Last month, the European parliament rejected with a large majority the agreement reached by leaders of the 27 member states on the EU budget for 2014-2020. President Schulz said more than once that the assembly of Strasbourg could not have accepted a budget that was not able to meet the EU’s development needs and objects, as outlined in the Europe 2020 strategy. In this complex context, how much room will there be for European programmes and projects for disability?
“Talks between the three main actors (Council, Commission and Parliament) are currently ongoing and hard to find easily a common agreement,” says Ádám Kósa, president of the European parliament’s intergroup on disability. “The eurozone and the whole integration is facing a deepening recession and decision makers only consider cutting costs instead of taking contra-cyclical supporting measures and active policies. It is not the best circumstances,” continued the Hungarian minister, “where the disability matter comes to the table. The willingness of the policy makers to make the lives of the people living with disability easier is likely to be lacking.”
“Even though the multi-annual budget can contribute much better to developing disability related projects.” For the first deaf European parliamentary minister, the next budget will be based on the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, which include permanent training, social inclusion and education. All matters that are of particular interest to the lives of people with disabilities. “As president of the Disability intergroup, I am working to promote the implementation of the rights of people with disabilities since they are often neglected; also working closely with the European Disability Forum to find the best solutions to increase main-streaming about disability-related topics.”
While the European institutions continue to debate the budget, there is so far no sign of concrete measures for the 80 million people with disabilities in Europe. However, many MEPs are maintaining the focus on the issue with queries and parliamentary initiatives. In 2011, the Strasbourg assembly adopted Kósa’s report on mobility and social integration. “The free movement of labour is one of the most important acquis of the EU, however, it is often incomprehensible for people with disabilities. It often happens,” says the MEP, “that a person with disability cannot use his disability card in another country. An initiative has been made by the Commission and a large debate is currently ongoing at the European level on the sound implementation of a new European Disability Card promoting more inclusion.”
If you want to improve the life of people with disabilities, Ádám Kósa believes there is also a need “to call the attention of national as well as local policy makers in order to have the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities enhanced and promoted.” He also believes it is necessary to have the convention ratified by the EU and by nearly all the member states. There is much to do, starting with the adoption of common criteria for construction, which would guarantee accessibility and open up the labour market to people with disabilities. “I am pretty sure that our work will only be successful if the responsible national bodies understand the needs and are willing to work for them in cooperation with the NGOs in this field,” concludes Kósa.
Source: West – Welfare Society Territory