The European Independent Living Day 2024

5th of May 2024

According to independent research, there are still at least 1,4 million disabled people living in institutions in the European Union. While many Member States are running EU funded projects to provide alternatives to institutions, such as personal assistance, many are building new institutions. In the previous year, ENIL submitted a complaint to the European Commission against Austria for EU funded segregation of children with disabilities.

During the negotiations for the European Disability Card, national governments categorically rejected all proposals to introduce a cross-border recognition of disability specific social services such as personal assistance. Instead, at the moment a regulation is being negotiated that would introduce cross-border recognition of guardianship regimes and placements in institutions. The European Commission and the national governments are reluctant to pursue reforms that would lead to more rights for disabled people, but are more likely to adopt changes that would strengthen segregation and exclusion.

This approach to disability is not helping but violating our human rights!

We ask the European Commission and the Member States to overcome their reluctance and muster political will to fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In its Guidance to Member States on Independent Living, the Commission should recommend to national authorities to provide disabled people without adequate support and those confined to institutions with packages to live in their own homes, with access to personal assistance and other services. A moratorium on new places in institutions is needed, so that financial resources can be used differently.

We ask the EU to exercise its competences in the matter of justice and equality and to use article 19 of the TFEU to legislate against institutions and in favour of community-based services.