Disability & freedom of movement in the EU

iStock_000003805380XSmall-300x201Freedom of movement is perhaps the single biggest consequence of the European Union, with hundreds of thousands of individuals moving in some cases from, one country in the EU to another, often in search of better life prospects. Those of us that live in the Uk will be very aware of the massive influx of people from eastern european countries in particular.

Incredibly, it seems that the very powerful and life changing effects of freedom of movement do not apply to the benefit of disabled people, who, whilst they have the same rights as non-disabled, in reality cannot use them without additional rights applicable throughout the EU and this is nothing short of scandalous.

This topic has been the subject of much needed profile raising in the last week at the European disability Forum. On the positive side, the European Commission (EC) will apparently put forward some proposals within the next year as part of a planned European Accessibility Act, which will hopefully finally deal with the inequality of the freedom of movement position.

Disability campaigners are already lobbying the Commission re the proposed new Act in relation to :-

The Act including a legal duty on all members states to ensure accessibility, but with each country having flexibility of implementation.

The desirability of creating a European mobility card, which would allow disabled people from the UK to enjoy the same concessions as disabled people in other EU countries when they are travelling through or living in those countries.