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We live in fascinating times were things change so fast that we might not even notice the importance of certain developments.
Allow me to share a few remarkable recent trends that will have an impact on our sector and far beyond.
Istanbul, late September 2013. 350 delegates discuss employment of persons with a disability in Europe. I’m sure all delegates will agree that this event, organized by EASPD with the very much appreciated support and cooperation of the Turkish authorities, brought a few important changes of tendency to the surface.
First of all, there was a very strong involvement of the ILO Business and Disability Network: a group of multinational companies, employers’ organizations as well as disabled persons groups committed to identifying good practices, developing products and services that facilitate hiring and retention of disabled people.  After two decades promoting mainstreaming disability in the open labour market with very limited results, this cooperation might trigger a breakthrough continent-wide. Indeed, when it comes to employment opportunities, employers are key-actors.  It might sound self-evident but until now this was not really explored with them.
The event in Istanbul was attended by quite a large delegation from Iran. The president of Tevona, an Iranian NGO, took the floor and stated that we should invest more in inclusiveness and less in bombs and he proposed a better structured cooperation across cultures and borders. Was this the echo of what was happening in New York at the UN summit? Is it announcing a breakthrough in international politics? Sometimes we’re able to observe developments which go far beyond our sector, let’s be hopeful.
A few days ago, the Communication on the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was released. The EU policy makers implicitly admitted that the EMU construction is weak, not well organized and unbalanced. Finally. Indeed, a coherent monetary policy without convergence in social policies aiming at high quality social protection is not only an illusion, but it also is extremely dangerous for both economic stability and quality of life of the citizens. The Commission proposed a scoreboard to monitor the effects of financial and fiscal – austerity – policies. Social dialogue will be promoted. Is there room for improvement? Yes there is. The scoreboard might miss important tendencies only visible when taking a closer look and won’t have binding consequences; social dialogue is not fully developed yet in all sectors. But the good news is that there are signs of a change in attitudes. The Communication might help us to reconnect economy and social wellbeing of the citizens. We know where to start.
Luk Zelderloo