HUNGARIAN COUNCIL OF DISABLED PERSON'S ORGANISATION FESZT
european disability forum EDF
THE DISABILITY MOVEMENT WANTS FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
Budapest, 29 May 2011 /// From 27th to 29th of May; the 15th Annual General Assembly of the European Disability Forum (EDF) gathered the whole disability movement in Budapest. Among all the important topics, the 200 participants focused on how to make sure the European Union will guarantee freedom of movement for all persons with disabilities.
"Collaboration, consultation and involvement - the fundamentals of a democratic society, the fundamentals of Europe! In this trying time, governments need to remember that they have to include us in all the decisions about us: Nothing about us without us." Reminded Yannis Vardakastanis, EDF President. This, he said is one of the strong messages we should carry out from this annual assembly.
Free movement of persons with disabilities was the second important discussion point. The European Union says it guarantees freedom of movement for all of its citizens. But persons with disabilities still face major difficulties when travelling or going to study, work and live in another European country. The disability movement discussed and proposed the necessary measures to make sure the EU will improve the lives of people with disabilities. The important issue of accessibility to all has been raised from a human rights perspective: Rodolfo Cattani, EDF Executive Member stressed "There are diverse needs for persons with disabilities, in relation to the diverse aspect of accessibility. Needs are not universal. But rights are universal. And nobody can enjoy human rights, to which they do not have access."
>The European Accessibility Act
Total accessibility implies a binding European Accessibility Act. Overall, the issue of accessibility is vital as it is essential for participation in society. For this reason, a seminar on accessibility and the present legislation in the EU was held with the support of the Hungarian Public Foundation for the Equal Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities. On this issue, the European Commission will present in 2012 a European Accessibility Act setting out a general framework for accessibility in relation to goods and services. The only acceptable way is to include and listen to the disability movement when preparing this Act.
The disability movement wants the European Accessibility Act to take the form of a Directive. This would clearly establish the requirement of accessibility on the relevant sectors, but leave Member States sufficient freedom to take into account their national characteristics.
A further tool to really improve free movement would be the European mobility card. This would ease travelling between Member States as the holder of this card would be granted the same status and benefits anywhere in Europe. In this sense, the European Accessibility Act will become the instrument and the mobility card a tool for granting free movement to persons with disabilities.
>Crisis: feeling the brunt
The crisis is hitting us hard in Europe. Austerity measures are now causing alarming situations for persons with disabilities. Yannis Vardakastanis vigorously claimed "We are not responsible for this crisis and the disability movement will fight to ensure that 80 million persons with disabilities are not the first to pay!"
- Read the European Mobility Card Position Paper here
- All you Need to Know about Freedom of Movement- The Toolkit!
- Check all PHOTOS from the General Assembly online.
Hungarian Federation of People with Disabilities (FESZT) is an umbrella organization gathering the representatives of the seven largest Hungarian disability associations, representing the interests of 600 000 people altogether. The Federation founded in 2001 focuses on common issues such as improving the situation of education and employment and equal accessibility, to which effective cooperation between the different disability groups is essential.
The European Disability Forum is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. The mission of EDF is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe. EDF is a member of the Social Platform and works closely to the European institutions, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. www.edf-feph.org
>Contact FESZT: Fruzsina Balogh | communication and media officer | M +36 70 371 9363 | firstname.lastname@example.org
>Contact EDF: Aurélien Daydé | communication and media officer | M +32 485 64 39 93 | email@example.com
Communication and media officer
European Disability Forum | nothing about us without us
Square de Meeus 35 | 1000 Brussels Belgium
T +32 2 282 46 04 | M +32 485 64 39 93 | F +32 2 282 46 09
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we want freedom of movement