On September 19th, EUD joined the Public Hearing of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. On this occasion, Mr Joost Korte – Directorate General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) General Director – provided an overview of the process that brought the pilot project in 2016 to the legislative proposal of a Directive for the European Disability Card (EDC) and the European Disability Parking Card.
As highlighted by Mr Korte, the European Commission considers the EDC to be a needed tool to address the main issues preventing the freedom of movement of people with disabilities. Following this introduction, Mr Korte replied to several questions asked by representatives of the European Parliament political groups.
During the Q&A session, it was specified that the EDC provides access specifically to services for short-term periods of time, with a maximum of three months. Mr Korte specified that the Card is not a final solution and much more needs to be done to implement the human rights of people with disabilities. It was also specified that the EDC and the Disability Parking Card will be two separate documents, as was requested by the Disability Movement. In addition, Mr Korte specified that third-country nationals will not be eligible for the EDC unless they already live and work in the EU.
Moreover, Mr Korte highlighted that eligible people will be provided with the EDC regardless of the degree and type of disability (physical or intellectual). Therefore, there might be cases of reversed discrimination but more details need to be discussed within the Council of the EU.
Finally, Member of European Parliament (MEP), Ms Katrin Langensiepen – Special Rapporteur for the European Disability Card – concluded the hearing by calling institutions to ensure that the text of the Directive will be available in all EU languages, as well as Easy to Read.
On this point, EUD calls the EU institutions to include access to the text of the Directive and to all information associated to the EDC to be made available in all the EU’s 31 national sign languages.
EUD welcomes the start of a legislative amendment to officially recognize the European Disability Card. In order to ensure the requests of deaf people, EUD will continue working in cooperation with the European Disability Forum and with all the disability movement to improve the European Disability Card. Specifically, EUD will work to ask the Commission to include the possibility on disclosing the type of disability on the Card to address communication barriers for deaf people.