On 10 March 2021, the European Parliament adopted a report by Member of European Parliament (MEP) Katrin Langensiepen to foster equal treatment of people with disabilities in the workplace in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Autism-Europe was actively involved in the drafting process.
During the final vote the report entitled “Establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, taking into account the UNCRPD” received 578 in favour, 65 against and 51 abstentions.
It contains an Easy-to-Read section (on p. 5-7) drawn up with the assistance of Inclusion Europe and Autism-Europe.
The report demands the phasing out of sheltered workshops not in line with the UNCRPD, EU guidelines on reasonable accommodation, diversity quotas, Universal Design, intersectionality consideration, mutual recognition of disability status, and data collection disaggregated by gender, age, types of disability, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.
It was drawn up by German MEP Katrin Langensiepen, Vice-chair of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL committee), who extensively consulted with 9 organisations representing people with disabilities, including Autism-Europe and the European Disability Forum, as well as four human rights groups, the European Network of Equality Bodies and two academic disability experts.
Upon the approval of her report, MEP Langensiepen reminded us:
“More than 10 years after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, EU member states are still failing to meet their obligations. Equal access to the open labor market is still far from reality for most people with disabilities. Less than half of them have a job.”
During the debate on her report on 8 March preceding the vote, rapporteur Langensiepen, speaking directly from the plenary in Brussels specifically thanked all the stakeholders involved by mentioning their names and welcomed the important cross-party support when drafting her report.
She highlighted the need for more easy-to-read versions of European Parliament reports to guarantee accessibility. The European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and several of the 29 MEPs from different political groups intervening directly afterwards congratulated MEP Langensiepen on her report and welcomed the fruitful work with her.
To watch the debate with interpretation into all EU language please click here.
To read the debate in the languages the speakers used, please click here.
The debate and vote in plenary were itself preceded by the EMPL committee adopting the report of Langensiepen on 27 January, with 47 votes in favour, 1 against and 4 abstentions.
What is a non-legislative report?
The European Parliament meets in plenary sessions. Plenary business mainly focuses on debates and votes. Only the texts adopted in plenary and written declarations signed by a majority of Parliament’s component Members formally constitute acts of the European Parliament. These concern different types of text depending on the subject under consideration and the legislative procedure applicable, including legislative reports, budgetary procedure, and non-legislative reports.
On the website of European Parliament these types of reports are explained as follows: they are “drawn up by Parliament on its own initiative, within the parliamentary committee responsible. By adopting these texts, Parliament addresses the other European institutions and bodies, the national governments, or indeed third countries, with the aim of drawing attention to a specific matter and eliciting a response.
“Although they have no legislative value, these initiatives are founded on a parliamentary legitimacy which may well convince the Commission to come up with proposals on the matter concerned.”