EASPD is looking forward to participating actively in the debates around the next European Disability Strategy.
For the support services sector it is clear that to deliver high quality and individualised support there is a need for facilitating legal and financial frameworks that empower persons with disabilities.
If the EU is to look into a more practical approach, an “Agenda” instead of a “Strategy”, there is a need for both the EU and its Member States to take concrete steps to ensure that such services are able to deliver. Major challenges to the development of such services include underfunding in social services, staff shortages and difficulties in retaining qualified staff, the (re)training of staff to better understand and implement the convention, infrastructure investment gaps, and unsuitable legal frameworks in fields such as inclusive education, employment policies etc. These not only are concerns for service providers, but they have a direct (and detrimental) impact on the implementation of the UNCRPD and the lives of millions of persons with disabilities in Europe.
When looking at the process of deinstitutionalisation in a practical perspective, it also becomes apparent that successful inclusion can only be the result of a life-long, all-encompassing process. An EU Disability Rights Agenda should reflect this by underlining the importance of inclusion and social investment in each major milestone – early childhood detection and intervention, inclusive education, supported employment, supported decision-making – to truly achieve inclusive living. The major challenges for service providers in these fields have to be taken into account if they are to be effectively dealt with.
We have been vocal about these requirements for any future disability Strategy and Agenda and we will continue to do so in the coming months when the first proposal(s) will be put on the table.
EASPD Policy Manager