A new scheme to introduce an EU-wide disability card is a victory for equal rights in the bloc, Malta’s Disability Commissioner Samantha Pace Gasan said.
The European Commission has just presented its ten-year action plan for persons with disabilities. One of the main pillars is freedom of movement and equal enjoyment of rights across every EU member state.
A transnationally recognisable card for persons with disabilities will ensure everyone enjoys the same treatment across the European Union, Pace Gasan said.
“This is another step towards ensuring that everyone that has a disability across the EU has equal rights and that Members States are supported in the implementation of European rights which have been previously established, such as the freedom of movement through the extension of the EU disability card,” the commissioner explained to Lovin Malta.
When moving to another Member State for work, studies, or other reasons, persons with disabilities often face barriers to accessing services like sign language, while benefits may differ according to the country.
Expanding mutual recognition of disability status in the bloc will allow them to enjoy the same rights across the union and live as independently as possible.
Around one billion people in the world live with disabilities, while a quarter of the European Union (EU) population aged 16 or over reported having long-standing disabilities in 2017, with Malta reporting the lowest number of self-perceived disabilities (12%) in the union.
Malta was part of the EU disability card pilot project launched in February 2016, together with another seven Member States. The EU Commission has now proposed creating a European Disability Card by end of 2023 to be recognised in all Member States. It will build on the experience of the ongoing pilot project.
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