On the 12th of July, the EUD attended the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) meeting at the European Parliament, where the topic of the implementation of the European Disability Strategy was discussed. The European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Disability Forum, the European Ombudsman as well as the UN CRPD Committee had representatives present to discuss this topic.
The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 has been framing actions at EU level as the main instrument to support the EU’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). It identifies eight main areas of action: accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health and external action. The aim of the meeting was to follow up on how the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is being implemented and to further discuss what should be the areas addressed in the new European Disability Strategy 2020-2030.
Many important issues were raised by various stakeholders. The European Disability Forum highlighted the need to prepare the groundwork for the European Disability Strategy 2020-2030, and the importance of basing this on the UN CRPD and the Committee’s reviews of the current strategy. It was emphasized that the new European Disability Strategy needs to consider new areas of actions and should consider issues related to women and girls, young persons as well as refugees with disabilities for the strategy to be as successful as possible. Moreover, it is essential for structural and investment fund recommendations given by the UN CRPD committee during its review of the European Union as State Party to the Convention to be implemented. Furthermore, it was highlighted that it is important to have a clear timeframe. Also, benchmarks need to be clearly indicated within the strategy for it to be more directly beneficial to the wider public.
Attending this meeting was essential to follow up on the progress of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, and keep a close eye on the development of the European Disability Strategy 2020-2030 and to ensure that the new strategy incorporates issues linked to deaf rights and that it aligns with both the UN CRPD and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).