The European Commission hosted a two-day event in partnership with the European Disability Forum to mark the 2018 European Day of Persons with Disabilities. The audience brought together people that work every day to improve the lives of persons with disabilities such as persons with disabilities themselves, organisations of persons with disabilities, associations and companies, government representatives, EU institution representatives, academics and others.
This year’s event discussed the challenges, solutions and projects that are being prepared to improve policies for persons with disabilities.
The 2018 conference gave participants the opportunity to discuss the potential shape of the next European Disability Strategy and the possible ways it could be implemented with politicians, high level experts and self-advocates
The EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 also took centre stage and EASPD Secretary General Luk Zelderloo was invited to speak in a panel that discussed how the next MFF will contribute to the implementation of the new strategy. He said “The next MFF can and will help us to implement the CRPD. It will provide important building blocks to achieve and realise the ambition of the UN convention. But we need strong legal frameworks”
EASPD President Jim Crowe and EASPD executive comitte members were also in attendance and Mr. Crowe reminded the audience and speakers that when we talk about disability rights we must not forget to pay attention to how those rights can be implemented.
2018 is also the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the second day of the event raised the issue of accessibility of cultural heritage. It addressed what has been done so far and what the EU plans for its citizens with disabilities so that its cultural wealth can be enjoyed on an equal basis with other citizens. The Access City awards, an award that recognises efforts to improve accessibility, equal access in European cities and reduce marginalisation, were presented in a ceremony at the end of the two day conference by Ms Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. Winners were Breda, the Netherlands, Evreux, France and Gdynia, Poland.
Photo from 'European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2018' by DG EMPL, European Commission, under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.