On 10 October 2018, MEP Brando Benifei, on behalf of the European Parliament Intergroup on Child Rights and the Disability Intergroup, hosted a technical meeting which brought together the members of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG), Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and European Commission officials to discuss the future of the EU funds for the transition from institutional to community-based care.
Sabrina Ferraina, co-chair of the EEG, opened the discussion by highlighting the role of the current European funds in the transition from institutional to community-based care, benefiting children and families, people with disabilities and people with mental health problems. “Yet, more than 1 million children, persons with disabilities, people with mental health problems and homeless people” she added “continue to live in long stay residential institutions, segregated from society in Europe”.
MEP Helga Stevens mentioned that references to non-discrimination and accessibility have been deleted from the proposed Common Provision Regulation (CPR) while these principles are included in the article 7 of the current CPR and that “Accessibility, as well as participation of persons with disabilities, should be part of the criteria when selecting projects eligible for EU funding. Clear and transparent accessibility provisions should be included in the CPR proposal.” EEG member Katerina Nanou agreed with MEP Stevens and stated “The EEG community is glad to see that the ex-ante conditionality 9.1, which played an important role during the 2014-2020 funding period as it prioritised deinstitutionalsiation reforms in 12 Member States, has now been strengthened,”. She added that although it is important to have the Partnership Principle included in the proposed regulations, the European Code of Conduct on Partnership requires further revision, based on the lessons learned in the current funding period.
EEG member Nadia Hadad stated that in the next funding period, Erasmus+ needs to support independent living and that it cannot subsidise institutions that segregate persons with disabilities nor staff costs in institutional care. Ms Hadad added that it is important to ensure that in the next ESF+ the earmarking for social inclusion should be increased to 30%.
MEP Ward reminded the historic signing of the European Pillar on Social Rights, which needs to be translated into a real change through funds that must keep on supporting the transition from institutional to community-based care.
Andor Urmos, Policy Analyst at DG REGIO, said that simplification in the proposed regulations for the next MFF is done not only to get rid of bureaucracy, to simplify access to funding and to avoid misinterpretations. EEG member Susanne Bosman from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that although the EEG community understands the rules of simplification, it is important to re-introduce the transition from institutional to community-based care as an investment priority in the proposed ERDF regulations. “We need to ensure that these regulations clearly indicate that no funds can be used for the segregation of people,” Ms Bosman concluded.
Milan Šveřepa, EEG Co-Chair closed the meeting by thanking all participants for the discussion. “I remain confident that the EU will continue championing the rights of people in vulnerable situations who are either at risk of or are being institutionalised,” he concluded.