‘Put rights of people with disabilities before narrow business lobby interests,’ GUE/NGL urges MEPs
Ahead of a vote tomorrow in the European Parliament, the GUE/NGL group is urgently calling on other MEPs to vote for amendments that would enable the Accessibility Act to make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
Czech MEP Jiři Maštálka1, comments: “So far the demands of businesses have been put before the rights of millions of people with disabilities, as well as older and sick people.”
“This is unacceptable and we are doing our best to change the disappointing text via amendments.
The proposed amendments would require built environments where goods and services are provided to people with disabilities to be accessible. For example, under the current text, while a bank’s cash machine would need to provide options for people who are visually impaired, there would be no requirement for a ramp instead of stairs in order for a person in a wheelchair to access it.
The amendments also propose to extend the scope to cover people with age-related and other impairments; require monitoring and reporting; and involve organisations representing people with disabilities in the implementation assessment.
“Our intention is to achieve a wide-reaching and ambitious legal text that will make a real difference in the lives of more than 80 million Europeans with disabilities, 150 million older people and all other citizens,” Maštálka explains.
Greek MEP Kostadinka Kuneva2 adds: “Unfortunately, this report is even less substantial than the European Commission’s text, which was really the bare minimum."
“When drafting this report, it seems that only business lobbyists, rather than people with disabilities were listened to.
Kuneva appealed to the other MEPs ahead of tomorrow’s vote: “It is not too late, you can make a difference. You can vote for the amendments that we have proposed that will enable this report to make a difference to the lives of people with disabilities.”
“Do not allow a disabled Accessibility Act to come into force,” urges Kuneva.
1. Jiři Maštálka is GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur on the IMCO Committee.
2. Kostadinka Kuneva is Rapporteur for the opinion of the PETI Committee and Shadow Rapporteur for the opinions of the EMPL and FEMM Committees.