The annual meeting of Fundamental Rights Platform

The Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) had its two day annual meeting in Vienna. The annual meeting brings together members of the Agency’s network to work in partnership on fundamental rights. This 5th FRP meeting aimed to:

  • encourage a European debate on fundamental rights among different civil society organisations;
  • facilitate knowledge exchange and the sharing of of promising practices among Fundamental Rights Platform participants;
  • inform the work of the FRA about challenges and promising initiatives on the ground;
  • create opportunities for networking and further cooperation between civil society, the FRA and other actors.


Elected members to the Advisory Panel 2012-2013

One of the main events of this year’s meeting was the election to the new Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel supports the work of the Director of the FRA in organising and coordinating the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) and inputs into the preparation of relevant meetings and events.

The Panel is also a tool for ensuring the  good running of the Platform, suggesting, where necessary, adjustments and improvements to processes and procedures, and thus facilitating a vibrant dialogue between the Platform and the Director of the Agency. There were 24 candidates of which Jamie Bolling, the executive director of ENIL – the European Network on Independent Living was one. Jamie was supported by ENIL and EDF and was happy to be re-elected to the panel along with: Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska – Helsinki Foundation on Human Rights, Roger Kiska – Alliance Defense Fund, Allan Leas – European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Catherine Lynch – Irish Network Against Racism, Evelyne Paradis – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association – European Region (ILGA-Europe).

TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System)

TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System) was developed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The ODIHR serves as a collection point for information related to tolerance and non-discrimination on the basis of information received from the participating States, and in co-operation with civil society and intergovernmental organisations. TANDIS was developed by the ODIHR’s Tolerance and Non-Discrimination department in order to share and promote practices and initiatives and to provide information on issues related to tolerance and non-discrimination throughout the OSCE region.

TANDIS gives access to:

  • Information received from the OSCE participating States, specialized institutions and other organisations
  • Country pages providing information on country initiatives, legislation, national specialised bodies, statistics and other information
  • Thematic pages with information related to different key issues
  • International standards and instruments
  • Information from the intergovernmental organisations including country reports and annual reports.

For more information on TANDIS please visit the website here

Collaboration request for INNOSERV project – report good examples of social innovation

February 1, 2012 marks the beginning of the Social platform on innovative social services or the INNOSERV Project  funded under the European Commission’s Seventh framework programme.  The Project is a unique opportunity for the identification and acknowledgement of innovative services that generate postive outcomes from a service user perspective.  ENIL has found it important to make our voices heard in order for this project to succeed and make a real difference for Independent Living.  We hope you will cooperate with us in this endeavor.

The Project is an attempt to survey the potential for innovative services in the health, education and welfare sectors. This by relying on a combination of academic/policy input, civil society perspectives and empirical knowledge.

Ultimately, information on selected innovative services will be diseminated broadly in easy to read formats that allows communication accross cultural and geographic boundaries, along with evaluation of policy making trends.  Together, practical examples and an overview of academic research will provide substantial input in the EU 2020 strategy.

Partners in implementation  of the project include reputable academic institutions and CSO networks in Europe: Heidelberg University, University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, University of Roskilde, Diakonhjemmet University College, Oslo, Budapest Institute, Instituto per la Ricerca Sociale, University of Southampton, Universite Paris, Pantheon-Sorbonne, European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), Solidar, and ENIL.

ENIL has through this project a pending task that requires support from the network:

The ENIL network must identify typical innovative practices from the fields of health, education and welfare. ENIL needs to provide at least 16 examples.  So If you have innovative service examples that you would like to share, please just contact us as soon as possible and no later than February 24, 2012, COB.

All questions regarding this initiative should be directed  to  Sanja Nikolin the ENIL researcher for the project at and please copy in Jamie Bolling the director of ENIL.



Press release: ENIL and European United Left/Nordic Green Left Hold a Parliamentary Hearing on the Impact of EU’s Austerity Policy on Persons with Disabilities

On 9 February 2012, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) and the group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left are holding a hearing in the European Parliament entitled ‘Defend the Right of Independent Living – How the EU’s austerity policy is undermining the lives of people with disabilities’. Some of the leading European independent living and anti-poverty activists will present evidence of the impact EU’s austerity policy has had on disabled people in the Member States and together with Members of the European Parliament identify actions to be taken at the European level.


‘With or without the financial crisis, we are among the poorest and most socially excluded in Europe’, warned Jamie Bolling, ENIL’s Executive Director. According to the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020, the incidence of poverty for persons with disabilities is 70 per cent higher than average. Employment rates for persons with very severe and severe disabilities are respectively 19.5 per cent and 44.1 per cent. Combine this with the cuts to essential services such as personal assistance, access to employment and housing support, and the consequences could be catastrophic.


Hearing in the European Parliament


Thursday 9 February 2012 – European Parliament Brussels

 To watch the video of the hearing,

please click on the following link

See the Press Release here

The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) would like to invite you to a hearing in the European Parliament entitled ‘Defend the Right of Independent Living – How the EU’s Austerity Policy Is Undermining the Lives of People with Disabilities’. The hearing will take place on 9 February 2012 (15:00 – 18:30, Room A1G2), and will be hosted by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Parliamentary Group.

ENIL and its partner organisations will present evidence about the impact austerity measures are having on people with disabilities in the European Union, and will set out actions that can be taken by the European Parliament and the European Commission to address this situation. These will include the ENIL Proposal for the European Parliament Resolution on the effect of cuts in public spending on services for persons with disabilities in the EU.

To register, please send an e-mail by 2 February 2012 to In case you do not have access to the Parliament, please include your date of birth and passport number.

Download the Programme (Updated!) and the Poster.

See ENIL’s Proposal for a Resolution of the European Parliament on the effect of cuts in public spending on persons with disabilities in the European Union. (Available in 8 EU languages)

Help us to lobby EU politicians for our rights!

European Commision. Public consultation with a view to a European Accessibility Act

Date: 29/02/2012

Objective of the consultation

The Commission is reflecting on the development of a European Accessibility Act containing measures to improve the accessibility of goods and services in the European market. This consultation is part of the preparatory data collection that will underpin the assessment of the impact of the measures.

Target group(s)

All citizens, including persons  with disabilities and older people, enterprises and organisations of public and private sector as well as civil society in EU Member States, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries.

Period of consultation

  • Opening date: 12 December 2011
  • Closing date: 29 February 2012

How to submit your contribution?

The consultation is published on the Commission consultation website “Your Voice in Europe”. The consultation site is accessible and follows web accessibility standards.

Response to the consultation can be submitted online by clicking here.

The questionnaire is available in English. The questionnaire is also available in document format and can be requested for reasons of accessibility. (more…)

Conference: Implementing the rights of persons with disabilities

The Essl Foundation, the World Future Council and Bank Austria are working together to organize an International Conference on January 22-23, 2012, Vienna, Austria on future just policies which successfully implement the rights of people with disabilities.


Download brochure (PDF) (TEXT ONLY)



The Essl Foundation, the World Future Council would like to get in touch with policy makers, international academic institutions and practitioners, NGOs and foundations to cooperate in the planning process of the event.


Ingrid Heindorf

Policy Officer

World Future Council

22297 Hamburg,Germany

Phone +49 40307091419


Dr. Michael Fembek

Program Manager

Essl Foundation

3400 Klosterneuburg,Austria

Phone +43 22434209149


John Evans from ENIL speaks to Europe about the devastating effect of the cuts

One of the greatest experts on Independent Living, John Evans, uses every opportunity to warn people with disabilities, policymakers and other stakeholders about the effects of the cuts in public spending that are going on. In many European countries governments take inhuman, irrational and contra productive decisions to cut budgets that are necessary to make Independent Living possible for people with disabilities.

John Evans was interviewed on this important topic by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. He also delivered a strong speech on the European Day of People with Disabilities on December 1stin Brussels. (Link in FRA website)

Download the full speech: The impact of the austerity measures on disabled people in Europe

Video: John Evans from the ENIL speaks to the FRA about the economic crisis, during a recent meeting of the FRA’s disability project

Broad support for ENIL Resolution!

As you all know the financial and economical crisis is hitting people with disabilities in a disproportionately way. Through our network of independent living activists in Europe we are receiving alarming messages about austerity measures and cuts in independent living services and personal assistance. Fighting this negative tendency is one of the main focuses for ENIL right now. That is why we made the ENIL Proposal for a Resolution of the European Parliament on the effect of cuts in public spending on persons with disabilities in the European Union. We launched this proposal in September on the Strasbourg Freedom Drive 2011. Time for an update!

The freedom drive itself is of course an excellent opportunity for lobbying a resolution like this. The freedom drivers used this opportunity very well and asked their MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) to support this resolution. In several individual and group meetings we explained the devastating effects of cuts and austerity measures on personal assistance and community-based services, to our European political leaders. We asked our MEPs to support our resolution in every way they can. The same matter was brought up in the Disability Intergroup meeting. In total we reached over 75 MEPs from about all different European member states, made them aware of the necessity and urgency of a European resolution like we propose and asked them to fully support it. Some freedom drivers already had follow up communication or meetings with MEPs back in their own countries or regions.


World Report on Disability at EP

The first ever World Report on Disability, produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank, will be presented in the European Parliament,

  • Where: Josef Antall building, room 6Q1
  • When: 7th December 12:30 – 15:00

The event will be hosted by Dr Adam Kosa, MEP and EDF Acting Director, Javier Güemes will be speaking.

Other speakers include:

  • László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion for European Commission.
  • Olivier Varhelyi, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Hungary to the EU
  • Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, Vice President for Human Development, World Bank
  • Jose Martin Monreno, Director Programme Management, World Health Organization European Office
  • Lars Bosselmann, Advocacy Manager, CBM

The report is a significant contribution to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European disability strategy 2010 – 2020.



To register please contact the organiser CBM (EDF Member):
or by Telephone at +32 (0) 22569001 by 30 November 2011



The Swedish crisis

The Independent Living movement in Sweden has a long history of demonstrations. Now it’s time to take on the placards again and rescue assistance!

Country after country uses the economic crisis to cut the funding of reforms of personal assistance. In Sweden the savings proposals is threatening the world’s best personal assistance legislation.

Due to recent figures from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (who is responsible for all matters of personal assistance in Sweden) about five percent of the assistance users now are losing their personal assistance after their needs have been reviewed. They are no longer considered to have at least 20 hours of basic needs per week*, often because they are able to bring the spoon or fork to their mouth (not necessarily with food on).

The Social Insurance Agency has also pioneered the use of the term “active” time. This means that if you have need of assistance a few minutes now and again but manage yourselves in between, you are only granted assistance specifically for the active time.
Even people with more complex needs have had drastic cuts in their assistance. There are members in JAG who have lost their assistance hours at night despite the needs being uniformed, for example persons with epilepsy who are unable to alert in need of assistance.
The Social Insurance Agency is also trying to make the application of assistance benefit more “unified” by, among other things, define what specific activities and situations that should be considered as part of daily life. The Swedish Independent Living movement is of course questioning on what grounds the Social Insurance Agency considers it’s their mandate to define the law. It is totally against the intentions of the assistance legislation to deny someone support by reference to a norm! (more…)

FRA Report: The legal protection of persons with mental health problems under non-discrimination law

This report is the second publication from the legal study carried out in the context of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ (FRA) project on the ‘Fundamental rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems’.

The report examines how disability is defined in international and European law and then explores the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation as contained in international and European standards. The report’s findings show that in almost all EU Member States non-discrimination legislation does indeed protect persons with mental health problems. In most cases persons with mental health problems also benefit from reasonable accommodation measures, or other protection measures, in the employment context. The report concludes by presenting examples where legislation extends the duty to provide reasonable accommodation to other areas.

Download the report (Pdf English)FRA-2011-Legal-protection-persons-mental-health-problems-report_EN

Enil Promotes Edf’s Crisis Observatory

As you know ENIL is very alarmed by the ongoing cuts and austerity measures throughout Europe that disproportionally hit people with disabilities. Among other actions we are working to get our ENIL proposal resolution through the European Parliament.

We also cooperate with other international NGO’s and organizations to fight the cuts. The European Disability Forum (EDF) has created an online tool on their website to gather and monitor all the negative measures taken by EU member states. Also cases of negative portrayal of people with disabilities can be reported.

ENIL CALLS ON ALL HER MEMBERS TO ACTIVELY USE THIS ONLINE SURVEY! If your government is decreasing your personal assistance hours or taking away your mobility allowance, or if your minister is portraying disabled people as lazy or if he is planning to stop paying for assistive technology, share this with the whole of Europe! The collected data will be made public and will be used to lobby for better policy. Info & links below.

The European Disability Forum (EDF) denounces that current economic, social and political policies adopted by member states and the EU increased the numbers of people experiencing social exclusion in Europe, and created an Observatory and a survey on the impact of the economic crisis on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Economic crisis in the European Union is having devastating effects on the quality of our democracies, and on the economic and social structures that have been built in our societies over the last decades of economic growth. The European Union’s “Europe 2020” strategy has made social inclusion one of the three pillars bringingEuropeout the crisis. Nevertheless, the European Disability Forum (EDF) denounces that current economic, social and political policies adopted by Member States and the European Union increased the numbers of people experiencing social exclusion inEurope. EDF has created an Observatory on the impact of the economic crisis on the rights of persons with disabilities ( To:

  • Collect relevant national examples
  • To monitor austerity measures taken by EU member states, European Union institutions and International financial institutions.



European Commission Adopts Legislative Proposals for Cohesion Policy 2014 – 2020

On 6 October 2011, the European Commission adopted legislative proposals for cohesion policy during the period 2014 – 2020. Among other, the new proposals set out the rules for the use of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund (together referred to as the EU Structural Funds) in the next programming period.

Transition from institutional to community-based care has been included in both the ERDF and ESF Regulations as one of the areas which should be supported by the Structural Funds. Should this be approved by the European Parliament and the Council, it would be a big step in advancing de-institutionalisation in Europe, and would support the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Commission proposals will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council during the period 2012 – 2013. The new Regulations should enter into force in 2014.

All the legislative proposals are available here:

Back to Italy after the Freedom Drive

On 15 September, the fifth edition of the Freedom Drive was held in Strasbourg. The Freedom Drive is a march for freedom organised every two years by ENIL, which this year saw over two hundred people with disabilities from 20 countries marching from Place de la Republic to the European Parliament.

The aim of the event is to ensure the right for people with disabilities to live independently, by adopting policies based on respect for human rights.  This can be made possible through developing accessible spaces, accessible transportation, assistive technology and self-managed personal assistance, as provided by Article  19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It would help us choose how to organise ours lives, just like everyone else.  (more…)

Swedish MEPs Call for De-Institutionalisation

During the Freedom Drive, the delegation from Sweden held a meeting with a number of Swedish MEPs. As a result of this meeting, a group of MEPs published an article in a major newspaper calling for the closure of long stay residential institutions for persons with disabilities in Europe.

The article also refers to the European Coalition for Community Living (ECCL), which is a project of ENIL.

Read English version

Original article (Swedish)


Progress in Implementing Freedom Drive Demands

Before this year’s Freedom Drive, we analysed the progress made in implementing the demands from 2009. In case you have not had a chance to read this document, we are sending it to you again. The second document, Freedom Drive Demands Explained, sets out what is behind this year’s demands. ENIL will use the next two years to lobby for their implementation with the relevant institutions, such as the European Commission and the European Parliament Disability Intergroup.

– Progress made in implementing the demands (Doc)

– Freedom Drive Demands Explained (Doc)

Report from the Freedom Drive 2011

This report includes summaries of all the meetings and events organised during the Freedom Drive week. You will also find the selected press coverage and the main documents in the Annex to the report.

The report is available in pdf and Text Only version.

Swedish people are losing stately granted assistance allowance

In Sweden, every decision regarding personal assistance is reconsidered every second year. The social insurance agency’s new decision making guidelines lead to many people losing their personal assistance affiliated to these reconsiderations.

According to statistics from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, 269 people who were entitled to support lost their right to personal assistance in affiliation to the reconsiderations in 2010. During the first 6 months of 2011 the amount was 159 people. The numbers can be compared to 146 people in 2009, 100 people in 2008 and 57 people in 2007. This increasements is directly caused by the new methods used handling these issues by the Social Insurance Agency. The new guide lines imply that it’s necessary to need support in the Social Insurance Agencys’ definition of integrity spheres in order to be entitled to support.
The problem with this point of view is that it gets hard for anyone to be able to fit this mold. The areas in which support is needed is determined on whether it counts as “basic needs” or not by the definitions of the Social insurance Agency. From now on, if you need assistance when cutting food in the right size to be able to eat, it does not count as basic needs. Only if you need support getting the spoon or fork to the mouth it does. If you do not reach 20 hours of basic needs a week, it is not possible to get granted assistance allowance.

Swedish people entitled to personal assistance are of course protesting against the new regulations. The original idea of personal assistance is no longer present now that the assistance allowance assessments have become more inaccurate than ever before.

Children’s Rights for All!

Inclusion EuropeThere are around one million children with intellectual disabilities throughout the European Union. These children often find themselves subject to discrimination and exclusion from society, and are frequently denied the right to good quality education, healthcare, recreation and services. In many cases, their families are also subject to discrimination and are denied access to adequate financial and emotional support.

In light of this, Inclusion Europe, Eurochild and the Charles University in Prague, embarked upon the research project ‘Children’s Rights for All: Monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for children with intellectual disabilities’. The project results will be launched at the Final Conference of the project from 20-21 October 2011 in Brussels

Read the complete article and download the program of the conference here

Source of the news Inclusion Europe e-journal