AGE reviews the European Disability Strategy

Following the European Commission’s public consultation on the review of its disability strategy, AGE Platform Europe highlights our members’ perceptions of how its implementation has taken into account older persons with functional limitations.

To protect and promote the equal rights of approximately 80 million people in the EU living with disabilities, the EU ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010. The essential implementation the CRPD within the EU takes place through the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which identifies eight central areas for action: accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health and external action. The overarching goal of the strategy is to “build a barrier-free Europe for all”, particularly when taking into consideration Europe’s ageing population; it aims to do so by identifying implementation gaps and monitoring progress. To ensure relevant stakeholder involvement in this process, the European Commission recently launched a public consultation to assess the impact of the CRPD so far, into which AGE Platform Europe has inputted.

Despite the majority of people with disabilities being older, it is clear that many groups of or for older persons in Europe are not aware of how the CRPD is relevant for them. Drawing on the experiences of our membership, AGE made clear that while there has been improvement in some areas following the introduction of the strategy, older persons living with disabilities continue to be discriminated against in many ways that are divergent from the CRPD’s provisions. For example, by giving age limits for disability benefits, ageist assessments of the need for or allocation of resources, unequal access to healthcare and rehabilitation services, limited choices available to allow someone to remain living the community and a lack of access to social networks.

AGE looks forward to publication of the conclusions of this consultation, which will lead to the review of the EU Disability Strategy.

For more information you can contact Nena Georgantzi

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