Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), My life resembles a caterpillar track, fluctuating much like the ebb and flow of politics. In the current composition of the European Parliament, a mere half-year remains to accomplish pivotal initiatives already set in motion.
Ironically, as my tenure in Brussels and Strasbourg draws to a close, I’ve been entrusted with a profoundly meaningful dossier. I’ve taken the lead as the main rapporteur for a crucial EU directive profoundly impacting the lives of millions of Europeans with disabilities.
This directive will redefine the European Disability Card, aiming to standardize benefits, aid, discounts, and privileges (such as parking) for all individuals with disabilities across the 27 EU member states. What excites me the most is the opportunity to ensure that the privileged few don’t exploit the European parking permit, turning it into a bonus for high-end luxury vehicles, and leaving behind those truly in need of it.
Our mission is clear: enact legislation swiftly so that upon receiving the European Disability Card, there’s no longer a need to prove their disability status or encounter obstacles in accessing necessary accommodations, especially in transportation, across the Member State they visit.
This endeavor is imperative because the EU cannot afford to be unjust. Despite the increasing mobility and rights of individuals within the EU, the reality for people with disabilities presents persistent challenges, making their freedom of movement more theoretical than practical.
The lack of automatic recognition of their national Disability Cards when accessing services in other Member States is a primary hindrance.
This lack of recognition sometimes leads to indirect discrimination based on nationality or, at the very least, creates ambiguity regarding the utilization of their Disability Card to access services.
Moreover, the European Parking Card is a vital tool for many citizens with disabilities, often representing their primary means of independent mobility. Access to designated parking facilities is therefore of utmost importance.
Hence, dear colleagues, let’s roll up our sleeves and begin our endeavor.