On Thursday, 7 July, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), with special regard to the Concluding Observations of the UN CRPD Committee.
ENIL’s Advocacy Officer Frank Sioen and intern Miriam Lorenzo Prieto travelled to Strasbourg to take part in the Disability Intergroup debate on the Report and to attend the plenary session to witness the vote.
Belgian MEP Helga Stevens (ECR) was the Rapporteur for the Report, which included a motion for a Resolution, and which was adopted with a large majority of MEPs across political groups. While a European Parliament resolution is not legally binding, it is a clear expression of the Parliament’s view on a subject – in this case, the rights of disabled people, as set out in the UN CRPD. ENIL is, therefore, particularly pleased to see that the following three points have been included:
- The Parliament’s call on the Member States to refrain from cuts to disability-related benefits and community-based services.
- The Parliament’s emphasis on the right of disabled people to choose how they want to live and its concern about the misuse of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) for maintaining institutional care. The Parliament’s call “on the Member States and the Commission to strengthen their monitoring in line with the CRPD” is therefore of particular importance.
- The Parliament’s emphasis on the need to include accessible built environment in the scope of the proposed European Accessibility Act.
However, ENIL regrets that certain points in the proposed Report were rejected in the plenary vote. It is, for example, disappointing that both the proposal to counter the negative effects of austerity measures by adopting an EU social protection floor and the recommendation to the European Commission to recover ESIFs from Member States if they breach their obligation to respect fundamental rights were removed from the final Report.
Nevertheless, this comprehensive and well written European Parliament Report, which promotes a human rights approach towards disability, will be a great tool when promoting the implementation of the UN CRPD in both the EU and the Member States.