On May 23rd, our executive director, Lars Bosselmann, as well as some of our board members and people from our national members attended the 5th edition of the European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities in Brussels. Hosted by the European Parliament and European Disability Forum, the event gathered over 700 disability advocates from all EU countries.
During the meeting, many aspects related to key areas in the lives of persons with disabilities in Europe were discussed:
In the first session of the event, speakers talked about the need to promote their personal mobility to ensure freedom of movement. In this sense, they also discussed the role that the upcoming EU Disability Card will play in this aspect. Furthermore, a discussion about political participation took place: panelists highlighted the need to protect people with disabilities’ rights to vote and run as candidates one year ahead of the 2024 European elections. This included EDF’s president, Yannis Vardakastanis, reading a manifesto enshrining the importance of having access to political and public life on an equal basis with others.
During the second session, a conference about combating poverty and promoting equality took place. Participants emphasized that unemployment rates are still high among persons with disabilities, thus calling for policy-makers and governments to use the tools and accommodation needed for guaranteeing their access to the labour market without any kind of discrimination and prejudice.
Finally, the event closed with a discussion about disability-inclusive resilience. In this conference, our president, Wolfgang Angermann, made his contribution by stating that society should think about solutions for persons with disabilities in the context of disasters. Among other important interventions, Valerii Sushkevych, Head of the Ukrainian National Assembly of Persons with Disabilities, highlighted that humanitarian response should be included in the development of humanitarian responses.