To help people with disabilities travel more easily between EU countries, the EU is developing a voluntary system of mutual recognition of disability status and some associated benefits based on an EU disability card.
Currently, there is no mutual recognition of disability status between EU Member States, leading to difficulties for people with disabilities, as their national disability cards might not be recognised in other Member States.
The EU disability card ensures equal access to benefits across borders for people with disabilities, mainly in the areas of culture, leisure, sport and transport. The card is mutually recognised between EU countries participating in the system, on a voluntary basis.
A pilot of the card was launched in February 2016 in a group of eight EU countries:
The card does not change national eligibility criteria or rules. Member States retain their discretion to decide who is eligible to receive the Card, using the national definition of disability, and to determine the issuing procedure.
In 2019 the European Commission has started the assessment process of the initiative. The assessment study will provide a comprehensive and concise review, analysis and assessment of the implementation of the pilot project, to facilitate the possible wider implementation of the disability card in the EU.