On 20 September, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), the Centre for Independent Living Sofia (CIL Sofia), the Validity Foundation and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) submitted a petition to the Petitions Committee (PETI Committee) at the European Parliament. The petition concerns the planned use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) for building group homes for people with disabilities and older people, as part of the Bulgarian Government’s efforts to deinstitutionalise the long-term care system.

Despite being referred to as an example of ‘good practice’ when it comes to deinstitutionalisation of children, by the Bulgarian Government and other stakeholders, Bulgaria has placed hundreds of disabled children into small institutions, rather than provided them with family-based care and support. Between 2007 and 2013, Bulgaria has built 140 group homes for 1,845 children and plans to continue with the construction of such facilities for adults with disabilities and older people in the current ESIF programming period (2014 – 2020).

In the petition, we proposed a number of actions to be taken by the European Commission and the Bulgarian Government, in order to ensure that Bulgaria’s deinstitutionalisation measures comply with Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – i.e. the right to live independently and to be included in the community.

On 20 February, five months after submitting the petition, we were informed by the PETI Committee that the petition falls within the remit of the Committee. We were further told that the Committee has requested the European Commission ‘to conduct a preliminary investigation of the various aspects of the problem’, based on the information we submitted. The Committee also forward the petition to the Employment and Social Affairs, the Regional Development and Budgets Committees in the European Parliament, for their information.

Once the Committee receives the Commission’s response, it will continue with the investigation. We will keep you posted about the petition’s progress.

Support the petition

The petition is now available to supporters and we would like to invite everyone who agrees with its content to show their support. To read the petition, please follow this link.

To indicate that you support the petition, please follow these steps:

  1. Create an account on the PETI Committee website: click here
  2. Use your credentials (user name and password) to log in.
  3. Click on ‘Support a petition’
  4. In the field ‘Keyword’, type in the reference number of the petition: 0865/2018
  5. Click on the name of the petition and in the bottom right corner, click on the button: Support this petition

Thank you for your support!