On the 2nd of October European Parliament’s (EP) Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) together with the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) led the hearing of the Commissioner-designate for Equality portfolio, Helena Dalli from Malta. During the hearing EP evaluated whether the Commissioner-designate is a suitable candidate for her assigned portfolio, based on her general competence, experience, European commitment and personal independence. The commissioner-designate gave an opening speech and then answered questions posed by the members of the committees.
The role of the new Commissioner for Equality is very important for deaf persons in the EU, as her main task will be to strengthen Europe’s commitment to inclusion and equality in all of its senses. As part of this, the new Commissioner for Equality will lead the fight against discrimination wherever it exists and will propose new anti-discrimination legislation. She will also lead on the EU’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.
Among others, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) asked the Commissioner-designate whether, in line with the EU’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and with particular regard to the UN CRPD Concluding Observations to the EU, Mrs. Dalli is committed to issuing new European Disability Strategy 2020-2030, which would fully implement the UNCRPD by the EU and all Member States. The MEPs also asked what priority areas would the commissioner-designate would focus on in the new Strategy and what other legal instruments are foreseen to improve the social and economic situation of persons with disabilities.
In her answers, Mrs Dalli highlighted that she is fully committed to lead the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities across the EU. The Commissioner-designate emphasised that prior to launching European Disability Strategy 2020-2030, it is first needed to carefully study the results of the evaluation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which the European Commission expects to finish by mid-2020. Mrs Dalli also expressed her will to involve directly persons with disabilities and their families and to consult organisations of persons with disabilities during her work. During the hearing Mrs Dalli also emphasised that she would do her utmost to unblock the Anti-discrimination Directive by meeting with ministers to convince them to move forward.
On the 17th of October the European Parliament, based on committees’ recommendations, will decide if it has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to approve the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.