Brussels, May 23. The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, urged the European Commission on Tuesday to promote the European disability card with the aim of guaranteeing that people with functional diversity can enjoy freedom of movement between all the Member States of the Union .
“We must make it easier for people with disabilities to enjoy, like all Europeans, freedom of movement similar to that of Schengen in an EU without borders,” Metsola emphasized at the inauguration of the European Forum on Disability, which is being held today in the European Parliament its fifth edition.
One in five people in the EU have a disability, remarked the president of Parliament, who assured that for many accessibility continues to be the “exception and not the norm”, for which she urged “eliminate existing barriers” and guarantee inclusion and equality of people with disabilities through their participation in decision-making.
For his part, the executive director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), Yannis Vardakastanis, stressed that all the crises that Europe has experienced, such as the coronavirus pandemic or the war in Ukraine, affect people with disabilities “stronger and more disproportionately.”
“The covid-19 pandemic was a harsh reminder of how far we are from enjoying the same rights and the same protection as any other citizen,” he said.
For this reason, he called for a future where people with functional diversity in Europe are protected against discrimination in all areas of life and where they can participate “on an equal footing”.
Vardakastanis also demanded an EU that guarantees participation in political life for people with disabilities, where accessibility is considered a “fundamental element of society” that allows freedom of movement and where they can access inclusive education and a quality employment in an open labor market.
Along these lines, Metsola encouraged the people present at the Forum to vote and stand as candidates for the next European Parliament elections, scheduled for June 2024, so that the institution’s next mandate focuses on the interests of the people with disabilities. EFE