On the 3rd and 4th of December a COFACE Families Europe delegation attended conference for the European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2018, hosted by the European Commission, in partnership with the European Disability Forum (EDF).
During the two-day conference politicians, high-level experts and self-advocates discussed the challenges, the solutions and the projects that are being prepared for improving policies for persons with disabilities. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the potential shape of the next European Disability Strategy, but also the possible ways in which it could be implemented, notably in the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework. During the conference the 2019 Access City Award was assigned to the city of Breda, in the Netherlands, for continuously making improvements to make life easier for people with disabilities.
COFACE Families Europe issued a media release for this occasion congratulating the EU for the positive steps towards such as the greater accessibility of everyday products and services for persons with disabilities through the European Accessibility Act, establishing common accessibility requirements for key products and services such as phones, computers, payment terminals or self-service terminals, banking services, electronic communications including the 112 emergency number, and access to audio-visual media services. “Nevertheless, persons with disabilities and their families are still confronted with physical obstacles and discrimination, with continued barriers to employment, transport, buildings, leisure, education and political participation. This needs to be addressed urgently at all levels.” said Annemie Drieskens, the President of COFACE Families Europe.
On the 4th of December COFACE Families Europe co-signed the second edition of the Joint Declaration: Developing the Support Services of Tomorrow, together with the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASDP), EDF, the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL), Inclusion Europe, and Mental Health Europe. The Joint Declaration aims at providing a common understanding between signatories on the direction support services should take to enable full inclusion. It also lays the ground for future discussions and cooperation between signatories towards this end. The common discussion and action will be built around the four articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Article 12 on equal recognition before the law, Article 19 on independent living, Article 24 on education and Article 27 on work and employment.
Immediately after the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference on 4 December, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) held a seminar to launch the findings of its fieldwork research on drivers and barriers of deinstitutionalisation. The seminar was hosted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the European Expert Group on transition from institutional to community-based care, and provided an opportunity to discuss how policymakers and practitioners can implement successful deinstitutionalisation processes.
COFACE Families Europe Media release: Barriers to accessibility for individuals with disabilities create barriers for the family as a whole
European Commission website of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2018, including programme and presentations