The objectives of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy cannot be attained without the active involvement of disabled people, ie some 80 million individuals (16% of the population). Such is the European Parliament’s message in a non-legislative resolution on the mobility and inclusion of disabled persons and the 2010-2020 strategy in favour of disabled persons, adopted on 25 October.
According to the latest statistics, the drop-out rate in education and the unemployment rate of disabled persons is at least twice as high as the rate of able persons and the poverty rate among disabled persons is 70% higher than the average rate. To address this situation, MEPs call on member states and the European Commission to take concrete measures in terms of mobility and social inclusion. They state that a “welcome development” in terms of free movement of persons and barrier-free services would be the introduction of a unified European mobility card for reciprocal recognition of care for people with disabilities. This would allow disabled persons to study, work and travel more freely.
MEPs stress the enormous importance of employment on the ordinary labour market for disabled persons and call on the Commission and the governments of member states to adopt legal and financial measures which truly encourage the employment of disabled persons. Lastly, MEPs encourage the creation of special forms of leave so that parents can take care of their children with disabilities and urge that the commitment shown and the work performed by parents of children with disabilities should be recognised by being counted as professional experience and by being specifically taken into account when old-age pension entitlements are calculated.
This non-legislative resolution, drafted by the chamber’s only deaf MEP, Ádám Kósa (EPP, Hungary), follows from the EU’s 2010-2020 strategy on disability. Adopted in late 2010, this Commission communication provides a framework for European action and includes measures that can be taken at a national level in order to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. While MEPs welcome this initiative, they regret that the Commission’s communication does not include an integrated gender perspective or a separate chapter on gender-specific disability policies. MEPs recall that the Commission pledged to present a legislative proposal for a European Accessibility Act, and stress the need for strong, binding measures at EU level, with a clear road map. MEPs also call for the adoption of the necessary measures to help the visually impaired to carry out business transactions.