Newsletter of the Various Interests Group of the EESC
Speech by President Luca JAHIER at the conference in Thessaloniki on Thursday 10 September 2015.
All adult Europeans, including those with disabilities, have the right to vote in national and European Parliament elections. A report by European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) rapporteur Krzysztof Pater estimates that around 800 000 EU citizens in 16 EU countries are legally deprived by national rules of their right to vote in elections to the European Parliament because of their disabilities or mental health problems.
For me the situation of people with disabilities is really a matter of fairness; fairness for everyone, wherever you are from, and whatever is your social, economic or cultural background. Disabilities can affect anyone in any part of the world. It could be you, or you, or me or somebody within my family. Unfortunately, not everywhere is this recognised to the same extent and not everywhere are people with disabilities seen and treated as part of the mainstream of life – not even within Europe. Not even within Sweden.
This report presents the state of play of the implementation of the right of European Union (EU) citizens with disabilities to vote in elections to the European Parliament (EP). The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an EU advisory body, believes it has a duty, in the run-up to the EP elections, to provide EU institutions, Member States and EU citizens with a full picture of how this right is actually implemented. The EESC hopes that at the next elections in 2024, no EU citizen will be deprived of their right to vote because of their disability.