On 6 September, the European Commission presented its proposal for a directive establishing the European Disability Card and the European Parking Card for persons with disabilities. Interestingly, a single legal instrument to address both cards, although they will remain separate documents—as we recommended. Ahead of that, on 4 September, we attended a confidential briefing by the member of Commissioner Dalli's cabinet responsible for disability and exclusion, which informed us of the essential aspects of the proposal. This allowed us to issue a statement on 6 September with our provisional reaction. One concrete result of our advocacy—unfortunately not reflected in the actual proposal—is that one of our main issues has being picked up by other stakeholders (EDF, European Economic and Social Committee…), i.e., that the Disability Card should play a role to facilitate the transition for persons with disabilities moving their residence to another EU country
We are now fine-tuning our analysis in concertation with EDF and other EU-level disabled people organisations. We attended an EDF meeting of 19 September for that purpose, and shared with them our further thoughts about how to react to the proposal before and in follow-up to that meeting. We will participate in the EDF email expert group.
On 11 September, after updating it to take into account developments around European Disability Card and our new statement on Braille, we sent to the leaders of 10 officially recognised EU level political parties our statement on European Parliament elections 2024, in which we highlight 10 key issues for the social inclusion of visually impaired people. In our letter, we invite parties to indicate how, in the next European legislature, they intend to respond to the expressed concerns of visually impaired EU citizens. We inform them that we will publish on our website the replies received from parties and candidates, to inform the vote of citizens within our community and beyond. The statement was then published with a press release on 15 September, International Democracy Day. So far we received the following reactions: a non-committal written response from the European Greens and an invitation to in-person meeting, together with other civil society organisations, by the Party of European Socialists (PES) on 10/10 in Brussels—which we will attend. Meanwhile, on 5 September, we had sent to our member organisations in the EU a 'heads-up' about the above developments with the request to translate the statement and prepare for action at national level.
We used the EDF webinar of 7 September on the Disability Employment Package as an opportunity to mention again our guidelines on reasonable accommodation at work for visually impaired people (now finalised) and to ask the Commission if and how they could fit into the "knowledge hub" that the Package is presented to be. We sent the final version of the guidelines to the European Commission's relevant unit and secretariat of the Disability Platform's relevant subgroup and to EDF, and published and advertised them on 20 September.
On 8 September, as agreed with our national member, we sent a letter to the EU Representative to North Macedonia, asking him to exert his influence to bring the country to join the Marrakesh Treaty.
On 11 September, we sent out to our member organisations Europe-wide a lobbying request around the revision of UN-level Regulation 138 defining of standards for AVAS on silent vehicles.
We finalised our position paper on Braille in the 21st century, based on the output of the Braille Working Group, and published it on 28 September, International Day for Universal Access to Information.
On 18 September, we responded to the European Commission's call for contributions on the evaluation of European standardisation Regulation (EU) 1025/2012.
We have started to prepare the agenda and background documents for the annual in-person meeting of our Commission for Liaison with the EU ("LC") taking place in Brussels in November. The still draft agenda remains to be approved by the LC leadership.
On 26 September, we attended an EQUINET roundtable on the impact of the EU Green Deal on equality, to learn on the subject, but also to identify a potential speaker for our General Assembly 2024.