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Disability: New impetus for a barrier-free Europe – Commission Communication on European Disability Strategy published.

Disability: New impetus for a barrier-free Europe – Commission Communication on European Disability Strategy published.

2010. 11. 15.

Seven years ago, the European Commission published the previous European Disability Strategy which was a great impetus to the policy on people with disabilities at European level. It is important to bear in mind that since the coming-into-force of the Lisbon Treaty, along with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the basic and fundamental human rights, including the rights of people with disabilities in society, have been reinforced and shifted to the level of the EU Treaties. “Also, the Commission, the Council, as well as the Parliament, have already adopted several Resolutions, Directives, statements and other legal instruments to help the lives of people with disabilities”, highlighted Kósa.

“Over the past months, I have submitted several questions to the EU Institutions to clarify and address problems and difficulties people with disabilities face in their daily lives. I addressed questions with regards to disabled people on consumer protection; the effect of the UN Convention; the state aid policy during the financial crisis; the right to sign language; the wider accessibility of transport, including the prohibition of different pricing of transport measures and means; as well as on a more effective cohesion policy and the better integration of Structural Funds with special regard to regional policy, including the Danube Strategy”, said the Hungarian MEP.

“I fully support Commissioner Reding’s efforts to reinforce the policy and the already-existing tools of public procurement to help people with disabilities, especially in sheltered workshops. I strongly believe in the benefits of the European Accessibility Act which should be proposed by 2012 in an effort to enhance the progress of accessibility through Europe for people with disabilities and also the ageing population. The upcoming Hungarian EU Presidency will also have a key role in this process”, emphasised Kósa.

Although the new Strategy mentions information and communication technologies and systems (ICT) as relevant issues, further efforts should be made in exploring ways to use sign language and the Braille system in the EU Institutions. “As for employment policy, I believe that people should have more information on the high-quality and reasonable accommodation practices available and these should be easily accessible by companies, employers, as well as SMEs”, he continued.

“I fully agree that people with disabilities should be involved in the open labour market, but we should not forget that many of them have significant barriers in terms of training and education. However, we cannot ignore them and we should keep their needs in mind during the implementation of the EU2020 Strategy. Therefore, better integration of the Structural Funds should be strengthened in order to harmonise the supply and demand of the labour market in a more effective way, including supporting sheltered workshops. MEPs responsible in this field should also participate in the Disability High Level Group in order for better co-operation among the EU Institutions”, said Kósa.

“As in the past, I am looking forward to supporting all initiatives which aim to ease the lives of people with disabilities and I will further address this vulnerable group’s problems and represent their interests in the European Parliament”, he concluded.

European Commission Communication ‘Creating a barrier-free Europe’