EU Parliament calls for a new ambitious EU Disability Strategy (Press Release)

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What the Parliament wants in the new EU Disability Strategy

The European Parliament wants an inclusive society in which the rights of people living with disabilities are protected and adapted to individual needs and where there is no discrimination.

On 18 June Parliament adopted a resolution with its priorities for a new EU Disability Strategy post 2020, building upon the current European Disability Strategy for 2010-2020.

Parliament wants the EU to lead in promoting the rights of people with disabilities and calls for an ambitious, comprehensive and well-funded strategy based on the principles of diversity and full inclusion.

The resolution calls on the European Commission for:

  • A new strategy to be developed in close cooperation with people with disabilities, their families and organisations
  • A gender-based approach to address specific forms of discrimination against women and girls
  • The mainstreaming of the rights of all people living with disabilities into all policies and areas
  • Clear and measurable targets and regular monitoring
  • Recovery and mitigation measures to avoid people with disabilities getting disproportionally affected by health crises such as Covid-19
  • Equal access for people with disabilities to health care, employment, public transport, housing
  • The implementation and further development of the EU disability card pilot project, which allows for mutual recognition of disabilities in some EU countries
  • A common EU definition of disability
People living with disabilities in Europe: facts and figures  
  • There are an estimated 100 million people with disabilities in the EU 
  • The employment rate of persons with disabilities (aged 20-64) stands at 50.6%, compared to 74.8% for people without disabilities. (2017) 
  • 28.7% of persons with disabilities in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to 19.2% of the general population. (2018) 
  • 800,000 people living with disabilities are denied the right to vote in the EU 

A man working in an amputee shop on the production of a prosthetic extremity parts.©Hedgehog94/AdobeStock  

EU disability measures so far

The European Disability Strategy was put in place to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
  • An international legally binding human rights treaty setting minimum standards to protect the rights of people with disabilities 
  • The EU and all member states have ratified it 
  • Both EU and member states are obliged to implement the obligations, according to their competences 

Among the concrete initiatives launched thanks to the European Disability Strategy is the European Accessibility Act, which ensures that more products and services like smartphones, tablets, ATMs or e-books are accessible to people with disabilities.

The directive on web accessibility means people with disabilities have easier access to online data and services online because websites and apps operated by public sector institutions, such as hospitals, courts or universities, are required to be accessible.

The Erasmus+ student exchange programme promotes the mobility of participants with disabilities.

Find out more on EU policies for a more social Europe

Next steps

The European Commission announced in January that it will present a new disability strategy in 2021.


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