Very early draft EBU “Guidance on reasonable accommodation for VI employees and applicants” is ready to be submitted to our working group “Rehabilitation, Vocational Training and Employment” for elaboration, in parallel to the European Commission’s draft guide on reasonable accommodation that will be presented to the EU Disability Platform’s subgroup on the Disability Employment Package on 11 May.
On 14 February, the European Parliament adopted the reports defining its stance on two directives proposed by the European Commission on the rights of mobile EU citizens to participate in the European and municipal elections. The Parliament introduced new provisions to ensure that EU citizens with disabilities living in another EU country have reinforced rights to participate in the political process. But here again, like for the reform of the EU electoral law, the competence to adopt these Directive falls solely on the Member States represented in the Council.
A call for evidence and a public consultation are announced on Have Your Say, respectively for Q2 and 3 2023, in the perspective of the mid-term review of Creative Europe 2021-2027. We will want to participate in that, to express concern that EU MEDIA funding to the film industry does not use its leverage to promote audio description and audio subtitling.
We heard from the Ukrainian Disability Platform that their parliament has opened the way for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. We have offered support, and also to our member organisations in Turkey and North Macedonia, to help push these countries down to the finish line toward ratifying the Treaty. Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced a call for evidence for evaluation of EU’s Marrakesh Treaty Directive in the fourth quarter of 2023.
We learned that the ETSI/CEN/CENELEC relevant Joint Working Group has started its work to review the EU standard (EN 301 549) for accessibility of ICT. This EN covers payment terminals, and does not take the right approach as far as touch-pads are concerned. We are considering releasing a statement to the joint working group via ANEC and possibly also BEUC, in which to flag the inadequacy of the current approach and inform about EBU recommendations in the making on accessibility of payment terminals.
We responded to an Ernst & Young survey about the EU Disability Card on behalf of the European Commission. Shortly after, the Commission opened its proper public consultation on the ‘Have Your Say’ portal, and we are preparing the EBU response, building here again on the input of our ad hoc task-group. We have also asked our member organisations to diffuse these consultations, as they are meant, not only for organisations, but also for individual persons with disabilities. A noteworthy result is that thanks to EBU, an accessible Word version of the consultation’s questionnaire was provided by the organisers, spontaneously this time, after our reaction on the prior call for evidence.
We attended the following meetings:
• EU Disability Platform plenary meeting (14/02), where the following was discussed: the platform’s work programme for 2023; the Swedish EU Presidency’s work on disability; the impact of the cost of living on persons with disabilities; the national social protection schemes and disability assessment methodologies, against the background of the ESPN study; the EU Disability Card; the AccessibleEU resource centre; the Disability Employment Package; and the CRPD review of the EU.
• EDF-ENGO meeting (16/02), with as main topic on the agenda the preparation of the 5th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities event on 23 May. EBU is aiming to be represented through some national delegations.
• Young Europeans-France roundtable (23/02), to present our work in the area of political participation for persons with disabilities in the wake of European elections in 2024. We used this opportunity to give visibility to the EBU Youth Manifesto adopted in December 2022.
We received and accepted an invitation by the European Commission’s directorate general competent for transport (DG MOVE) to speak on 28 March to High-Level Group of Experts on Road Safety, together with EDF and AGE, on what specific road safety challenges old people and people with reduced mobility face, and what action we want EU Member States to take.