The European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities warmly welcomes and supports the launch of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 on 15th November 2010 by Justice and Fundamental Rights Commissioner Viviane Reding.
The new European Disability Strategy “A renewed commitment for a Barrier-free Europe” sets out a series of strategies and actions to improve equality for people with disabilities and break down barriers that prevent them from fully enjoying their rights as citizens and consumers. Unfortunately it does not fully reflect the needs for adequate high quality support services for persons with disabilities to enable them to achieve this equality.
EASPD President Franz Wolfmayr said: “The new European Disability Strategy is of vital importance for persons with disabilities and the disability sector in Europe. We very much welcome that a clear and long-term strategy has been developed to ensure that across the European Union people with disabilities can live as equal citizens. We especially acknowledge the clear recognition by the European Commission of the need for community-based services in order to meet the everyday needs of people with disabilities. However, what is missing is a discrete section on social and health services. For many people with disabilities, it is crucial to ensure access to sustainable and quality social services which respond to the diversity of needs. The absence of such services can have a hugely detrimental impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families.
EASPD also regrets that the Commission has not taken the opportunity to express again their commitment to tackle discrimination against informal and family carers and to improve the working conditions of professional carers.
Finally we are seriously concerned that the European Commission has not developed a strategy on how to tackle the consequences of the financial crisis for persons with disabilities and social care services, since unsophisticated austerity measures across Europe significantly endanger the provision of social services and consequently significantly lower the quality of life of persons with disabilities.”
The Commission has promised to take action in a number of specific areas such as establishment of EU-wide disability parking cards and to improve the accessibility of transport and public buildings. Another key priority is enabling persons with disabilities to participate fully in the information society, tying in with the EU's Digital Agenda. The Commission will also consider whether to propose a “European Accessibility Act” by 2012 to further develop the single market for accessible products and services.
During the next few years, up until the end of 2013, the implementation of the strategy will be financed through current programmes such as the European Social Fund, the Progress programme and the 7th Framework programme for research.
Further information: Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General EASPD
Press contact: Ms Charlotte Boetticher, tel. +32 2 282 46 10, email@example.com
All our press releases can be downloaded from www.easpd.eu