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Europe

People with disabilities

The participation of people with disabilities is a key issue, also at European level. Guaranteeing equality and social inclusion of people with disabilities is a question of fundamental rights, and benefits the whole of society benefits.

European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

For the past decade, the European Commission's "European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe" has been the fundamental policy instrument for the participation of people with disabilities and their organisations. The strategy has eight priority areas Accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health and external action.

It is designed to help implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the EU level and has led to the following legislative measures and initiatives:

  • the directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies,
  • the European directive on the accessibility requirements for products and services (EAA),
  • the regulations concerning the rights of persons with reduced mobility when travelling by rail, air, sea or bus,
  • the EU disability card project, which is designed to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel across member states. It has been tested in eight Member States and is now being evaluated before being pursued further.
  • External action, such as funding at least 400 disability-specific projects in over 100 countries, mainly in partnership with civil society actors, and supporting partner governments' efforts to implement and monitor the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and
  • an accompanying action plan with 100 measures in all eight areas covered by the strategy.

In the Commission's Communication "A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions" it was announced that the Commission will present a new, enhanced disability strategy in 2021, which builds on the results of the ongoing evaluation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.