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EDF expects results on a disability strategy following strong commitments from the Commission

Following the recent ratification by the EU of the UN Convention the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (see EWL news of 06 January 2011), EWL member organisation the European Disability Forum (EDF) is expecting rapid and effective implementation.

[EDF Press Release - Brussels, 17 January 2011] Shortly before the entry into force of the UN Convention on 22 January, Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding addressed the Disability Intergroup at the European Parliament along with EDF President Yannis Vardakastanis and President of the Intergroup Adam Kósa. The ongoing work of the disability movement was reinforced by Ms Reding’s commitments and the European Disability Forum will continue to work hard to ensure that the European institutions will now deliver.

Together with the European Disability Forum, the Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding welcomed the EU conclusion of the UN Convention, as it is a significant landmark which will improve the lives of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. At the Intergroup meeting, Ms Reding mentioned that the European Commission will deliver in line with the Convention and brought up the possibility of the ratification of the optional protocol. The disability movement specially welcomes the ideas on having concrete European legislation and policy actions on disability and to go ahead on next steps with the UN Convention.

Toward concrete legislation and policy actions on disability

As outlined in the Disability Strategy Ms Reding committed to developing legislation and concrete policy actions to implement the Convention on the rights of Persons with disabilities. She raised crucial issues including:

  • access to good and services; she cited the European Accessibility Act that she is considering to propose in 2012
  • universal accessibility; she mentioned the Disability (Mobility) Card as a concrete example of improving the mobility of persons with disabilities
  • employment; she developed the idea of a Disability Charter to be signed between employers and employees
  • statistics; Ms Reding also pledged to provide comparative statistics on the EU and disability by monitoring aspects of the lives of people with disabilities against those without disabilities
  • participation; the Commissioner also expressed the necessity to make the next European elections totally accessible.

The next key steps after entry into force of the UN Convention

As foreseen in the UN Convention, the Commissioner mentioned the creation of the focal point.

To ensure the EU will be in line with the UN treaty, Ms Reding also wants to strengthen the existing High Level Group on Disability, emphasising the crucial need for a disability committee as stressed by EDF.

Mr Vardakastanis expressed his satisfaction with Ms Reding’s commitments, and emphasized how important it is to include persons with disabilities. “With the establishment of the focal point and greater coordination with the institutions and the Disability Movement, it is now time to deliver and produce results.”

As President of the Intergroup Adam Kósa MEP (Hungary, EPP) reminded: “It is important to make sure the Disability Strategy produce effects on a grassroots level in order to improve the lives of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe.”

For more information, contact EDF:
Aurélien Daydé | media officer| M +32 485 64 39 93 | aurelien.dayde@gmail.com

Find all background information on the EDF website.

The European Disability Forum is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. The mission of EDF is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe. EDF is a member of the Social Platform and works closely to the European institutions, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

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