Brussels, 3 December 2021 –  The European Network on Independent Living – ENIL has followed the use of European Union (EU) funds for more than a decade. We know that EU funds are sometimes used to build new institutions or to refurbish institutions. We also know that EU funds are being used to transfer disabled people from bigger to smaller institutions, which is a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights.

In response to this, ENIL undertook many actions over the years, including making complaints to the European Commission and the European Ombudsman, and initiating proceedings at the General Court in Luxembourg.

Today, on the International Day of Disabled People, we are launching a petition for members of the public to sign, with a hope to attract the attention of policy and decision makers at both national and European level. The petition:

  1. Cites various examples of crimes committed against disabled people within institutions.
  2. Aims to explain to the general European public why institutions are inherently wrong and go against the very concept of disability rights.
  3. Outlines the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on disabled people in institutions.
  4. Makes a series of demands, such as the closure of institutions of all sizes for disabled people across Europe, development of community-based services – and most importantly of personal assistance – respect of the national, EU and international human rights standards across member states, the use of EU funds in line with the UNCRPD and EU Charter on Fundamental Rights, in order to enable disabled people to live independently and with dignity.

Once it has received enough signatures, this petition will be submitted to the European Commission and the Petitions (PETI) Committee at the European Parliament.


For further information regarding the petition, please contact ENIL: