On the 25th of October, EUD attended the High Level Group meeting on disability, organised twice per year by the European Commission.
The objective of this meeting is to establish a close cooperation between representatives of the Council of the EU, which reunites representatives of all national governments, the European Commission and the civil society on issues relating to disability and to facilitate the exchange of information, experiences and good practices.
During this meeting, a variety of topics related to EUD’s work were addressed, such as updates with regards to CRPD implementation and review processes for several EU member states, the main political activities in the field of disability of the Austrian Presidency of the Council and future plans of the Romanian presidency for the first half of 2019. Furthermore, the most important on-going policy-making procedures, with a focus on the European Accessibility Act, were discussed. EUD Director Mark Wheatley used the opportunity to ask for an update about the state of emergency services in the European Accessibility Act and to highlight the importance of making sure that these become fully accessible for deaf persons across Europe. Moreover, the disability perspective of the European Semester process, the framework for the coordination of economic and social policies across the European Union, was presented, highlighting the policy reform recommendations made by the European Union in the field of disability to various EU countries. The new EU budget, also called the Multiannual Financial Framework, which includes the European Structural Funds, such as the European Social Funds, was also presented from a disability perspective.
EUD’s participation in this bi-annual meeting is crucial, as it allows us to both follow up on all activities with regards to disability policy at EU and national levels as well as to advocate for specific policies of interest from a deaf perspective towards the EU institutions and especially the Council of the EU. This is why EUD used the opportunity of this meeting for informal discussions with several national representatives on the topic of emergency services in the European Accessibility Act.