EDF: Defending the Interests of Disabled People Living in Europe


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With the help of representative organizations, the European Disability Forum (EDF) currently defends the interests of millions of people living with disabilities across Europe.

This independent group is run by people with disabilities as well as their families, creating a united voice for Europe’s disabled communities. 

2022 is the 25th anniversary of the EDF, a major milestone on their journey to date.

Over the past 25 years, we have seen the adoption of many EU laws and policies that protect the rights of the disabled population and the EDF has played an integral role in this. 

The EU’s backing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in 2010 provided the EDF with a legal framework to advocate for inclusion, accessibility, freedom of movement, independent living, active participation and other fundamental rights and freedoms. 

A Better, Brighter Future for Europe’s Disabled Communities

The EDF aims to achieve equal opportunities for all men, women, and children with disabilities and accessibility is a big part of this. They are focusing on accessibility in the following areas:

Transport. The EDF believes that everyone has a right to seamless, accessible, and independent travel, which is why they contribute to air, rail, road, and sea transportation policies in Europe.

ICT. Too many ICT products and services are still barriers in European countries, which is why ICT is a strong focus area for the EDF. This includes websites, mobile apps, ATMs, smartphones, emerging technologies, and more.

Tourism. Because tourism is essential to the growth of the European economy, the EDF aims to raise awareness of everybody’s right to have equal access to tourism services. They also work closely with the European Commission and other stakeholders.

Built Environments. As with online environments, people with disabilities also have a right to access any physical structures and facilities, which is why this is another priority for the EDF.

Public Procurement. The disabled community should be considered during the purchase of goods, services, and public works by the government. The EDF is ensuring the disabled are not left behind in this area either.

There are also some additional initiatives that the EDF is involved in that will have a positive, far-reaching impact on the lives of people living with disabilities.

The European Disability Card. In an effort to help the disabled travel more easily between EU countries, the EU is developing a disability card, which is a voluntary system of mutual recognition of disability status – an initiative the EDF campaigned for.

The New European Bauhaus. The EDF is also a partner in this creative initiative, which aims to combine sustainability, inclusion, and aesthetics. 

European Accessibility Act. Then there’s the European Accessibility Act, which aims to improve the functioning of the market for accessible products and services, by removing barriers. This is another initiative that the EDF that plays an ongoing role. 

It’s hard to believe that disability rights and regulations would be where they are today without the help and determination of the EDF. 

Through these initiatives, events, and ongoing projects, there’s no doubt that the EDF will continue to be a force to be reckoned with throughout Europe as they continue to fight for the rights of disabled communities.

You can find out more about the EDF here.