23 May 2011 /// There are many barriers that need to be eliminated if persons with disabilities are to reach the goal of free movement. This, amongst other topics regarding ‘accessibility; will be discussed by the disability movement this weekend during EDF Annual General Assembly.

What is freedom of movement it about?

The European Union says it guarantees freedom of movement for all of its citizens. But Persons with disabilities still face major difficulties when travelling by plane or going to study, work and live in another European country. During the European Disability movement’s general Assembly at the end of May the movement is will discuss and propose measures for a strong European Accessibility Act in the EU. EDF wants to make sure the European Commission understands what freedom of movement means to persons with disabilities and how important it is.

The European Accessibility Act and the European Mobility Card

Overall, the issue of accessibility is vital as it is essential for participation in society. The European Commission is therefore working towards a European Accessibility Act that will set out a general framework for accessibility in relation to goods and services. This Act should be ready by 2012 and is one of the key actions the Commission promises in its Disability Strategy 2010-2020. EDF believes that the European Accessibility Act should take to form of a Directive. This would clearly establish the requirement of accessibility on the covered sectors, but leave Member states sufficient freedom to take account of particular national circumstances when adopting relevant national legislation and policy. A ‘soft’ law which would encourage good practice, but imposes no obligation to provide true accessibility cannot guarantee the changes that are needed and protect the right to free movement.

Additionally, the Disability Strategy 2010-2020 includes a commitment to studying the implications of a mutual recognition of disability cards. This would ease travelling between Member States as the holder of a disability card would be granted the same status and benefits anywhere in Europe. In this sense, the European Accessibility will become the instrument and the disability card a tool for granting free movement to persons with disabilities.

This is what the European disability movement wants:

  • an ambitious and of legally binding European Accessibility Act, covering the access to goods and services and the built environment
  • the adoption of a European Mobility Card based on, and very much in line with European tradition, the mutual recognition of national disability cards.


Source: EDF