The European Network on Independent Living – ENIL, in cooperation with MEPs Marisa Matias and Jose Gusmao, are launching a new study to expose the use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) to maintain the segregation of disabled people in the European Union.

The aim of this study, commissioned by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European Parliament, is to highlight the arguments why ESI Funds should be used to support the right of children, adults and older persons with disabilities to live independently in the community. The study also points to the main problems that arose during the 2014 – 2020 period, and which resulted in the ESI Funds contributing to the continued segregation and exclusion of these groups from society.

The study is divided into four chapters:

Chapter I: The first chapter provides a snapshot of the situation in the European Union, with regard to the number of persons with disabilities in institutions, and progress towards independent living since 2014. The situation of persons with disabilities in institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic is also highlighted.

Chapter II: The second chapter focuses on the legal basis for investing ESI Funds in independent living. It then examines the question whether investments into institutions (of any kind) are permissible under international and EU law.

Chapter III: The third chapter brings together examples of investments during the current programming period (2014 – 2020) and highlights key concerns identified by the disability community. Additional information about specific projects in Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania is presented in the form of case studies.

Chapter IV: The final chapter highlights some considerations for the future, considering that a new programming period begins in 2021 and that Member States have been provided with significant funds to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations set out in this chapter aim to ensure that no EU funds are used to place persons with disabilities in institutions.

Download the study in English
Download the study in Portuguese

Watch the video animation [English subtitles]
Watch the video animation [Portuguese subtitles]

The study is being launched today, on the 9th December, at 15:00 CET, at an online event organised by MEPs Matias and Gusmao. To attend, click here (passcode: 816092).

[Photo shows an institutions for children c0-funded by the EU in Upper Austria]