Within the EU, blind people find it significantly more difficult to exercise their right to freedom of movement as EU citizens than sighted people. The reason for this is the patchwork of national regulations for the freedom of movement of assistance dogs. Even when EC law regulates access for assistance dogs, there is frequently no clear definition of ‘recognised assistance dogs’ (see, for example, Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council) and private interest groups from dog training institutions (such as ADI and IGDF) therefore monopolise the authority to issue recognition.
What steps is the European Commission taking to guarantee blind citizens of the Union the same freedom of movement as sighted citizens? Are there any plans to harmonise the recognition of assistance dogs and to enable a free choice of trainer, even going outside the international interest groups of dog training institutions?