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EU-UN dislogue on the issue of disability

EU-UN dislogue on the issue of disability

2011. 12. 07.

Speakers at the meeting included László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Socail Affairs and Inclusion; Olivér Várhelyi, Ambassador, Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU; Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, Vice President of the World Bank for Human Development and Martin Krayer von Krauss, Project Manager at the European Centre for Environment and Health of the World Health Organization. Representatives of several NGOs also were present; Lars Bosselmann of the internatinal organisation Christian Blind Mission and Javier Güemes, Acting Director of the European Disability Forum both took the floor.

 
In his opening speech, MEP Kósa pointed out: "The new classification system of the WHO, published in 2001, established a shift of approach in the attitude towards people with disabilities. According to this principle, persons with disabilities are not patients in need of medical treatment, but rather people whose situation can be measured and improved by taking their environmental and personal features into account." "For this reason, it is no coincidence that my report on the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities, adopted on 25 October 2011, deals with this new, more flexible system, which promises to increase the share of people with disabilities in the labour market", the EPP Group MEP said.
 
In their presentations, Vice President Atinc and Dr Krauss introduced the World Disability Report, published jointly in October 2011. More than 380 experts and 70 countries took part in preparing the publication, which corresponds fully to the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the European Union in January this year.
 
Commissioner Andor made the point in his speech that disability is not merely an economic issue but also a significant aspect of the fight against poverty and stressed the importance of accessibility to suitable health and social services. He reminded the audience that the principal of equal opportunities is a core value of European politics and announced that the European Commission has ordered a detailed study, which will analyse the costs and expenditures of disability. In today's ageing European society, this may become especially important in the interest of sustainable development. "The European Social Fund must continue to play a key role in the next financial framework, in order to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities, apart from other measures and groups" – said the Commissioner in his closing remarks.
 
Olivér Várhelyi highlighted that "Hungary has always been committed to the situation of people with disabilities, and it was for this reason that the issue of disability was one of the priorities of the Hungarian Presidency." The ambassador pointed out that the Hungarian Presidency supported this position during the summer EPSCO consultation of the European Council, the conclusions of which serve as a framework of the European Commission's disability strategy for 2010- 2020. Therefore, the ambassador added, MEP Kósa's report, reflecting the position of the European Parliament, gives reason for further confidence.