The European Disability Forum
What is the European Disability Forum?
The European Disability Forum (EDF) is an independent NGO that represents the interests of 80 million people with disabilities in Europe. It is a unique platform which brings together representative organisations of persons with disabilities from across Europe.
EDF was created in 1996 to ensure that decisions at the European level concerning persons with disabilities are taken with and by persons with disabilities. Their motto is: “Nothing about us without us”.
EDF’s main aim is to achieve equal opportunities for all men, women and children with disabilities. In order to achieve this, their work covers a wide range of topics such as:
- Structural funds
This is just a broad overview of the important topics that EDF works in. For a full breakdown, look at the ‘Our work’ section of their website.
On 23 January, the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Parliament Disability Intergroup and the Social Platform co-organised a New Year reception hosted by MEP Marek Plura.
MEP Marek Plura, Vice-Chair of the Disability intergroup, stated that going forward they will “work hard to promote the adoption of an ambitious European Accessibility Act, to promote independent living and the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in close cooperation with EDF and its members”.
To mark this 20 year anniversary, EDF will campaign for a comprehensive implementation of the (CRPD) in the European Union (EU). The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
EDF president Yannis Vardakastanis commented at the event: “The birth of EDF, 20 years ago, gave a unique, common voice to persons with disabilities in the EU and coincided with the end of the invisibility of disability in the EU Treaty.”
What is the European Accessibility Act?
The European Accessibility Act is a proposal for a law that would make many products and services in the European Union (EU) more accessible for persons with disabilities.
EDF is campaigning for the proposal to be adopted so that the Accessibility Act will become a binding law as soon as possible.
The proposed Accessibility Act takes the form of a Directive, which is legally binding, meaning that the EU Member States have an obligation to apply what the Act mentions. The proposal foresees that only certain products and services need to be accessible. These are mainly:
- Smartphones, tablets and computers
- Ticketing machines and check-in machines
- Televisions and TV programmes
- Banking and ATMs
- Online shopping websites and mobile applications
Many EU Member States already have some form of accessibility legislation in their country, however there is no EU law on accessibility that all Member States must adhere to. The European Accessibility Act should provide a minimum level of accessibility when it comes to products and services so that the same levels of accessibility are available throughout the EU.
Want to find out more about social inclusion? Take a look at the theme on the European Youth Portal!