More than 450 delegates from European organisations representing people with disabilities gathered in the European Parliament in Brussels for the 3rd sitting of the European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities (EPPD) on 5 December. Participants met EP president Martin Schulz, leaders of the EP's political groups, MEPs and EU decision makers to discuss how Europe can ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected.
The aim of the meeting is to promote the dialogue between EU decision makers and national disability organisations. As Hungarian Christian Democrat MEP Ádám Kósa explained: "EU institutions have to cooperate more closely and involve NGOs and people living with disabilities when making decisions about the disabled." Mr Kósa, the chair of the EP's disability intergroup who is deaf himself, added: "This is especially important during times of crisis and it can also help raise awareness." A resolution along these lines will be voted on today by EPPD.
About 80 million live with disabilities in the EU. Next year the EU is set to present a report to the United Nations on what it has done to protect the rights of people with disabilities.