Today, the European Commission delivered a legislative proposal that will facilitate access to the right to free movement for persons with disabilities, by making sure they can, on an equal basis, access special conditions, preferential treatment, and parking rights when visiting another Member State. The Commission's proposal introduces a standardised European Disability Card and enhances the current European Parking Card for persons with disabilities. Both cards will be recognised throughout the EU.
A European Disability Card
When people's disability status is not recognised abroad, they cannot access the special conditions and preferential treatment, such as free and/or priority access, reduced fees or personal assistance, while visiting other Member States. To address this issue, the Commission proposes the creation of a standardised European Disability Card.
The European Disability Card will serve as recognised proof of disability throughout the EU, granting equal access to special conditions and preferential treatment in public and private services, including for instance transport, cultural events, museums, leisure and sport centres, or amusement parks. It will be issued by the national competent authorities and complement existing national cards or certificates.
Improving the European Parking Card
For many persons with disabilities, private car transport remains the best or only possibility for travel and getting around independently, ensuring their autonomy. The proposed improvements to the current European Parking Card will allow persons with disabilities to access the same parking rights available in another Member State. It will have a binding common format that will replace national parking cards for persons with disabilities and be recognised throughout the EU.
Ensuring accessibility of the cards
To promote ease of use and reduce administrative burden, the proposed Directive will require Member States to:
- Provide the cards in both physical and digital versions.
- Make conditions and rules for issuing or withdrawing the cards publicly available in accessible formats.
- Ensure service providers offer information on special conditions and preferential treatment for persons with disabilities in accessible formats.
To guarantee compliance, Member States must ensure persons with disabilities, their representative organisations and relevant public bodies can take action under national law if needed. After adoption of the Directive into national law, Member States are asked to impose fines and corrective measures in case of violations.
The Commission's proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. The proposal foresees that once adopted, Member States will have 18 months to incorporate the provisions of the Directive into national law.
The proposed Directive establishing the European Disability Card and the European Parking Card for persons with disabilities was announced in the EU Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021-2030. The proposal contributes the implementation by the EU of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, to which the EU and all its Member States are party (UNCRPD). The UNCRPD contains obligations for States Parties to recognise the rights of persons with disabilities to liberty of movement on an equal basis with others. States Parties are also requested to take effective measures to ensure personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, including by facilitating the personal mobility of persons with disabilities in the manner and at the time of their choice, and at affordable cost. The proposal also aligns with the principles of equal opportunities and of inclusion of people with disabilities from the European Pillar of Social Rights.
This initiative builds on the outcomes of the EU Disability Card pilot project conducted in Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia between 2016 and 2018. In addition, it integrates insights from a recent public consultation, which collected over 3,300 replies, of which 78% from persons with disabilities.
For More Information
The rights of persons with disabilities must not stop at national borders. We want to make traveling easier for persons with disabilities and the European Disability Card and the improved European Parking Card should remove some obstacles for them. I trust this will strengthen their independence and help them to exercise their rights around the EU.
Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency - 06/09/2023
Today, we are unlocking free movement for EU citizens with disabilities by ensuring the mutual recognition of their disability status in Europe. This will facilitate the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in our societies by ensuring that persons with disabilities can readily access the support intended for them in all Member States.
Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Equality - 06/09/2023
- Publication date
- 6 September 2023
- Representation in Cyprus