EU on "Active Inclusion" of People with Disabilities
The European Commission will today put forward concrete measures designed to improve the lives of disabled people in the European Union during the 2006-2007 period. The Communication's overall aim is to improve the 'active inclusion' of disabled people through a range of initiatives and measures, including raising disability awareness among small and medium sized companies, reviewing how the European Social Fund can help support employment, training and equal opportunities for disabled people and promoting the concept of independent living for disabled people. These measures will be outlined at European Day of People with Disabilities conference in Brussels.
The annual conference is being held under the theme of 'living together in society'. EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimír Špidla said: 'Employers and society at large need to start looking at people with disabilities as people who generally wish to be active – also in the labour market. People with disabilities carry great potential, are usually very flexible and bring added value to the labour market. We need to inform employers what people with disabilities can and cannot do, and help them in very practical ways to over come barriers when employing people with disabilities.
The Commissioner also drew attention to the fact that in 2006, all Member States will be obliged to prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of disability – in line with the provisions of Directive 2000/78/EC (establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation).
The new Communication places a strong emphasis on 'active inclusion' of people with disabilities into society and the economy through independent living. One of the main priorities is raising disabled people's employment and activity rates.