Rome: Recognition of rights - Address by Augusto Battaglia

LÂ’On.le Augusto Battaglia, Member of the Italian Parliament and responsible for the Social Affairs

Address by Augosto Battaglia
Rome, Theatro Olimpico
April 2003


We need to go on with integration recognition of rights and dignity of people with disabilities!

EC representatives, friends thanks for this conference. EC year is an occasion for us, for our association issues, which are dear to us, to assess what we have done. In the past two years in this long process the Italian disabled have strived to emerge from social exclusion reaching higher level of integration.

We know that we need further achievements but our work was not useless and we know that countries achieved greater results. Italian Association has been the strength of this issue and ANMIC has been involved in it during these years with the founder of your association. Now we take advantage of this opportunity.

In 1981 there was another international year. These are opportunities to get results. We had a debate which led to the Law 104. It was hard work but the law was passed. I hope our goal is to start from this year to open up a new era as regards the EC situation. We are aware of how Italy has been committed. We know of the sacrifices of Italians as far as EC is concerned. ItÂ’s not just Maastricht. We want to belong to the social union, as Europe developed the strongest social security welfare system, and compared with other EC countries we can give and receive a lot.

We can share our experiences with Europe as Mr. Pagano said, more than 150000 children go to school and this is something we must bring to Europe. We must improve this situation; we can learn a lot from integration systems we lag behind, we have to develop the same systems to solve problems of people who need to go abroad to cure themselves. We have the ambition to integrate with other countries to enlarge the EC. So what should the EC year be? This is important in 2003, we should achieve practical results. Directives are essential but I agree with President Pagano - law is essential as work is important. We lag behind as if local authorities lag behind and we must call upon them to change legislation as 7% of workers need employment.

I refer to National Statistical Institute figure, we have just 8 jobs but this provision should be re-layed so that Law number 68 achieves good results. Also, school is important in terms of teachers for pupils - we have only 2 hours of support.

Social benefits have been cut off this year. We have to reshape social benefits to get more, starting from the 1 million Liras given to everybody by the government. We have a gradual approach but we need practical solutions. To reinforce solutions subsidies have to be a right for the disabled, and we must support families as these are essential, and need to be supported when people get old. We can pass provisions when parents get old and disabled are not protected. These can be practical goals. I donÂ’t want polemics on the budget Law. I hope the government changes approach for money transfer to municipalities. We hope to get the same funding as in the past year. We must achieve this goal to open up this phase now. We are the opposition but we need to give clear objectives we need practical targets to work on and we will give our constructive contribution to reach these goals in 2003.

We need to go on with integration recognition of rights and dignity of people with disabilities!