18 January 2010 /// Last Friday, Emil Boc, Prime Minister of Romania received the European Disability Forum to exchange views on how to reinforce the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the decision-making process at the national level.
Ensuring that persons with disabilities in Romania are fully involved in the decisions concerning their lives, the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the Romanian National Disability Council (CNDR) gathered in Bucharest last week. Prime Minister of Romania Emil Boc received Yannis Vardakastanis, President of EDF and Sergiu Ruba, President of the Romanian Association of the Blind as well as board member of the CNDR, to discuss the following key priorities for improving the lives of persons with disabilities:
Expand the dialogue with persons with disabilities
Yannis Vardakastanis proposed a permanent consultation between the Romanian authorities and the CNDR on the review of relevant policies: “A structured dialogue with the government would not only acknowledge the disabled people as being fully part of the Romanian society, but it would also allow the necessary discussion between the civil society and the decision-makers to improve the lives of more than 2 million persons with disabilities in Romania.” EDF also addressed the Prime Minister about the financial issues and the provision of subsidies to Romanian NGOs.
Ratify the UN Convention
EDF expressed its concerns about the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) ratification process: the European Union decided to deposit the formal confirmation only when all Member States complete the ratification of the UNCRPD. Twelve Member States have already ratified the Convention so far and Emil Boc pledged to submit the ratification to the Romanian Parliament in the coming months.
Ensure accessibility and non-discrimination
The European Union aims to reduce disparities between the its regions with the allocation of a specific budget known as the ‘European Structural Funds’. The Prime Minister committed to cooperate with the Romanian National Disability Council to implement Article 16 of the general regulation on the Structural Funds establishing that the principle of non-discrimination must be present in the implementation of the Funds. The main way to guarantee the non-discriminatory implementation of the Structural Funds is to ensure that all the decisions taken and funded by the Funds take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities before they are implemented.
Build a barriers-free Europe
Emil Boc finally ensured that his Minister of Labour, Family and Social Protection would attend the ministerial meeting on disability held in Spain in May 2010 where EDF intends to propose the Disability Pact to the European leaders. The disability movement believes that the disability equality action at the European and national level needs to be coordinated: a disability dimension needs to be taken included in all relevant EU policies and all EU programmes and funding instruments using clear and measurable objectives linked to the EU strategy for growth and jobs (post-Lisbon Strategy).
European Disability Forum