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Include the disabled © European Union, Christopher Azzopardi

As full citizens, people with disabilities have equal rights and are entitled to dignity, equal treatment, independent living and full participation in society. Enabling people with disabilities to enjoy these rights is the main purpose of the EU's long-term strategy for their active inclusion.

It's all about access to equal rights

The EU promotes the active inclusion and full participation of disabled people in society, in line with the EU human rights approach to disability issues. Disability is a rights issue and not a matter of discretion. This approach is also at the core of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which the EU is a signatory.

In 2010 the European Commission adopted the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 Choose translations of the previous link . The Strategy builds on the UNCRPD and takes into account the experience of the Disability Action Plan (2004-2010) Choose translations of the previous link . The European principle is: 'Nothing about disabled people without disabled people '.

The Commission also supports the Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED), which provides the Commission with analysis of national situations, policies and data. ANED also manages the Online Tool that provides an overview of the key instruments in the Member States and the EU needed for the implementation of the UNCRPD. The creation of the Tool is one of the actions foreseen in the List of Actions (2010-2015) pdf български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv) accompanying the European Disability Strategy. A description of the Tool is in the Commission staff working paper pdf български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv) accompanying the European Disability Strategy.

Finding and keeping jobs

People with disabilities represent around one-sixth of the EU's overall working-age population, but their employment rate is comparatively low. Disabled people are almost twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people. Yet with a little more help millions of disabled Europeans could enter or re-enter the jobs market.

The EU Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs aims in particular to improve the comparatively low work participation rates of Europe's disabled people.

EU countries set their own employment policies on the basis of the European Employment Strategy (EES). They report back yearly to the European Commission on national employment initiatives, including those for disability.

The EU's policy efforts on Social Protection and Social Inclusion support EU countries in developing policy for social inclusion, health care and social services. This will improve the chances for disabled people to find and keep work.

Education for all

Equal access to quality education and lifelong learning enable disabled people to participate fully in society and improve their quality of life.

The European Commission supports the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education. It has launched several educational initiatives for disabled people. These include the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education as well as a specific study group on disability and lifelong learning.

EU programmes like the Lifelong Learning programme Choose translations of the previous link  are bringing the education and training of disabled people into the mainstream.

Living independently

The aim is to provide disabled people with the same individual choices and control over their daily lives as non-disabled people.

Care and support services are to be tailored more to the specific needs of people with disabilities. The European Commission promotes:

  • affordable, accessible and quality social services;
  • support through consolidated social and inclusion provisions.

The EU also supports the case for the de-institutionalisation of disabled people. The European Commission funds studies on the delivery of community-based services needed by disabled people to attain the right levels of security, freedom and independence for community living.

Please find here all the documents related to people with disabilities Choose translations of the previous link .