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New EU Disability Card welcome, but not enough – Andrews

Rise of right wing parties a threat to progress on disability rights

MEPs will today vote on a new universal card for people with disabilities, aimed at improving the freedom of movement within the EU for people with disabilities.

Backing the measure in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Wednesday 24th April), Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews has said the new EU Disability Card is only one step towards ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to travel and services within the EU.

“Over 27% of EU citizens over the age of 16 have a disability. The new European Disability Card and Parking Card will provide an easy way to give proof of disability status when visiting another EU country. It is a great step forward, but I must stress that on its own, it is not enough. It won’t, in isolation, eradicate the barriers to travel and access to services within the EU for people with disabilities,” the Dublin MEP said.

“Last Friday, I had the honour of becoming the first Irish MEP to sign the Disability Federation of Ireland’s pledge for European election candidates. This is a commitment to prioritising disability issues and actively working in the European Parliament for disability equality and inclusion.

“Like many marginalised groups, people with disabilities fear the rise in right-wing populism and what the next term of the European Parliament may bring. People with disabilities need a European Union that continues to stand up for them. It is vital that the EU thrives, and that Ireland remains at the heart of it.

“I am encouraging all Irish MEPs and European election candidates to sign this pledge to prioritise disability rights as part of their campaign in the upcoming election. We must unite in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and working to achieve a more inclusive society. Let us pledge to make real progress in the next mandate by championing policies that support accessibility, equality, and freedom for all. By signing this pledge, we can carry the fight for disability rights into the next mandate. Together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive Europe for everyone.”

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