This is what the European Parliament’s
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs wants to see in the new European
Disability Strategy for the period post-2020.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) rapporteur Ioannis Vardakastanis also
called for a more ambitious agenda than the current one at a public hearing on ‘Shaping
the EU agenda for disability rights 2020 – 2030’ in February 2020.
In its motion
for a resolution from 2 March 2020, the European Parliament’s Committee on
Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Commission to put forward an EU
strategy that meets these criteria. It should contain ambitious, clear and
measurable targets, as well as a list of actions in various areas, including
participation, free movement and independence living, accessibility, employment
and training. The actions should have a clear timeframe and allocated resources.
Labour market inclusion
In light of the slow progress towards
inclusive labour markets (see article Jan
2020), the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) submitted comments as
part of the Commission’s consultation on the evaluation of the current EU
strategy. In its comments, the DGUV highlighted accessibility, provision of EU
funds, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in political and public
life, and employment as important issues for the future strategy.
The resolution calls on the Commission to
ensure that the new EU strategy promotes guaranteed access to employment,
vocational training, inclusive education and affordable high-quality healthcare
services. It should ensure that adequate accommodation is made available in the
workplace and that discrimination regarding remuneration is eliminated. Persons
with disabilities should be paid at the same level as workers without
The Member States are also being called
upon to take action. They are called upon to further develop and better
implement measures to promote the participation of people with disabilities in
the labour market. People with disabilities working in sheltered workshops
should be recognised as workers within the meaning of the law and have the same
right to social protection.
Access to social protection
The resolution reiterates the right of
people with disabilities to an adequate standard of living and social
protection. It calls on the Member States to introduce a minimum level of
social protection for people with disabilities so that an adequate standard of
living is guaranteed. The Commission is being urged to ensure that the new
strategy includes actions to promote inclusive social protection systems
throughout the EU. In order to ensure access to social support services across
the EU, the Commission and Council should build on the Council recommendation
on access to social protection and the proposal for a regulation on the
coordination of social security systems.
The Committee unanimously adopted the motion
for a resolution at its meeting on 20 February 2020. The vote in the European
Parliament was scheduled for 11 March 2020. However, the plenary session was
cancelled due to the coronavirus.
Harmonisation of national requirements placed on employers
The EESC already adopted its own-initiative
opinion in December 2019, highlighting that the employment rate of people
with disabilities (48.1%) is disproportionately low compared to that of people
without disabilities (73.9%). The employment rate of women with disabilities is
significantly lower still. The EESC has therefore called for the Commission to
propose measures to harmonise employers’ obligations and the support governments
must provide to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided for workers
The Commission is expected to complete its
evaluation of the current strategy in July 2020. After further consultation,
the Commission is expected to publish a Communication on the new strategy in
the first quarter of 2021.