Removing barriers for the people with disabilities

The Commission will table the strategy for the next decade early next year

Photo: Maria Koleva At their Freedom Drive last year hundreds of disabled people in wheelchairs and their friends gathered in Brussels to voice a strong appeal for independent and free life.

Looking ahead towards the European Disability Strategy 2021-2030, the Commission published an evaluation of the outgoing one for 2010-2020. It is reviewing the implementation of the strategy and is providing conclusions that can be used as a basis for future policy development.

The strategy aims to empower persons with disabilities to enjoy their full rights and to benefit from participating in society on an equal basis with others. It also implements the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at EU level.

The 10-year evaluation shows that, while there is room for improvement, the strategy had a positive impact on EU rules and policies.

A good example of its positive impact is the inclusion of disability issues in EU legislation and policy, with the adoption of the European Accessibility Act, the Web Accessibility Directive and legislation on the rights of passengers. We have achieved a strong legal framework at EU level to eliminate barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in society.

We have to keep up our efforts, Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli stressed adding that early next year, the Commission will present a reinforced strategy for 2021-2030. The new strategy will build on the progress achieved and the challenges identified in the present evaluation.

Involving persons with disabilities and organisations representing them in the policy-design of the strategy has contributed to its positive results, notably in making sure that issues that really matter to them were high on the EU's agenda. Despite the efforts of the EU and its Member States, people with disabilities continue to face challenges, like high rates of unemployment or poverty.

The strategy for the next decade will build on the results of this evaluation and will address emerging issues such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities.

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