Our Mission

The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is a Europe-wide network of disabled people, with members throughout Europe. ENIL is a forum for all disabled people, Independent Living organisations and their non-disabled allies on the issues of Independent Living. ENIL represents the disability movement for human rights and social inclusion based on solidarity, peer support, deinstitutionalisation, democracy, self-representation, cross disability and self-determination.

ENIL’s mission is to advocate and lobby for Independent Living values, principles and practices, namely for barrier-free environment, provision of personal assistance support and adequate technical aids, together making full citizenship of disabled people possible. ENIL’s activities target European, national and local administrations, politicians, media, and the general society. ENIL works to strengthen the empowerment of disabled people mainly through providing resources for peer counselling and peer training. ENIL enhances the European disability network by providing the arena for the sharing of experience of services and in providing economical, logistics and technical expertise. This as well as by being a strong network of grassroots activists.

ENIL works directly with disabled individuals, organizations (mainly Centres of Independent Living), politicians, social agents, media, the business world and any individual or organization interested in learning about Independent Living history, values, principles and its practical application.

That which makes ENIL different from other disability-related European organizations is its make-up of strong grassroots guided by the social model approach; the dedication of us as members to promote, advocate and lobby for social change (empowerment of disabled people to take control over their lives); and the transferability of the Independent Living principles into applicable practices. ENIL represents a disability movement for human rights and social inclusion based on solidarity, peer support, de-institutionalization, democracy, self-representation, cross disability and self-determination.

Our activities

ENIL promotes equal opportunities for disabled people and fights against discrimination in Europe. ENIL addresses the under-representation of persons with extensive disabilities in European disability and social politics, as well as in mainstream society. Our activities are aimed at:

    • Promoting the Independent Living philosophy among disabled people, general public, national policy makers, government administrations, as well as among regional bodies such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE);
    • Developing the concept, principles and definition of Independent Living;
    • Promoting the development of Centres of Independent Living (CILs) throughout Europe and enhancing solidarity and networking among them;
    • Carrying out training and awareness raising activities at the European level;
    • Representing Independent Living organizations and the Independent Living movement at the European level and in different European bodies and organizations (the European Disability Forum, the Council of Europe, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights etc.);
    • Combating social exclusion and discrimination through policies which promote Independent Living of disabled people;
    • Making the Independent Living framework instrumental to end discrimination against disabled people in Europe;
    • Embracing the social model of disability in acquiring independence and self-determination by overcoming the barriers of the medical and attitudinal models.

Download the ENIL Constitution 2019

Principles of Independent Living (adopted in the Netherlands, in 1990)

Download the ENIL Leaflet 2018