The Danish Presidency will run from 1 January to 30 June 2012. It is the second in the Trio Poland, Denmark, and Cyprus. After the Polish Presidency’s lack of disability in their agenda EUD hopes the Danish Presidency will keep its promise and mainstream disability in their programme. Although it will be the Presidency’s key task to negotiate the budget framework for 2014-2020, EUD recommends the Danish Presidency to consider the negative effects the economic crisis has had on persons with disabilities and take this into account in particular when planning the allocation of Structural Funds.
The programme of the Danish Presidency promises to contribute actively to the implementation of the EU Disability Strategy. In order to do so, a conference on accessibility and participation is planned in March, which is organised in co-operation with the European Commission. EUD hopes the conference will give a clearer insight to what the Danish Presidency will do to support Deaf and disabled citizens in view of the upcoming European Accessibility Act. EUD is pleased that the conference will include the EUD Executive Director as a participant and hopes that this participation will lead to fruitful consultation. The views of Deaf people themselves must be taken into consideration to ensure the EU Disability Strategy is implemented taking under account the needs of all disabled citizens, including Deaf people.
EUD is further concerned that the only references to disabled people are made in conjunction with the ageing population and the strengthening of the workforce. This is indeed an important point, especially with the European Year of Active Ageing and Social Solidarity Between Generations, but Deaf and disabled persons should be seen as full and equal citizens with rights to access in every aspect of life. This should include the mobility of persons with disabilities. The new Erasmus for All Programme for instance must be made accessible for Deaf people, allowing them to gain valuable work or study experience abroad to become full contributors to the workforce.
EUD is also alarmed that the Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (‘Anti-discrimination Directive’) is still blocked by several Member States. Equal treatment in employment with regards to gender and nationality is one of the founding principles of the European Union and with the Treaty of Amsterdam the term of discrimination is extended to persons with disabilities. In view of the Disability Strategy 2010-2020, Denmark must not forget the Anti-discrimination Directive and reinstate discussions to ensure equality for all citizens, including Deaf or disabled.
The right to information is a fundamental right also enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This includes audio-visual media and access to goods and services. EUD recommends the Danish Presidency to consult with Deaf people and their organisations to ensure their needs are adequately met.
Overall, the Danish Presidency contains very few references to persons with disabilities. It is in EUD’s interest that Denmark, which has ratified the UNCRPD, pushes for an agenda that fully includes Deaf and disabled persons.
Despite the Danish Presidency’s shortcomings to identify specific needs for Deaf and disabled people in various areas, EUD strongly urges the stakeholders to work on further UNCRPD ratifications, as well as on a strong European Accessibility Act.
You can download the EUD Priorities for the Danish Presidency January – June 2012 here.
For more information please contact EUD Policy Officer at: annika.pabsch(at)eud.eu.
Danish Presidency Website
EU Disability Strategy
European Social Fund
Archived Site of the Structural Funds Regulations 2007-2013
Proposal for a European Anti-Discrimination Directive