European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

21 Sep 2011
Adopted References: SOC/403 EESC-2011-1382 Referral - Rapporteur: Vardakastanis (Various interests - GR III / Greece) Plenary Session: 474 - 21 Sep 2011 - 22 Sep 2011 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 376, 22.12.2011, p. 81–86
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe

EESC opinion: European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (EDS) as an active policy instrument to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
  • The EESC proposes linking the implementation of the EDS to that of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Member States should include specific targets for persons with disabilities in their National Reform Programmes to measure poverty, employment rates and education.
  • The EESC welcomes the European Commission’s initiative for an antidiscrimination directive which extends the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities beyond the field of employment.
  • The EESC stresses the added value of consulting and actively involving disabled people's organisations when developing and implementing disability legislation and policies. The social partners can also play an important role and should further integrate disability considerations in their negotiations.
  • The EESC believes that a barrier-free Europe must be achieved by adopting a European Accessibility Act to ensure persons with disabilities of their rights to freedom of movement and access to goods, services and the built environment. To this end a European Mobility Card would be a concrete and effective tool.
  • The EESC welcomes the EDS proposal to ensure full accessibility of public sector websites and websites providing basic services to the public by 2015.
  • The EESC calls for human dignity and equality to be respected when designing EU policies.
  • The EESC recommends developing disability indicators to collect consistent data in all areas of a person’s life and to monitor the number of citizens with disabilities.
  • The EESC believes that a European Disability Committee is needed to provide structured governance for the EDS. The EESC will also constantly evaluate and assess the implementation.
  • The EESC denounces the negative impact of the financial crisis on the lives of people with disabilities and their ability to access their rights. It urges support for persons with disabilities in times of crisis and warns against any cuts in social expenditure due to austerity measures.
  • The EESC affirms that everyone, including persons with psychosocial disabilities, persons in need of more intensive support, children and women with disabilities should fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with others. It recognises and promotes the right to live independently and urges the need to support the transition from institutional to community-based care.