Former President and current Vice President of Autism-Europe, Evelyne Friedel, was elected on May 13 as a new member of the Board of Directors of the European Disability Forum (EDF) during its Annual General Assembly held in Madrid, Spain. Prior to this, Autism-Europe’s former president, Donata Vivanti, had been vice-President of the European Disability Forum for the last 10 years.
Evelyne has more than 15 years’ experience in advocating for people with autism, both in France and at the European level. She notably won the first collective complaint related to disability before the Council of Europe in 2002. France was then found to have failed to fulfil its educational obligations to people with autism, which triggered the adoption of the subsequent autism plans in France. She has been a member of the Autism-Europe’s executive committee since 2003, and was president from 2008 to 2011.
In addition to her voluntary work for autism, Evelyne is also the mother of a teenage boy with autism who is in need of a high-level of support, and a partner of international law firm Taylor Wessing, where she practices in European law. Friedel was elected lawyer of the year in EU law for the second time in 2017, in her home country, France.
EDF’s Annual General Assembly brought together over 200 participants, including AGA delegates, observers, partners, guests and members of the global disability movement. The meeting was hosted by EDF’s Spanish members, CERMI and the ONCE Foundation. A conference was also organised in the framework of the AGA to mark EDF’s 20th anniversary.
Titled ‘20 years later: Building an inclusive disability movement for the future’, the conference was an opportunity to recall the great achievements of the disability movement over the last 20 years, as well as to identify the challenges ahead and how the disability movement should address these them.
EDF AGA thus adopted a declaration with the vision of the disability movement and a plan for action for the coming years. EDF members also voted resolutions on the Accessibility Act and on the Marrakesh Treaty, as well as a report on Forced Sterilisation.