With up to a quarter of EU citizens declaring some degree of impairment or disability, far too many people still face barriers to education, travelling to other EU countries or finding work.
This week, the S&D Group is leading the European Parliament in calling for more to be done to protect the rights of people with disabilities in the EU.
In response to the steady flow of petitioners raising concerns over the barriers faced by people with disabilities in recent years, S&D MEPs took the floor in yesterday’s plenary debate to call for the EU to step up its action in guaranteeing equal rights in the EU.
Concrete proposals by S&D MEP Alex Agius Saliba in his report voted today include a mandatory roll-out of an EU-wide Disability Card by the end of 2023, helping people with disabilities to exercise their right to free movement.
S&D MEP Alex Agius Saliba, rapporteur and S&D spokesperson for petitions, said: “Citizens regularly get in touch with the Petitions Committee to raise their concerns about barriers faced by persons with disabilities when it comes to accessibility, social protection and employment rights in the EU. It is unacceptable that people with disabilities still face obstacles in various aspects of their daily life, such as access to public transport and challenges in the built environment, in the use of sign languages, financing or access to education and vocational training. In light of the new EU disability strategy, the European Disability Card is one of the most important tools to help persons with disabilities to exercise their right to free movement. We need to see mutual recognition of disability status across all EU member states and we can achieve this by making the European Disability Card mandatory. The European Parliament has a duty to respond to citizens’ concerns, to improve the lives of people with disabilities in a barrier-free Europe. This is fundamental to achieve social and economic inclusion and the participation of persons with disabilities in society, free from discrimination and fully respecting their rights on an equal basis with others.”