What has been done in the last 5 years to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in the European Union? To the question asked by the European Commission, the answer from persons with intellectual disabilities and their families is “not much”.
Inclusion Europe has welcomed the public consultation launched by the European Commission on the mid-term review of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 last December. We have collected the opinion of our members on the challenges they face in their everyday lives in the areas covered by the European Disability Strategy. Persons with intellectual disabilities and family members expressed their concerns and made recommendations to the European Union on how to address these challenges.
Furthermore, persons with disabilities should not represent a variable for financial adjustment in times of hardship. Since 2010, the economic crisis has affected all Europeans citizens but even more severely the already vulnerable group of persons with disabilities. Austerity measures and cuts have affected care and support services for persons with disabilities, with disastrous consequences on their daily lives. We call the European Commission to ensure that no economic factor will hinder the enjoyment of human rights for persons with disabilities.
In its submission, Inclusion Europe has underlined the lived experiences of persons with intellectual disabilities to draw the European Commission’s attention to the significant challenges they still face on a daily basis. We truly hope that the mid-term review of the European Disability Strategy will lead to concrete actions and the development of benchmarks and indicators to effectively assess the improvement in the areas covered by the Strategy. Only effective measures could lead to a completely barrier-free Europe for persons with disabilities by 2020.