Marek Plura (Poland)
MEPs speak out on dementia
I consider the European Parliament’s adoption of the UNCRPD implementation report as an important step towards the improvement of the situation of people with disabilities and their families. The engagement of NGOs, including representatives from the milieus of people with disabilities was priceless, as I used many of their ideas and remarks while working on the amendments and the opinion of the Transport and Tourism committee. The report outlines areas in which further actions can be taken, allowing people with disabilities and their families to fully explore their potential and to participate in social and cultural life. One out of six Europeans is disabled, and taking into account the rising number of illnesses linked with brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, depression, SM etc., as well as the ageing of the population, this proportion will likely become increasingly significant. It is necessary to use best practices and search for creative solutions based among others on new technologies, in order to find solutions that will allow people with disabilities to live as independently as possible and allow their caretakers to better balance their tasks with other aspects of their social and professional lives.
While according to the principle of subsidiarity, there is no need to decide at the European level on the details of support systems offered by specific Member States, it is the European institutions’ responsibility to determine the direction of future actions and standards according to which an inclusive society should be built. A good example of this are the works on the European Accessibility Act, during which a vast scope of approaches is presented. Accessibility in the physical environment and in communication and informational technologies are equally important. A strong voice as well as support from NGOs are needed here. Europe needs to understand that access to products and services for all EU citizens is not a luxury, but the realisation of basic human and citizen rights.
Last Updated: Monday 06 February 2017