On 17th February 2016, the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) met in Brussels to discuss its role in promoting the rights of people with disabilities and how the UN Convention is being monitored and implemented in the EU and its Member States.
The European Parliament (EP) is currently drafting a report in response to the recommendations made by the UNCRPD Committee, as part of its examination of how the EU has implemented the provisions of the Convention. According to the ‘Concluding Observations’ recently adopted by the Committee, the EU is asked to mainstream disability across all its law and policy and also to ensure that neither the European Commission nor Parliament acts as a monitoring and implementation body at the same time.
MEPs and representatives from all organisations involved with the ‘EU Monitoring Framework’, which is responsible for monitoring and promoting the implementation of the UNCRPD by the EU, were given the opportunity to discuss how the EU should address the UN recommendations. Speakers included Helga Stevens MEP (Rapporteur for the European Parliament, ECR Group), Michael O’Flaherty (Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights), Emily O’Reilly (European Ombudsman) and Gunta Anca (Vice President of the European Disability Forum). The UN was represented by Diane Kingston (member of the UNCRPD Committee) and Jan Jařab (Regional Representative for Europe of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights).
This debate highlighted some of the most crucial areas to work on – including a more careful direction of EU funds to promote community-based care, the adoption of the Accessibility Act that would improve accessibility of buildings and communication tools, and the disproportionate effect of continued austerity measures on people with disabilities in Europe.
For more information you may contact Nena Georgantzi, Policy Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org