Minimum package for EU-wide disability card

There will be a EU-wide disability card that sets a minimum standard for support for disabled people. The existing European disabled parking card for people with disabilities will also be updatedd. 

The EMPL Committee for Employment and Social Affairs unanimously approved a report by Slovak liberal Lucia Duris on Thursday in Brussels on the criteria for such a first EU-wide disability card. About 87 million people in Europe live with some form of disability. They regularly encounter obstacles when traveling and staying in other European countries because their disability status is not equally recognized everywhere. 

So far, each EU country has its own rules for the use of a disabled parking card. The new card is also valid in Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.

In September, the European Commission presented a proposal to ensure that both cards facilitate the right to free movement for people with disabilities. People with disabilities will have the same access to special conditions, preferential treatments and parking rights when traveling and staying in other European countries. 

In recent years, the European Commission had already piloted the harmonization of existing national disability cards from eight countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania and Slovenia.

The EU card gives disabled people preferential treatment in various public and private services, such as public transport, cultural events, leisure and sports centers and museums. This can be achieved through, among other things, free access, reduced rates, priority access, personal assistance and mobility aids. 

Now that the European Parliament has cleared the way for a final round of negotiations with the 27 Health, Welfare and Sport ministers, the intention is to complete the decision-making process before the European elections in June.