На 20th of May EUD participated at the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2019 which took place in Brussels and was organised by the European Commission.
This year the Convention focused on the future of Social Europe post 2020. Recently, the EU and its Member States have committed to realise the principles listed in the European Pillar of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda. During the Convention participants discussed how the new multiannual financial framework and future policy and legislative initiatives will provide the structure to realise the commitments and strengthen the social and economic inclusion.
This year EUD together with the European Disability Forum, Inclusion Europe and the European Anti-Poverty Network organised a side event “Employment and social benefits in the context of the European Semester and post-2020 EU Strategy: combatting in-work poverty for persons with disabilities’’, in the context of the implementation and assessment of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The side event explored the risk of poverty and social exclusion for persons with disabilities when entering into employment, as well as the interplay between wages and disability benefits to ensure adequate incomes. It also discussed the threat to freedom of movement posed by a lack of coordination in social security systems across the EU for economically active people with disabilities.
EUD Executive Director, Mark Wheatley, have a presentation on a particularly important issue for the deaf community in the EU – the lack of coordination of social security benefits for deaf people while exercising the right to freedom of movement. It was highlighted that currently in the EU there is no system for coordination of benefits that are provided to persons with disabilities who are economically active (both workers and job-seekers) that allow them to access the open labour market on an equal basis with others.
In the end of the event EUD made several recommendations for the EU. EUD highlighted that it is essential to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities regarding free movement by ensuring the coordination and full portability of their social security benefits, including all kinds of disability benefits. European Union must take immediate action to ensure that all persons with disabilities and their families can enjoy their right to freedom of movement on an equal basis with others, including with regard to the portability of social security benefits, in a coordinated manner across its member States and establish a clear coordination system of work-related disability benefits for economically active persons with disabilities. Moreover, legislators in the EU must perceive people with disabilities as economically active players in the labour market and reflect this in the definitions of the benefits that are coordinated among member states for people with disabilities in EU legislation.