2024 Freedom Drive. From 23 to 25 September 2024. Registrations are now open! ENIL and Freedom Drive logo

The next Freedom Drive will take place from 23 – 25 September 2024 in Brussels, Belgium. It will be the 11th edition of this key campaign, which started in 2003 in Strasbourg, at the initiative of the late Martin Naughton from Ireland. On this occasion, the European Network will be celebrating its 35th anniversary. The main slogan of the Freedom Drive will be RECLAIMING OUR RIGHTS, with a focus on the Independent Living Pillars and making our movement stronger and more diverse.

This page contains the key information about the Freedom Drive, to help you plan your participation. We invite all our members, Independent Living activists, allies, supporters and anyone who is interested in the right to live independently and being included in the community to join us in Brussels. Let’s be strong, proud and visible together!

A dedicated Freedom Drive event website will be launched by the end of May 2024. The website will include more information about the speakers and what you can expect from this year’s Freedom Drive. We will share a link as soon as the website is ready.

Register for the Freedom Drive

1. Schedule of events

22 September – Sunday

Arrival of participants

Meetings of the ENIL Board and the ENIL Youth Board

23 September – Monday

Parallel workshops on the following topics:

  • Supported decision making – How can it work in practice?
  • International cooperation
  • Ableism – What is it and how to fight it?
  • What can the EU do to improve Independent Living in my country?
  • Building CILs – supporting disabled people’s empowerment
  • Ensuring respect for Independent Living as part of EU accession
  • Art workshop to make banners for the protest (limited to a small group)

Meetings of Freedom Drivers with their new members of the European Parliament (organised by different delegations)

24 September – Tuesday
  • Protest in front of the European Union institutions and the Hungarian Presidency of the EU
  • Hearing in the European Parliament on the topic: What do we want to see on the European Disability Rights agenda in the next 5 years?
  • A dinner and a party to celebrate ENIL’s 35th birthday
25 September – Wednesday

An all-day conference on the topic: Rebuilding the Independent Living Pillars

  • Session 1: Deinstitutionalisation
  • Session 2: Personal Assistance
  • Session 3: Building a stronger movement
  • Closing session: Independent Living Pillars – a message from the World Network on Independent Living

2. Venues

Workshops (day 1) and dinner (day 2): Residence Palace, 155 Rue de la Loi (website)

Conference (day 3): Thon Hotel EU, 75 Rue de la Loi (website)

3. Registration

Registration for the Freedom Drive will open on the European Independent Living Day on 5 May.

4. Practical information

Travel and accommodation: All participants are responsible for covering their travel and accommodation costs. ENIL will only be in a position to cover the costs of speakers and member of the Board (ENIL and ENIL Youth).

Accessible hotels: Please book early, as there are many events taking place in Brussels in September. For a list of accessible hotels, please check the website of Handy Brussels.

Registration fee: The registration fee for the Freedom Drive is 50 EUR for members (30 EUR for a personal assistant) and 70 EUR for non-members (40 EUR for a personal assistant). For this registration fee, you will benefit from coffee breaks, lunches during the three days and a dinner. You will also receive a Freedom Drive T-shirt and other event merchandise. Members of ENIL’s member organisations are covered by members’ rates. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, please contact Vita Vaisnyte (vita.vaisnyte@enil.eu) at the ENIL Secretariat and explain why you would like to be exempt from paying the fee. We will consider all requests.

Please register as soon as possible, so we can better plan the Freedom Drive. The deadline for registration is 31 July.

Fundraising: We advise everyone to contact their Members of the European Parliament and ask for sponsorship to join the Freedom Drive. Since the European Elections are scheduled for June, MEPs should be contacted as soon as possible after their are elected. Each MEP has a generous budget to bring people from their own country to Brussels each year. We will share a template you can send to your MEPs in the Members’ Mailing.

Register for the Freedom Drive