The new European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 has just been revealed

PRESS RELEASE, Brussels, 17 November 2010

Inclusion Europe warmly welcomes the new European Disability Strategy “A renewed commitment for a Barrier-Free Europe” presented last Monday 15 November by Viviane Reding, the EU Commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.

The new Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is an ambitious document, which clearly reflects the commitment of the EU in the disability field, especially since the Council’s adoption of the decision for the conclusion of the Convention of the Rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), which should in the future form part of the EU legal order. The Strategy focuses especially on removing all obstacles and making all goods and services accessible, to create, according to Viviane Reding, “a truly barrier-free Europe for persons with disabilities by 2020”.

“It is a great recognition of the importance of the CRPD and of the role of persons with disabilities, their families and their representative organisations, as the European Disability Strategy aims to align EU policies with the UN CRPD”, said Ivo Vykydal, President of Inclusion Europe.

The EU Disability Strategy focuses on eliminating barriers in 8 areas reflecting the rights enshrined in the CRDP: accessibility, employment, inclusion education and training, equality, participation (including access to quality community based services), health, social protection and external action (development and enlargement programme). All these issues are of a great importance for people with intellectual disabilities and their families, and they should be addressed in a comprehensive way to ensure that the obstacles that they face are also removed.

The Strategy also has the ambition to set up proper monitoring mechanisms, as described in Article 33 of the CRPD and in addition, to develop and collect comparable data throughout Europe. This would of course be a cornerstone to improve planning, monitoring and evaluation of disability policies.

Inclusion Europe also welcomes the goal of optimising the use of EU funding instruments for accessibility and non-discrimination, and increase visibility of disability-relevant funding possibilities in post 2013 programmes.

Finally, Inclusion Europe is pleased to see that many recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care have been included in the European Strategy.

Inclusion Europe only regrets that the EU did not use this opportunity to renew the proposal for a strong Anti-Discrimination Directive or a Disability Specific Directive. Such a directive would clearly highlight disability as a cross-cutting issue and would make visible the alignment to the provisions of the UN CRPD.

The EU Disability Strategy will certainly be the key document for the work of Inclusion Europe for the next decade. Inclusion Europe will fully support a meaningful implementation of the European Disability Strategy, together with its members and other European and national partners, and renews its commitment to build an accessible European society that includes everyone.

Inclusion Europe (IE) is the European voice and representation of over 60 member organizations of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Founded in 1988, Inclusion Europe has an almost 20-year track record of successful operation and defending the rights of its constituency.

For more information, please contact:
Camille Latimier
Human Rights Officer
Inclusion Europe