According to the EESC, the EU Disability Card should be voluntary and free of charge and its scope extended to provide access to services and benefits to people who are in another Member State on a temporary basis. The cards should be accompanied by the setting up of an EU, fully accessible website, with an easy-to-read version, available in all EU languages including sign languages, providing practical information for every country.
In this opinion, the EESC suggests several changes to the Commission's proposal, to make the text fully compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Namely, the Committee suggest that if the adoption of a legal measure against a vulnerable person clearly violates human rights and international law, a Member State should be obliged not recognise such a measure.
- believes that the non-mutual recognition of disability among EU Member States, by hindering the availability of support measures for persons with disabilities traveling to another member State, implies a denial of their freedom of movement.
- Recommends that the EU Disability Card is implemented by a Regulation, that PWDs and their organization are fully involved in each step leading to its implementation and monitoring, and that complementary measures are taken to ensure accessibility of transport, services and of the built environment and compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation
- Believes that the EU Disability Card and EU parking Card remain physically separate
This opinion draws attention to the needs of family members taking care of older, chronic ill or disabled relatives. Informal carers, as they are called, represented by a majority of women, work for free, and are more vulnerable to falling into poverty. The opinion calls for public policies in this field and a recognition of their important societal role.
The aim of this own - initiative opinion is to put forward recommendations to overcome existing obstacles that prevent persons with disabilities from voting in EP elections in the EU. Indeed, in each of the 27 EU countries, there are rules or organisational arrangements that deprive some voters with disabilities of their right to vote. The EESC considers this unacceptable and contrary to the fundamental values of the EU, to the provisions of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to many international legal and political acts. Therefore, the EESC calls on the EP, the European Council and Member States to urgently amend the 1976 Electoral Act by clarifying the principles of universality, directness and secrecy of elections, so as to allow the implementation of common standards granting the right to vote to all EU citizens.
This opinion, requested by the German Presidency of the Council, makes the following main recommendations:
- data collection and monitoring of diversity policies in the labour market must be improved at all levels;
- the principles of diversity management must be integrated into EU rules and generalised;
- more funds should be allocated to diversity management, in order to support the work of civil society organisations working with racialized groups and the diversity policies put in place by the social partners;
- to tackle the underutilisation of migrants' skills and increase their participation in the labour market, these need to be further recognised. In addition, migrants should benefit from free and universal training, including language courses;
- migrants should be active, not only in the labour market, but also in politics;
The opinion presents the EESC's proposal for the new European Disability strategy 2020-2030, at a crucial moment in the EU landscape. With a new European Commission, a new European Parliament and a new budget programming period, the timing is perfect to come up with a Disability Strategy that fully takes into account the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD), the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The opinion tackles various policy areas, drawing attention to the crosscutting character of disability rights.
In each of the 27 EU countries, there are laws or organisational arrangements which exclude some voters with disabilities from participating in EP elections. If the best practices from across all countries were implemented, an ideal system would emerge in which every EU citizen with disabilities not only would have the full possibility to vote but also would be able to choose for themselves the most convenient way in which to vote.
The majority of road accidents are down to human error alone, so a comprehensive approach to road safety is needed. It should cover driver behaviour, the working conditions and skills of professional drivers, and infrastructure.
Women with disabilities constitute 16% of the total population of women in Europe, which means in the EU there are approximately 40 million women and girls with disabilities.
Women with disabilities face intersectional discrimination in all areas of life, including, socio-economic disadvantages, social isolation, violence against women, forced sterilisation and abortion, lack of access to community services, low-quality housing, institutionalisation, inadequate health care and denial of the opportunity to contribute and engage actively in society.