On 8th of November 2016, EUD participated in an event organised by the „European Network for Independent Living“ (ENIL) in the European Parliament.
MEPs Helga Stevens and Marek Plura hosted this event, which highlighted the importance of de-institutionalisation and independent living and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of life.
The UNCRPD stipulates a right to independent living and a transition from institutionalisation to community-based care. However, there are still examples of institutions all over Europe that are being funded through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), meaning that such a use of the funds is in violation of the UNCRPD.
This is why ENIL, in the framework of this event, launched the „EU funds for our Rights“ campaign that will advocate for a better spending of the allocated EU funds for projects aiming at providing community-based care in the Member States. Additionally, it will work towards a better, more transparent and accessible monitoring and complaints system for the use of the European funds. Data will be collected and awareness-raising activities will be organised in the short term to inform all stakeholders about the importance of using EU funds for this transition. In the long-term, the campaign also aims at including a provision on a complaints mechanism whose goal will be to ensure compliance with the UNCRPD in legally binding EU documents regarding the use of European funds.
Additionally, the film „Here I am“ was shown, which presented an institution in Romania that received EU funding. It also showcased the example of a Romanian woman who had left an institution to live independently and she was now free to live her life the way she wishes. Furthermore, it presented the example of a Slovakian institution that was closed and whose personnel now provides community-based care services to the former residents.
In the Q&A session with the MEPs, MEP Marek Plura pointed out the potential of the European Parliament to raise awareness in this regard. The importance of adopting the European Accessibility act was also highlighted, as this directive would help to make sure that a wide range of products and services are made accessible for persons with disabilities.