On the 15th June 2015, in the framework of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, policy makers and experts will come together in Riga to discuss de-institutionalisation (DI). In view of this timely event, the European Expert Group wishes to reiterate the importance of promoting DI in all European policies and financial instruments.
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During the 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN CRPD in New York, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) organised a side event in cooperation with the European Commission. Debating on co-production, participants agreed that cooperation across sectors is essential to apply values such as freedom, choice and control of life and stressed that society needs to prepare for the fundamental change.
EASPD urges the European Union to self-evaluate how co-production is reflected in existing legal frameworks
Commitment, structural collaboration, mutual respect, willingness to make progress, better choice, autonomy and advocacy. All these elements are essential to comply with the principles set forth in the UN Convention and to implement co-production, which is an inclusive working practice between experts by experience (users) and organisations being of support. EASPD organised a Hearing in the European Parliament with key stakeholders to exchange the best way to develop co-production processes in Europe and warned that the existing EU and national legal frameworks do not always follow the realities and needs on the ground.
“Much more needs to be done to combat the unacceptably low levels of people with disabilities in our workforce”. Commissioner Marianne Thyssen addressed this message to the audience during the 2015 EASPD annual conference on Employment in Zadar (Croatia). The conference focused on the implementation of article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities whilst showcasing best practices of inclusive employment and employment support from across Europe.
The secret has been revealed in Zadar during the EASPD conference “Persons with Disabilities in Employment: Inclusion through Jobs - Making it Real”. The winners of the 2015 Emloyment for All awards are Elite Supported Employment Agency, Ltd (United Kingdom) as a best practice on providing support services in employment for persons with intellectual disabilities and La Fageda Fundació (Spain) for their work in facilitating quality job opportunities for individuals with mental disabilities.
Self-Advocates, inclusive development experts, and European policy makers convened at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 20 April to present and discuss the self-advocates manifesto for accessible development education and how to make development more inclusive.
The European Commission (EC) has recently launched a public consultation asking for recommendations to tackle long-term unemployment in Europe. In view of contributing as early as possible into the EC's work, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has developed a position paper presenting the key factors needed for support services to effectively contribute to tackling long-term unemployment in Europe; not only of persons with disabilities, but all disadvantaged groups. EASPD calls on the EC to implement measures which provide a win-win situation for both the employee and employer and recommends the “STAR” holistic approach.
Social service providers and policy makers convened at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 26 March to work together on how to put social investment back on the European Commission’s agenda. The breakfast session was organised by Social Services Europe, which brings together eight Europe-wide networks of not-for-profit social service providers. Through its membership, Social Services Europe represents over 100,000 organisations throughout Europe.
EASPD has sent a report to the United Nations (UN) compiling the views of service providers for persons with disabilities on the progress made towards ensuring compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the European Union (EU). The report stresses the European Disability Strategy’s lack of recognition of the role played by support services, whilst calling on the EU to adopt a “social investment approach”, overhauling its perception of services as a “cost”.
EASPD releases its latest report on the European Semester, calling for a change to the “growth at all costs” approach towards Social Investment and a growth focusing on the well-being of all citizens. The report proposes several recommendations to policy-makers on how they can integrate well-being into European and national public policy, in a manner that is both practical and sustainable. The report also includes national messages from EASPD’s membership to their respective governments and the European Commission; in particular within the framework of the European Semester.