European Disability Rights Agenda post 2020

What is the European Disability Rights Agenda?

The European Disability Rights Agenda is a plan created by the European Union. It shows how they want to advance the rights of persons with disabilities in the next 10 years. It will list laws, programs and actions and how they will improve the rights of persons with disabilities. The predecessor of this plan was called “European Disability Strategy”.

Why is it important?

The EU will use the Agenda to guide their work. That means that if it is in the Agenda the EU commits to doing it.

This is important because the EU has the power to decide many things that affect us: for example rules on products and services or on travel.

They also have money that can be used to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities


The European Union is preparing the Agenda during the second half of 2020. They will publish it in 2021.

This means that we need to tell them what we want as soon as possible.

What do we want from it?

It is a document that will guide EU’s work for the next 10 years. We have many demands for it.

You can read them all in our document “EDF input to the European Disability Rights Agenda”.

They include:

5 main objectives:

  1. End segregation and ensure adequate standard of living: access to inclusive education, social inclusion and living in the community, employment and social protection. End segregation in residential institutions: persons with disabilities have the right to live independently.
  2. Freedom of movement: persons with disabilities should be free to live, work, travel, study and participate in public life in any EU country without losing any rights or entitlement to financial support. This is not the case now due to many barriers.
  3. Promote equality for persons with disabilities and protection against all forms of discrimination, violence and abuse.
  4. Global leadership:  EU promotes the rights of persons with disabilities in all its international relations: at the UN, the Council of Europe and in all its international cooperation work, including humanitarian action.
  5. Set an example as a public administration: EU Institutions, bodies and agencies must ensure they also guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities in their internal functioning (for employees, staff, beneficiaries)

Concrete actions 

Immediate Commitments

  • Establish a “CRPD Unit” in the European Commission: Create a Unit responsible for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Unit should be place in the EU Directorate General for Justice and Consumers, under the supervision of the EU Commissioner for Equality. This Unit should ensure high-level leadership, commitment and overall coordination of the implementation of the Agenda across all services and institutions.
  • Establish disability rights services in all departments of all EU Institutions, with the role of ensuring all EU policies uphold the rights of persons with disabilities. The services should be coordinated by an interinstitutional coordination mechanism between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council.
  • Replace the current High-Level Group on Disability with a “Disability Rights Committee” which should regularly bring together all the Disability Focal Points, including those in the Member States and the EU external delegations.
  • Each EU Presidency should organise a Council meeting of EU Member States’ ministers on the rights of persons with disabilities and on progress made on the Agenda
  • Set up a process (called a “structured dialogue”) to ensure participation of representative organisations of persons with disabilities in this Agenda and EU policy making, with an independent budget line and sufficient funding.
  • Prohibit investment of EU funds in any institutional care setting, in any structure or service that is inaccessible to persons with disabilities and in any action that discriminates against persons with disabilities.
  • Oppose the draft additional protocol to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (Oviedo Convention) as it contradicts the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Create the European Access Board to monitor how EU accessibility legislation is being implemented throughout the Union and proposing technical specifications to underpin relevant EU harmonised legislation.
  • Collect data correctly: require that data on persons with disabilities is disaggregated according to type of disability, gender and age, and that the data collection includes persons with disabilities living in institutional care.
  • Accede to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) as a step to combating violence against women and girls with disabilities


Books titled"regulations

  • Take concrete action for the adoption of equal treatment legislation protecting all persons with disabilities from discrimination in all areas of life
  •  “Yes, we vote” Regulation: Introduce new EU legislation that ensures that all persons with disabilities can vote in the European elections.
  • Directive “clear minimum standards for social protection": set a minimum acceptable level of financial support and service provision to guarantee a dignified standard of living for persons with disabilities and their families
  • Directive on Disability Assessment: Our rights don’t change when we change countries. Adopt a Directive ensuring automatic recognition of disability assessment (status) when moving from one Member State to another to live, study and work. Adopt a Directive ensuring that the methods to recognise disability and provide support are the same in all EU countries. 
  • “Assistive Technology: Accessible and Affordable”: Introduce  new legislation to ensure that persons with disabilities across the EU have equal access to the most suitable assistive technologies ensuring affordability and a person-centred approach.
  • “Accessible spaces” : introduce legislation to harmonise the minimum accessibility requirements for all aspects of the built environment, transport vehicles and stations, including urban transport.
  • EU Disability Parking Card 2.0: introduce legislation for a harmonised approach to the use of the EU Disability Parking Card.


  • EU Disability Card: a real European card that is adopted by all Member States providing automatic recognition of disability assessment and connecting rights.
  • Disability Rights Guarantee: providing funds to incentivise and facilitate access to the open labour market.
  • Report accessibility discrimination: oblige Member States to report on accessibility discrimination cases. Make the data publicly available.

Concrete actions: disability in EU policies

  • Accessible Renovation: Include accessibility as a requirement in the planned “Renovation wave” to upgrade existing building stock for better energy efficiency.
  • Accessible flying: EU air passenger rights legislations must tackle the issues of “denied boarding”, the definition of “safety reasons”, and ensure the accessibility of aircrafts, airports and information in airports and on-board.
  • #TurnUpandGo: Remove the required pre-notification times for assistance in all EU Passengers' Rights Regulation In the long term, make trains must allow independent and spontaneous travel for everyone.
  • Ensure that the Youth Guarantee is fully inclusive to all young people in the labour market, including persons with disabilities.
  • Include the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum by ensuring that appropriate and sufficient support is provided for asylum-seekers and refugees with disabilities, as well as those who have become disabled while fleeing their country.
  • Include the intersectional discrimination and specific issues faced by persons with disabilities, in particular women and children with disabilities in this Agenda, Gender Equality Strategy, LGBTI Equality Strategy, EU Framework on Roma Equality and Inclusion Strategies and Victim’s rights Strategy.
  • Ensure the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) disability inclusion marker is enforced in all EU international cooperation policies and programmes, to monitor finance in support of persons with disabilities.
  • Ensure the implementation of the new ECHO “Guidance note on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in EU-funded humanitarian aid operations” in line with The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (2016) and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (2019).
  • Revise the Joint Sickness and Insurance Scheme and cover comprehensively cover disability-related health needs in a manner that is compliant with the CRPD (CO 87) and with the recommendations given by the European Ombudsman.

How can you help?