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.
This certainly was a good start. But it’s only the first step. Making a resolution that can be adopted by the European Parliament, bringing it on the agenda on the right moment and securing that there is a majority to vote yes on this proposal, isn’t an easy job for a grassroots organization like ENIL is. We informed ourselves and spoke with specialists on European policy to develop an effective strategy for pushing our resolution. We certainly learned a lot and are working hard to bring this good advice in effect.
The last few weeks we communicated our resolution with a number of important European focused organizations and NGOs. We asked them to support us with it. The content of the text stayed the same, we didn’t allow any amendments or changes. If they agreed on the document as it is, they were asked to put their logo under the document as a supporting organization. They can promote the resolution on their own websites and in their newsletters and were asked to use their political contacts to help us with the lobby work. This process of seeking support for our resolution with other European organizations was very successful. You can find the full text of the ENIL resolution with the list of the supporting organizations below. In the next weeks this list could still grow.
We will keep you informed on the progress we make with our work on this!