Disability Services contribute directly to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and the European Disability Strategy by providing day to day care, employment and education services to millions of persons with disabilities across the European Union. They also provide indirect support to many informal and family carers, enabling them to have better work life balance and employment prospects. In short, disability services enable people to enjoy their social and human rights.
The sector has largely seen important improvements in the past few years, notably in terms of the transition to person-centred services in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Yet, such services continue to suffer from structural challenges which hinder their ability to provide the best possible support to persons with disabilities. These include a lack of recognition, underfunding, staff shortages and unsuitable legal frameworks. This limits social innovation and the continuity of support. The COVID19 pandemic has clearly exacerbated these challenges.
The European Union seems to be recognising these challenges and on the front foot for facilitating innovative social policy measures across Europe. Only in 2021, this will include plans for
- An Action Plan for the implementation of the EPSR,
- The next European Disability Strategy,
- The upcoming Child Guarantee,
- An Action Plan for the Social Economy.
The European Parliament will have a big role to play in the development of these initiatives. The following event will be an opportunity for Members of the European Parliament and service providers for persons with disabilities to come together to ensure that the ambitious EU social policy agenda responds to the needs of disability services and facilitates the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.