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Helena Dalli is a Commissioner at the European Union.
She works on the topic of equality.
Helena Dalli gave a speech at a meeting about
Here you can read an easy-to-read version of the speech:
Dear guests and colleagues,
Ten years ago, the EEG started to work
to get people out of institutions.
You have worked very hard for this.
We must now continue to work hard.
In Europe, there are people who still live in institutions, for example:
- people who have disabilities
- people who are homeless
We know that institutions are very bad for children.
But too many children still live in institutions.
Care in the community,
family care or personal care are better than institutions.
People who need care should not be segregated
or become dependent on their carers.
We want people to be independent.
I will give you the example of a young woman.
Her name is Caroline.
Thanks to her parents’ help
she is now living independently.
She works part time cleaning houses.
She likes swimming in the afternoon.
She is happy and takes part in society.
We need to get people out of the institutions
and into the community.
People with disabilities have the right to live independently.
They have the right to go to the same schools as everybody else.
We need everyone to be part of the society and to work.
We do not know how many people live in institutions in Europe.
This is bad.
We need to know more about this
so we can see how many people move out of institutions
We also need to talk about institutions.
Often people think institutions are safe places.
People think that institutions protect children
and people with disabilities from the outside world.
They think that especially about people with intellectual disabilities.
But people live better in a community.
We need to make sure
that people with disabilities have a place to go outside of the institutions.
There is still a lot of work to do on this.
The European Disability Strategy says that independent living is important.
The European Pillar of Social Rights says the same.
The Work-Life Balance Directive supports people who care for
family members with disabilities.
We talked about deinstitutionalisation
with fifteen countries of the European Union.
But of course we need to do much more.
I am proud to be the first European Commissioner for Equality.
I will fight to stop discrimination in Europe.
There are some people who get even more discriminated against
For example, it is more difficult for women with disabilities
to get a job
compared to men with disabilities.
More women than men with disabilities are poor.
This is bad.
I am worried about this.
I am happy to say that there will be a new European Disability Strategy for 2021.
Equality and inclusion will be very important in our work.
Independent living will also be very important.
We will make sure that our money is spent on independent living.
We will also make sure that all the European countries have a strategy
for independent living.
We will make sure that every child in Europe can get an education.
And that every child in Europe can go see a doctor or go to a hospital
when they need it.
This also includes children who are now living in institutions.
We have the same idea on independent living.
We need to work hard to make this idea a reality.
I am very happy to work with you for this goal:
a Europe where all people live free and independently.
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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