One of the top priorities of the disability movement, called for for many years, the European Disability Card will enable people with disabilities to exercise their fundamental right to freedom of movement in the EU on the same footing as people without disabilities.
Persistent health inequalities are a huge factor behind the twofold higher mortality rate of people with disabilities, who on average die 10 to 20 years earlier than people without a disability. At the top of the list of barriers creating such inequalities are exorbitant treatment costs, inaccessible transport and health facilities, and stigma – but also a healthcare workforce that lacks proper training on disability issues.
Many people take it for granted that they can move around freely and travel spontaneously by using public transport. But for people with reduced mobility, this is often not possible, due to a lack of accessibility arrangements. To discuss these matters, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has held a public hearing
An EESC hearing points to the need to increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities, especially young people. Despite legal efforts, data shows that many of them are still facing discrimination in the world of work due to stereotypes portraying them as unproductive.
The EU and Member States must do more to promote the legal capacity of all persons with disabilities (PWD) to guarantee their fundamental rights. Governments must support autonomous decision-making and reject the regressive protocol to the Oviedo Convention
Ending the segregation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and enabling them to live full, independent lives within the community requires political will and substantial investment in social and community-based services. Above all, huge support is needed for their families who – forgotten by public policies - carry too great a burden on their own
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hails the new EU Disability Rights Strategy as a step forward in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Strategy has taken on board many of the suggestions proposed by the EESC, the European disability movement and civil society. The proposals include full harmonisation of the new agenda and strengthened EU-level supervision of its application. The EESC is, however, concerned about the watering down of the binding measures and hard law implementing the Strategy.
Rooted in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was the first international treaty to take a human rights approach to disability, the EU Disability Strategy for the next decade is a promising document with many commendable proposals and only a few flaws. But for the strategy to be able to live up to its promise of ending discrimination against 87 million European with disabilities, its implementation will require a strong political will and resources.
Faced with many barriers and less able to maintain social and physical distance, persons with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and falling severely ill as a result of the disease. However, in the EU they have not been explicitly included in priority groups for vaccination
Top proposals include full harmonisation of the new agenda with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and strengthened EU-level supervision of its application so as to ensure freedom from discrimination for people with disabilities and their acceptance as part of human diversity and humanity throughout the EU.