On September 30, Autism-Europe joins the call of the European Disability Forum (EDF), together with seven other organisations and eight Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), for moving the Disability Unit of the European Commission (currently at Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) to the Secretariat-General to mainstream the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in all the Commission’s work.
After its meeting with Commissioner-designate for Equality, Helena Dalli, on September 20, EDF learned that the new Commission (in principle) does not plan to implement this key demand of the disability movement. Today, an open letter co-signed by Autism-Europe and addressed to President-elect Von der Leyen, Vice-President-designate Schinas and Commissioner-designate Dalli, calls on them to relocate the Disability Unit to the Secretariat-General and to strengthen it in terms of financial and human resources.
Freedom of movement, transport, digitalisation, EU funds, anti-discrimination laws, employment strategies… persons on the autism spectrum and other disabilities are affected by virtually all EU laws and policies.
The EU ratified the UN CRPD as a regional body, which means that the EU itself (not only the Member States) has binding obligations that extend to all its competences. This means that the Unit in charge of disability must act as a focal point to make sure the UN Convention is respected and implemented across all policies. Establishing the Disability Unit in central position, with adequate resources within the Commission, will facilitate the accomplishment of this goal.
Yannis Vardakastanis, President of EDF, stated “Commissioner-designate for Equality Dalli’s mission letter includes the implementation of the Convention. The Unit in charge of disability needs to be under her direct supervision and have central and direct access to all relevant policies.”