs also discussed how to give more visibility and increase the impact of Disability Intergroup actions and how to make sure the European Parliament lives up to its obligations as a public administration and as co-legislator. Recently, the Disability Intergroup sent a second letter to the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity to encourage them to work more on disability issues in the Parliament and to become a member. During its meeting with the President of the Parliament, Roberta Metsola, EDF representatives echoed the call from the Disability Intergroup to participate in the work of the EP High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity, and its call to establish a CRPD focal point in the Parliament that could mainstream the Convention in all the parliamentary work. During the meeting, suggestions were made for the CRPD Network to be transformed into a sub-committee with resources to carry out the work of a CRPD focal point.
Alejandro Moledo – Head of Policy