Disabilities: promoting disability requires a joint European commitment! Ádám Kósa MEP

Disabilities: promoting disability requires a joint European commitment! Ádám Kósa MEP

2011. 09. 07.

The aim of the Hearing was to provide a forum on which notable representatives of the highest political decision-makers and the civil sphere could discuss the new EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the Kósa Report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities. In his opening speech, Ádám Kósa, the only deaf MEP in the European Parliament, highlighted: "Explicit measures must be taken in order to handle employment challenges in accordance and compliance with the provisions of the UN Convention for protecting people with disabilities." The Hungarian MEP also underlined that the European Parliament must play a more significant role in implementing the international standards and legislation with a stronger involvement of the MEPs.

The Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, pointed out that the most important result of the Kósa Report could be the strong support for the European Accessibility Act which will be drafted in the near future after a broad public consultation launch in October. In his speech, László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, highlighted that the Report could notably contribute to improving the accessibility of structural funds for people with disabilities.

Csaba Őry MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament, emphasised that the approach in this field needed to be altered to a European level. He reassured that diversified occupational forms were needed with special emphasis on atypical employment opportunities. Mr Őry reiterated that the exclusion of disabled people from the labour market was causing serious economic harms. He also urged that the European Structural Funds should pay more attention to reaching a higher percentage of the involvement of people with disabilities in the next financial programming period.

Among other notable speakers at the Hearing were Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights; Donata Vivanti, Vice-President of the European Disability Forum; Jürgen Auer, Director of Lebenshilfe Landesverband Bayern-Germany, as well as László Lovászy, expert on disability and university lecturer (ELTE) on disability law.

The event was preceded by consultations with disability NGOs at Hungarian and European level, the European Commission as well as the Hungarian Government which held the EU Presidency in the first half of 2011. In June, the Kósa Report was adopted with a huge majority in the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs. The document is expected to be voted on at the EP plenary session at the end of September.