ENIL-ECCL has submitted responses to the List of Issues, adopted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in relation to the first report of the European Union (EU) on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This contribution seeks to provide the Committee with information that will be of assistance when preparing its recommendations on EU report (Concluding Observations). Earlier this year ENIL-ECCL launched a Shadow Report on the Implementation of Article 19 of the CRPD, which was also presented to the Committee.
The new report focuses on the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ISIF) to ensure, protect and promote the inclusion of disabled people in their communities and on the involvement of the representative organisations of disabled persons in the policy-making, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the use of the EU Funding.
ENIL-ECCL argues that while ESIFs have the potential to support a range of initiatives that seek to ensure, protect and promote the social inclusion of disabled people , this goal has been undermined and in some cases the use of ESIFs have exacerbated the social exclusion of disabled people.
The following actions are recommended to the EU:
- Prohibit the use of ESIFs investments into institutional care. Given that in the past ESIFs have been invested in institutions, it is crucial that the European Commission (EC) prohibits investments in building new residential institutions or the renovation and modernisation of existing ones.
- Encourage Member States to use ESIFs to promote social inclusion, specifically to facilitate the transition from institutional care to community-based services. This involves making transition from institutional care to genuine community-based services a priority, promoting personal assistance schemes as a measure to be supported by the EC and providing leadership and guidance for the Member States.
- Take action to avoid the misuse of ESIFs. EC should insist on clear strategies for the transition from institutional care to community-based alternatives that promote social inclusion. Together with this, it needs to ensure that Member States’ strategies define terms such as “institution” and “community-based services” in a way that leads to the development of services enabling people to live and participate in the community, and not to services that replicate the regimes of the larger institutions they were intended to replace. Community-based services should be understood as accessible mainstream services, such as housing, healthcare, education, employment, culture and leisure, that eliminate the need for special or segregated institutions, as well as specialised services for disabled persons, such as personal assistance.
- Establish monitoring systems to ensure the effective use of ESIFs. The EU should acknowledge that it needs to take on a greater role in monitoring how ESIFs are applied by Member States. It should develop effective monitoring mechanisms to assess the adequacy of measures to promote Independent Living and the accessibility of mainstream services.
- Investigate concerns about the inappropriate use of ESIFs. The EU should make clear that it will take action to investigate cases where there are concerns that the ESIFs are being used for projects that do not comply with Article 19 and suspending/withdrawing funding in cases where the funds have been inappropriately used.
To download the report, please click here.
To download an accessible version in Word format, please click here.
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