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Autism-Europe welcomes European Parliament’s call for an ambitious EU Disability Strategy

On April 18, 2020, the European Parliament adopted with 653 votes in favour, 6 against and 29 abstentions a resolution calling on the European Commission to present an ambitious strategy for people with disabilities in the European Union after 2020.

Autism-Europe welcomes this call to follow up on the current European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. In the framework of the consultation carried out by the European Commission on the European Disability Strategy, Autism-Europe had shared the priorities of autistic people and their families and had also cooperated with MEPs involved in the drafting of the Resolution. While the strategy 2010-2020 was launched before the EU and all its member state ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the next strategy needs to be fully guided by the UNCRPD moving towards its full implementation by EU and its member states.

The vote on the resolution for a European Disability Strategy was preceded by the European Parliament plenary debate on the issue in December 2019. One month later, the Commission announced that it will present a proposal for a Strategy for Disability in Europe in 2021.

The adoption of the resolution coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic which has left people with disabilities across Europe especially vulnerable to serious risks and rights violations. Many people with disabilities face disruption in care and support services as well as a lack of precautionary measures in residential care homes. This pandemic has particularly impacted the lives of autistic people and their families. On April 17, the European Parliament voted in favour of adding amendments to the resolution and calling on for ambitious disability strategy which asks for specific recovery and mitigation measures for people with disabilities. Furthermore, the resolution asks for a gender-based approach to address the specific forms of discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities. Action in this area is of the utmost importance during the pandemic. The final adopted resolution can be found here.