EUD was invited by Ernst & Young (EY) to attend a workshop, on 22nd March 2023, on the upcoming European Disability Card (the Card) impact assessment. EY were commissioned by the European Commission (the Commission) to produce an impact assessment on the Card, in advance of its proposal by the end of 2023, which will be published in June. The overarching objective of the Card is to ensure the right to freedom of movement for persons with disabilities by way of mutual recognition of disability status across the EU.
The workshop was an opportunity for EUD to provide feedback about the pilot project of the Card (which is now finished), from its member organisations as well as present its main positions on the upcoming Card. However, disappointingly, for a workshop with a focus on an initiative specifically for persons with disabilities, there was no national sign language or International Sign interpretation provided. Accordingly, the EUD Executive Director was unable to and excluded from participation. In which case, another member of the EUD team stepped in to do so but called out the lack of accessibility provided for deaf participants. This was exclusion, and constituted discrimination going against the main principle of the disability movement – nothing about us without us.
The workshop began with a presentation about the potential features of the upcoming Card. Concerningly, EY mentioned that the Card will most likely only be for short-term travel and tourism. There were also a couple of breakout sessions which were structured with questions posed to the participants involving multiple choice answers. The answers were then discussed after each question. This was an opportunity for EUD to give direct feedback, from the deaf perspective, on multiple aspects related to the Card. Some key points to come out of the breakout session discussion included: the need for an accessible EU website/database on the Card which is controlled by an EU level monitoring body, an effective and ongoing awareness raising campaign on the Card, a separate EU Parking Card, a scope which will include key sectors, a uniform format for the Card so it’s easily recognisable across the EU, and the Card to ensure the mutual recognition of disability status for longer term stays and not just for short-term tourism/travel.
This workshop led by EY was of utmost importance for EUD to attend as one of EUD’s main priorities of 2023 is the EU Disability Card. EUD has produced a policy analysis and recommendations on the EU Disability Card to use as an advocacy tool in the period running up to the Commission’s adoption of a proposal for the Card. It was a key advocacy opportunity as EUD was able to give direct feedback to EY.