Giovanni Pagano ANMIC - Europe of Equal Citizens EYPD 2003

                      EUROPEAN YEAR OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES -  EYPD - 2003<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

                               FIMITIC Event in Rome, Italy, April 4, 2003, Teatro Olimpico

                                     Topic: Europe of Equal Citizens -  A Society for  All!

                                 Address by Giovanni Pagano, National President, ANMIC


Ladies and gentlemen,


good morning and welcome. We celebrate the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003 . In close cooperation with FIMITIC its Italian member association ANMIC is honoured to discuss at this meeting in Rome today with politicians, experts and representatives of the organizations and institutions from various European countries the disability issues we are all concerned about.


I thank Mr. Podesta on my right, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr. Guidi,who will join us later, Mr. Battaglia and Mr. Giacco for coming.


I would like to apologize Ms.Marija-Lidija Stiglic, the FIMITIC President, who is unable to join us due to an illness.

And my warm welcome to Mr. Marjan Kroflic, Vice-President of FIMITIC.


I thank the speakers from International European Institutions and Organizations: Mr. Tait from the European  Commission,. Mr. Mantovani from the European Parliament, Mr. Afflerbach from the Council of Europe, Mr.Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum and Mr. Lapeyre from the European Trade Confederation.


In addition, I also extend my greetings to all delegates representing 20 European-countries. Many of these countries are in a state of transition. Some of them are applicant countries

to join the European Union within the enlargement procedure agreed on by the Council, in particular Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia.


Welcome to the representatives of the partner associations in Italy and abroad.


I am greeting all the members of the ANMIC Board present and the numerous ANMIC members from all Italian regions. Thanks to have made the organization possible. We are all looking forward to a successful outcome of the event.


Talking about ANMIC I would like to mention that ANMIC has been acting for more than 40 years now. We cannot forget the support by the founder of our association and we work in the wake of his activity. As usual I have a written-down speech, but I will just speak from my heart: the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003 is at the same time a national event, because for those involved it is natural to celebrate national and international efforts.


We have to ask ourselves what are our expectations from our governments and parliaments? Of course, we cannot forget our most dramatic problems afflicting the entire world such as the Iraq war and it is our greatest wishs that this war will come to an end soon as it is not beneficial, and I hope the entire world will solve this problem including the one concerning disabled people, which we expect from governments. Our legislation is very complex, but it lacks the will to make this legislation effective from the part of our politicians. Thanks to support and trust of our association, we will provide laws for the rights of the disabled. We do not want additional law instruments, but we need to implement the available laws.


We are aware that the government in Italy is not equipped with the right tools, but we do not want to give up a single inch in our battle. Together with our friends representing the federation, we want the certainty of rights application. We want on behalf of the world of volunteer associations to implement the laws that are already available. We want to care for every single aspect of our society.


We ask our government to retain the rights of the disabled. We want guarantees to implement these rights, because only this will give cultural, social and political weight to our battles. We want rights to be implemented by the Italian  government endorsing the claims made by the regions.


The Italian Government agreed to allocate funds to local authorities for familiesÂ’ legalization of disabled people. So we are pleased that the government is alloating funds to our policies, but one thing is fundamental: we cannot allow anybody to deny being given a counterpart in our dialogue our claims are correct and fair enough, but then people say that anyway your requests cannot be met in terms of money. We are not asking for benefits like going to the cinema. We want people to have the right to have a decent life; it is unacceptable that such a lack of financial resources jeorpardises life of people. We provide suggestionÂ’s proposals. We support proposals with financial support and we provide that sometimes it is more economical to provide welfare services to our people with disabilities: we talk about 250.000 Liras per person. This is very little and it amounts to savings. ThatÂ’s what we ask to governments: the Law implementation.


This morning we have to realize that provinces failed to set up the committee to implement the rights for disabled. How can we talk about employment, when we do not have a key instrument, how can we make an enterprise to hire people who are not trained, how can we ask for this? There  are still local authorities unable to set up such technical committees, so we go straight to the heart of the problem; we need to achieve this goal. We participated in this launch of the European Year 2003 in Athens, we attended the opening of the Italian Year in Bari and today our Association celebrates the Year, but we cannot do it as in the past, limited to public statements only. We need to think of it at present.We have to think of cut funds allocated to pay teachers for disabled students, supported only for two hours and then they are not supported anymore. The education system is the key to our societies and in future it will have to be improved by reform of the education system. This is what we have to ask for to the government.


We are not available as representatives to the government. I can imagine that the Vice Chairman of the European Parliament  present here today will be surprised to listen to what I am saying. We are no more ready to be excluded of this debate and we want this gradual approach to be supplied to our concerns. We appreciate the efforts and we ask for more help for disabled people.


Ladies and Gentlemen,  we are part of the large FIMITIC family and we want to play our part convinced that we are representing our claims. I am sure that the representatives of the FIMITIC member associations agree with me, when I am saying:”Let us seat down together, let us forget problems; we need solutions to have the rights agreed upon by our parliaments. We want certainty of implementation in education and employment, these are the key issues being not only of economical significance for the disabled people. We have to solve it, if we want to achieve our goal which is certainty towards implementation of our rights!”