Interview to Pietro Vittorio Barbieri, EESC Member, President of the Thematic study group on disability rights

Disability and Covid-19
People with disabilities in every EU Member State, not only in Italy but everywhere, have felt literally abandoned. Unfortunately, we are seeing an erosion of the rights for which we fought and which we thought we had won, in work, in school, in the care and health sector. Instead, we find ourselves having to fight all over again not to be excluded. We are having to take a proactive approach to avoid this happening.

What is the EESC’s role?
First of all, the EESC is speaking out about this issue, which is not happening anywhere else, and which is of vital importance.
The EESC is the first organisation working to support the closure of institutions for people with disabilities, to promote a different model. This should be a matter of housing policy, not of social policy. They should be reintegrated into society, they should have homes and normal lives.
When we think about remodelling our cities, we need to create accessible spaces, physically and economically, for people at risk of, or living in, poverty.