In 2016, the Commission launched the European disability card pilot project, with the aim of ensuring that there is mutual recognition of disability status and that people with disabilities are entitled to the same benefits when travelling from one Member State to another.
However, only a very small number of participants took part in the pilot project, which involved eight Member States: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania and Slovenia.
On 15 September 2020, Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jordi Canas of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Canas requested specific answers from the Commission on “can it say whether Spain has shown an interest in joining this pilot project and whether it has submitted an application?” and “can it report on the findings of the assessment of the pilot project?”
In closing, MEP Canas asked the Commission “what steps does it intend to take to successfully introduce the European disability card throughout the Union in a harmonised way and thus ensure that people with disabilities are able to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States with no fear of discrimination, in accordance with Article 26 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union?”
On 25 November, Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli responded on behalf of the European Commission. She said that “the EU Disability Card initiative was discussed for several years in the High-Level Group on Disability” and “although Spain was very active in these discussions, it did not submit an application”.
Commissioner Dalli also reported that “the external evaluation of the project should be finalised by the end of 2020” and “preliminary conclusions and recommendations show positive impacts of the project, even if it is limited in scope due to it being implemented only in eight Member States” and “they also confirm the interest of persons with disabilities in the Card”.
Commissioner Dalli underlined that “The European Commission is carefully examining the results of the assessment, which is currently being finalised”.
Finally, Commissioner Dalli declared that “in parallel, the Commission is working on the preparation of the new Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030” and that “the issue of mutual recognition of disability status and continuation of the EU Disability Card project are among the elements being carefully considered in this context”.
Photo Credit : https://eudisabilitycard.be/en/card