In keeping with this statement, the European Commission
announced in its Communication ‘A Strong Social Europe
for Just Transitions’ that it will present a strengthened disability strategy in 2021, building on the results of the ongoing evaluation
of the European Strategy for Disability
2010-2020 (see articles Aug-2019 and Oct-2019).
Little progress in workplace inclusion
People with disabilities continue to experience difficulties
in accessing education, training, employment, social protection systems and
healthcare. Only 50% of
people with disabilities who want to work actually have a job.
The European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities
(EASPD) pointed out in a recent position
paper on the new European
Disability Strategy that the
figure would be only 25% if people with disabilities who are considered unable to work were
included. These statistics have basically not improved in the last 20 years, despite
technological progress and the expertise and research needed to build more
inclusive labour markets.
Action Plan for the Social Economy
The European Commission also wants to launch an Action
Plan for the Social
Economy in 2021 to promote social investment and innovation and to increase the
potential of social enterprises to create jobs, including for those most
excluded from the labour market. Socially responsible public procurement can
also help to ensure that existing funds are spent in an inclusive way, for
example to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Council conclusions on inclusive labour markets
The Council had already called for better access to the
labour market for people who are particularly dependent on assistance in its Conclusions on inclusive
labour markets in December 2019. The Council called upon the EU Commission to pay particular attention to these people,
including people with disabilities, in all relevant policies and initiatives.
This group of people often constitutes an ‘under-utilised resource’. It is
important to integrate them into the labour market in order to achieve a higher overall
employment rate, social cohesion and inclusion. This should build on existing
mechanisms, such as the European Semester, and existing funding instruments, such as the
European Social Fund.
The Member States are also called upon to take action. They
are invited to continue their efforts to achieve inclusive employment and
social policies. People
who are particularly vulnerable,
including people with disabilities, should be provided with more accessible
services across sectors and professions. These could include one-stop-shops,
individualised services such as job coaching, subsidies and relevant services for employers. This
would require, in addition to better awareness-raising, improved coordination and closer partnerships between the
different actors in the periods before and after a placement. Public and
private employment services, education and training providers, health and
social services providers,
civil society, including disability organisations, as well as employers and
social partners should all be