EWL News

Commission launches new EU disability strategy

[Brussels, 15 November 2010] Viviane Reding today announced the adoption of a 10 year strategy which promotes equal opportunities for people with disabilities at the 4th Equality Summit organised by the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. The main goal of the strategy is to bring the EU into line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although all EU governments signed the convention in 2007, so far only 16 have ratified it and taken on the obligation to change their laws accordingly.

EWL member organisation the European Disability Forum (EDF) is examinining the elements of this strategy and the impact it will have for 80 million persons with disabilities. According to EDF Communications Officer Aurélien Daydé interviewed in European Voice, the new strategy could founder without tough monitoring and enforcement. “The last action plan was ambitious...but it was very abstract, it was not binding and that is what we don’t want to happen with the next one,” said Aurélien.
“To make a difference for the next ten years, the strategy has to follow the UN Convention to create an EU Disability Committee to act and monitor [member states] and maybe to sanction.”

According to a report to be released by the EDF later this month at an EU-sponsored equality summit (15-16 November), existing EU rules outlawing discrimination in employment are poorly understood across the Union. According to the EDF report, which is based on a survey of EDF member organisations in 17 member states, many people with disabilities, employers, trade unions, training colleges, lawyers and judges are not well informed about the EU directive on equal treatment in employment, which dates from 2000.

Read the details of the announcement here in the European Commission press release.

The European Disability Strategy is available to download here.

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