As full citizens, people with disabilities have equal rights and are entitled to dignity, equal treatment, independent living and full participation in society. Enabling people with disabilities to enjoy these rights is the main purpose of the EU's long-term strategy for their active inclusion.
The EU promotes the active inclusion and full participation of disabled people in society, in line with the EU human rights approach to disability issues. In 2010, the European Commission adopted the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and in 2007, the EU signed the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
People with disabilities represent around one-sixth of the EU's overall working-age population, but their employment rate is comparatively low. Yet with a little more help, millions of disabled Europeans could enter or re-enter the job market. Equal access to quality education and lifelong learning enables disabled people to participate fully in society and improve their quality of life.
The EESC has set up a permanent study group on disability rights, composed of 12 members from various EESC sections covering different policy areas and representing employers, workers and various interests. The goals of this group are:
- to provide a forum for the civil society perspective, particularly for disabled persons’ organisations;
- to assess and gather reactions on progress in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).