A report by ECR MEP Helga Stevens on the European Disability Strategy was overwhelmingly supported by MEPs on November 30. The report follows up on the European Commission’s communication on the implementation of the strategy and set out the European Parliament’s priorities for a comprehensive and effective disability strategy by 2030.

The report contains a number of key areas for action including accessibility, equality, employment, education and training, social protection, health, and external action. It also provides a number of recommendations to the EU institutions for their own internal policies. For example, it calls for the EU-wide 112 emergency number to be fully accessible and seeks to ensure that all public spaces can be easily accessed by all.

“The EU is effectively one of the most advanced and richest regions on the planet, yet it is not inclusive enough,” said Stevens. “We still manage to regularly exclude 80 million disabled EU citizens. This means we sometimes miss out on valuable skills and labour– while also losing money due to inaccessible public spaces and unusable goods and services.”

According to the MEP, the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is an essential tool in ensuring all our citizens, including those with a disability, are able to form an integral part of our society.

“Today we are sending a strong message to the European Commission and the Member States that we need a post 2020 strategy that is both bold and effective. If we don’t get it right, who will? It’s time for action now.”