The EU signed the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on its opening day for signature on 30 March 2007. It has since been signed by all 27 EU countries and a further 120 states worldwide. Following completion of the ratification procedure, the EU has become a formal party to the Convention (as are 16 EU Member States as well).
The Convention commits parties to ensuring that people with disabilities fully can enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens. For the EU, this means ensuring that all legislation, policies and programmes at EU level comply with the Convention’s provisions on disability rights, within the limits of EU responsibilities. Ratifying countries, such as the EU Member States, should take action in the following areas: access to education, employment, transport, infrastructures and buildings open to the public, granting the right to vote, improving political participation and ensuring full legal capacity of all people with disabilities.
The EU’s disability strategy for 2010-2020 focuses on empowering people with disabilities to enjoy their rights on an equal basis with others and on removing obstacles in everyday life. It also aims to help implement the provisions of the Convention in practice, both at EU and national level. The strategy complements and supports action by the Member States which have the main responsibility in disability policies.