European Disability Strategy 2010-2020
The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 was adopted on 15 November 2010. Persons with disabilities have the right to participate fully and equally in society and economy. Denial of equal opportunities is a breach of human rights.
A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe
Yet people with disabilities are poorer than other citizens of the EU, fewer of them have jobs, their opportunities to enjoy goods and services such as education, healthcare, transport, housing, and technology are more limited.
The reason is the still existing discrimination as well as physical and attitudinal barriers. They affect one in six citizens of the EU around 80 million people.
By signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the EU and all its EU countries have committed themselves to create a barrier-free Europe. Even though the EU countries have the main responsibilities, EU action is needed to complement national efforts.
The EU Treaties provide for combating discrimination of people with disabilities and the Charter of Fundamental Rights refers to their right to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.
The Strategy for the period 2010-2020 is a comprehensive framework committing the Commission to empowerment of people with disabilities to enjoy their full rights, and to removing everyday barriers in life.
The Strategy builds on the UNCRPD and takes into account the experience of the Disability Action Plan (2004-2010) .
Its objectives are pursued by actions in eight priority areas:
1. Accessibility : make goods and services accessible to people with disabilities and promote the market of assistive devices.
2. Participation : ensure that people with disabilities enjoy all benefits of EU citizenship; remove barriers to equal participation in public life and leisure activities; promote the provision of quality community-based services.
3. Equality : combat discrimination based on disability and promote equal opportunities.
4. Employment : raise significantly the share of persons with disabilities working in the open labour market.
5. Education and training : promote inclusive education and lifelong learning for students and pupils with disabilities.
6. Social protection : promote decent living conditions, combat poverty and social exclusion.
7. Health : promote equal access to health services and related facilities.
8. External action : promote the rights of people with disabilities in the EU enlargement and international development programmes.