On 13th October 2023, EUD attended the launch event for the European Court of Auditor’s report “Supporting Persons with Disabilities” which was published on 12th October 2023. The report assesses whether the European Commission (the Commission) has taken effective action to support persons with disabilities. The report found that the impact of EU action in this area was limited and the key indicators had not significantly improved. Furthermore, the EU Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030 sets objectives, but the report found that some issues remain unresolved and the monitoring system in place does not show how EU funding helps improving the lives of persons with disabilities.
The report includes recommendations to the Commission based on its findings. For instance, it recommends that the Commission:
- obtain more comparable data;
- work towards mutual recognition of disability status;
review EU legislation to assess its compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD);
- increase efforts to close the disability employment gap as it remains almost the same (23.1%) as when measurements began in 2014;
- measure their progress towards including persons with disabilities in their workforce;
- adopt the Anti-Discrimination Directive 2008/0140 that has been blocked since 2008 – something EUD, along with the rest of the EU Disability Movement, has been calling the EU to act on for some time;
- reduce the barriers to freedom of movement of persons with disabilities.
Although EUD very much welcomes this report, EUD was not meaningfully consulted with directly. Consequently, a key example of how the EU’s action is in misalignment with the CPRD – that it has not yet granted legal recognition to its 31 national sign languages at the EU level, which is a violation of Article 21 CRPD – was not included. Although the report mentions one of EUD’s feedback submissions to a public consultation on data collection, this does not constitute meaningful consultation.
Nevertheless, EUD will utilise this report as a tool to provide evidence of how the EU is not taking sufficient action to fulfil its obligations under the CRPD, when advocating for the EU to legally recognise its national sign languages on the EU level.