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European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities: inclusion of disabled people is key to a sustainable European economy.

European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities: inclusion of disabled people is key to a sustainable European economy.

2012. 12. 07.

Following the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, the third European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities was held today. Nearly five hundred participants represented the EU's 80 million disabled people. The event focused on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with special regard to the current crisis.

In his closing remarks, Ádám Kósa, Chairman of the EP Disability Intergroup, pointed out that the European Parliament's report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities adopted last year had set various requirements for the European Commission and Member States. Amongst these, he highlighted the strengthening of an investment-based approach, the need for individualized and tailor-made support and the promotion of better access to information. In this regard, he argued for a stronger role for the EP: "We need to empower the European Parliament when implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," he stated.

As Kósa noted, the involvement of people with disabilities in the process of legislating and negotiation is a fundamentally important approach – one that came out of close consultations by the MEP with civil society during the preparation of his report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities in 2011 – a unique and remarkable moment in the history of the EP.

Highlighting the importance of the inclusion of disabled people in the European economy, Mr Kósa said: "The creation and promotion of an accessible working environment for disabled people is essential for an ageing Europe. The participation of these groups in the labour market would help rebalance Member States' budgets and increase employment levels. The Accessibility Act due to be presented this year by the European Commission should make a major contribution to this effort". He urged the Commission to present its Accessibility Act as soon as possible and expressed his hope that the regulation itself would be as effective as the international disability movement expects.

Background: this event was initiated by the European Disability Forum and took place thanks to the cooperation of numerous MEPs and European institutions. The EU institutions were represented at the highest levels.

The Kósa report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the new EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 was adopted by the EP last October. The report was a result of long and broad consultations between all stakeholders, including political groups, a wide range of disability-related NGOs, the Hungarian EU Presidency and the European Commission. It aims to introduce a revolutionary approach to disability.