On the 28th September, EUD attended Committee’s on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) meeting at the European Parliament, where the report on the implementation of the EU Disability Strategy was discussed. The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 builds on the UNCRPD and its objective is to pursue actions on the European level in eight priority areas: accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health and external action.
Currently the European Parliament is drafting a report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy. The rapporteur of the draft report, Helga Stevens, has divided the draft report into four parts. The first part: ‘Key areas for action’ follows the structure of the Disability Strategy and formulates recommendations related to its eight priority areas. The other parts address the obligations within the EU institutions and the gaps in the progress report vis-á-vis the concluding observations. The last part gives an outlook to the new 2030 strategy which is expected to be published upon the expiration of the current strategy in 2020. The purpose of the meeting was to consider 426 amendments that were tabled by the members of the European Parliament to Helga Steven’s draft report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy, which will be published in November 2017.
During the discussion, Helga Stevens encouraged Members of the European Parliament to make the report strong and give the European Commission tangible guidelines and goals on how to continue with the European Disability Strategy beyond 2020 and how to benefit all persons with disabilities in Europe. The rapporteur highlighted, that her amendments to the report were drafted in close consultation and collaboration with disability organisations, taking into account not only European Disability Forum’s (EDF) general view bus also EDF’s member organisations’ views such as EUD. Back in July 2017 EUD provided its input to this report. Mrs. Stevens emphasized, that in the draft report on implementation of the EU Disability Strategy she particularly focused on European initiatives, through which the EU can have impact and show its added value to its citizens with disabilities. For instance, current draft report on implementation of the European Disability Strategy emphasises that the Erasmus + programme urgently needs to become CRPD compliant by introducing reasonable accommodation measures for persons with disabilities. Another example is the European Disability Card, which should become long term initiative, similarly to European Parking Card. The rapporteur highlighted that she is focusing to draft concrete and sustainable report with clear goals what needs to be done in order to realize European Disability Strategy. Useful and targeted report needs to be submitted to the European Commission.
Other Members of the European Parliament expressed their views too. According to Marek Plura, the report must emphasise, that the EU funds need to be used appropriately in order for the European Disability Strategy to benefit all Europeans with disabilities. A. Kosa highlighted, that various projects and programmes, such as InSIgn project, already exist so the report should encourage to realise them.
EUD will follow up on the report on implementation of the European Disability Strategy. We will attend next meetings about the report at the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) in the end of October and November 2017.