As part of the Strasbourg Freedom Drive, ENIL held a meeting in the European Parliament to mark the ten year anniversary of the Freedom Drive.
One of the key calls from this meeting was for a Commissioner on Disability to be appointed. As a result of this meeting, Marian Harkin, an Irish MEP (and member of the ALDE Group) who participated in this meeting has since followed up on this suggestion and shown her support to ENIL.
She has since submitted a written declaration to the EU Parliament to request the European Commission directorate for disability. She is supported by Alejandro Cercas (S&D), Cecilia Wikström (ALDE), Nessa Childers (NI), Ádám Kósa (PPE), Csaba Sógor (PPE), Edward McMillan Scott (ALDE), Csaba İry (PPE), Antigoni Papadopoulou (S&D), Gay Mitchell (PPE) and Kinga Göncz (S&D).
This request has been submitted based on the fact that over 80 million persons with disabilities face considerable barriers in accessing education, employment and goods and services in the EU, leading to greater social exclusion and poverty.
Support for this demand can be found in:
Article 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Articles 21 and 26 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the new accessibility-related rules under the new regulation governing all European Structural and Investment Funds from 2014 provide that persons with disabilities should benefit from all possible EU measures and actions to ensure their independence and social inclusion.
Article 4 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to which the EU is party, requires States Parties ‘to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the UN Convention’ in all policies and programs.
The request is for the Commission to establish a directorate responsible for disability affairs, including an advisory board of disabled experts.
ENIL welcomes the support from Marian Harkin and the other MEPs who have signed the written declaration. We are too often met by smiling faces of people who express support but who in reality do not understand the issues nor work in a way to advance the situation for disabled people.
This written declaration is one of the tangible results of the Strasbourg Freedom Drive and we would like you to encourage your MEP to sign this written declaration and show their support. The signature of at least half the Members of the European Parliament ( 383 signatures) is necessary. If the majority of MEPs sign the declaration within three months it is published in the minutes of the sitting as an adopted text. Please contact your local MEP and ask them to sign this written declaration. A list of MEPs and their contact details can be found at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html