First agreement on the EU disability card
More EU freedom of movement for persons with disabilities
Today, Thursday, the co-legislators, consisting of the EU Parliament, the EU Commission and the Council, reached an agreement on the legislative proposal to introduce an EU disability card. This agreement in the trilogue is subject to final approval in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper).
Green shadow rapporteur Katrin Langensiepen, interparliamentary coordinator for the rights of persons with disabilities, comments:
"Good news for people with disabilities in the EU: if the Member States play ball, it looks like we will adopt an EU disability card before the end of this legislature.
The new EU disability card will be of particular benefit to people with disabilities when travelling and will guarantee that their national disability status will finally be recognized in other EU countries. National benefits in the mobility or cultural sector will then apply not only to French people with disabilities in France, for example, but also to German or Polish visitors with disabilities.
We were also able to persuade the Member States to set up national websites. These should bundle relevant information on the nationally applicable benefits for travelers. These national websites are to be brought together by the EU Commission on a central website in order to keep the jungle of information clear.
Even if the card is only intended for short stays (max. 3 months at a time) and does not include any entitlement to social benefits, a particular win for us Greens is that the card can be used for people taking part in an EU mobility project such as Erasmus for a period exceeding the three months.
Unfortunately, people with disabilities will have to wait a little longer before they can take advantage of the EU disability card. The implementation period for the directive was negotiated to be 30 months, with a further twelve months until the first card is issued.
This makes it all the more important that the proposed legislation is voted on as quickly as possible.
We Greens see the EU disability card as an important start and an indispensable basis for genuine EU freedom of movement for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities have the same right as others to live, travel and work in other EU countries. Our task is to ensure that they have the appropriate assistance to do so without discrimination. The EU disability card is a good start."
What the EU Commission's proposed directive envisages:
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/legislative-train/spotlight-JD 23-24/file-european-disability-card#:~:text=On 6 September 2023, the,committees was announced in Parliament.
The proposed directive aims to introduce a physical and digital EU disability card in all Member States - in addition to the national disability card (these will not be replaced).
This should enable people with disabilities to enjoy all public benefits that apply in another EU-Member State for the time of short stays (max. 3 months at a time).
This will make it easier for people with disabilities to travel to other EU countries:
- Benefits in the cultural and tourism sector
- Benefits in (local) transport for themselves and their assistant
- assistance services on trains and local public transport.
Example: If tolls are free for people with disabilities in France, this now also applies to all other EU citizens with disabilities when they use the highway in France during their summer vacation.
Any entitlement to social benefits is excluded from the card.
Demands of the EU Parliament, that are included in the deal:
- Holders of a European disability card who participate in an EU mobility program do not lose their entitlement to social benefits as a result of the temporary relocation and for the duration of this program.
- After three years, the EU Commission will also review the portability of social benefits, social protection and social assistance.
- The EU disability card is to be free of charge and a small administrative fee is to be charged for the EU parking card.
- The Commission should carry out a European awareness campaign in cooperation with the Member States.
- Each Member State should operate a barrier-free website on which the national benefits can be viewed transparently.The relevant information is to be collected on a central EU website, which is accessible in all 24 EU languages, and linked to the national websites.
You can also find more information on the EU disability card here: https://www.greens-efa.eu/opinions/eu-disability-card/
Demands of the EU Parliament that were NOT implemented in the deal:
Interim solutions for people with disabilities who spend more than three months at a time in another EU country.
Holders of a European disability card who move to another member state to take up employment or participate in an educational program should be entitled to social benefits with the card - until the new national disability status is recognized.