5th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities gathers 600 advocates to discuss ‘an inclusive future for persons with disabilities in the EU’


The "5th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities" took place on 23 May at the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels. This event brought together 600 disability advocates from across the European Union to discuss the role of the EU in advancing Disability Rights. Alzheimer Europe was represented by the Chair of the European Working Group of People with Dementia, Chris Roberts and Vice-Chair, Kevin Quaid. Their supporters Jayne and Helena, and Dianne Gove (Director for Projects) and Daphné Lamirel (Project Officer) also participated in the meeting.

During the event, the European Disability Forum's (EDF) Manifesto on the 2024 European Elections was adopted, which serves as a roadmap for their campaign in the upcoming year. The Manifesto puts forward key demands for the next legislative term to ensure the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. These demands include: ensuring the right to vote and stand as candidates in Europe elections, establishing strong services focused on disability rights in EU institutions, creating a new European agency for accessibility, adopting an EU-wide Disability Card for mutual recognition of disability status, enacting stronger legislation to protect the rights of disabled passengers, establishing a Disability Employment and Skills Guarantee, providing further protection for women and girls with disabilities, supporting Ukrainians with disabilities, guaranteeing the availability and affordability of assistive technologies, and ensuring the EU Budget supports independent living and disability inclusion in the Green and Digital transition.

In relation to the Manifesto, Yannis Vardakastanis, the President of the EDF, emphasised that persons with disabilities aspire to be full citizens of the European Union and called on EU institutions to ensure their participation in the democratic process and the shaping of policies. Following the adoption of the Manifesto, discussions centred around three main themes: free movement and full participation of persons with disabilities; inequality, social exclusion and poverty; and disability-inclusive resilience. Various members of the European Parliament and disability advocates were invited to share their views and experiences during each session. Chris Roberts, took the floor during the session focused on ‘Fighting for our Rights – combating inequality, social exclusion and poverty’. He highlighted the importance of increased funding for services and support for people with dementia and national dementia plans, emphasising that ‘we will not be forgotten or left behind’ and ‘nothing about us without us’. You can watch his speech, here: https://youtu.be/74XCw6fEAX8

Link to the manifesto: https://www.edf-feph.org/publications/eppd-manifesto-2023/