EESC opinion: Young persons with disabilities

28 Mar 2012
Adopted References: CESE 826/2012 - SOC/439 Exploratory Opinion Rapporteur: Vardakastanis (Various interests - GR III / Greece) Plenary Session: 479 - 28 Mar 2012 - 29 Mar 2012 (Summary Plenary Session) C 181/2, 21.06.2012

Young persons with disabilities: employment, inclusion and participation in society

Key points

  • The EESC recommends that the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, (UNCRPD) be implemented to enable persons with disabilities including young persons to exercise their fundamental rights to the full.
  • The EESC calls for accessible and inclusive education for persons with disabilities pursuant to article 24 of the UNCRPD and believes that young persons with disabilities should be able to access primary, secondary and tertiary education on an equal basis with others.
  • The EESC considers that the arts, sports and leisure play a key role in the development of skills and the inclusion of young persons with disabilities and should thus be fully accessible.
  • The EESC calls on the Member States and the European institutions to promote best practices and positive actions for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in education and employment. These should include investment in social entrepreneurship and SMEs and financial incentives for employers to recruit young persons with a disability.
  • The EESC calls for accessibility and reasonable accommodation in order to get young persons with disabilities into jobs and believes in the key role of the social partners in promoting the employment of young persons with disabilities by including accessibility and reasonable accommodation in their negotiations.
  • The EESC recommends using Structural Funds to promote the inclusion of young persons with disabilities.
  • The EESC calls upon the Member States to implement the Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation and urges that the directive be interpreted in the light of the UNCRPD.
  • The EESC recalls that the economic crisis and austerity measures should not hamper the rights of young persons with disabilities and calls upon the Member States to take positive measures to protect such individuals.
  • The EESC welcomes the European Commission’s commitment to develop a European Accessibility Act and recommends that this legislation be robust and ensure full accessibility to goods, services and the built environment in the EU.
  • The EESC calls for the effective application of the Regulation concerning the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport in the European Union. The Committee calls upon the Member States to enforce the regulation and adopt additional measures to ensure the freedom of movement of young persons with disabilities.
  • Finally, the EESC considers it crucial to mainstream the needs of young persons with disabilities in all EU youth policies and programmes and calls for positive actions to raise awareness about their needs.