Directors of Inclusion Europe’s member organisations met in Budapest, Hungary, to talk about the work they are doing in their respective countries and organisations, and how to cooperate for inclusion in Europe.
These were the topics we discussed:
European elections 2019
There will be elections to the European Parliament on 23-26 May this year.
Inclusion Europe encourages everyone to vote and to make the most of the elections as an opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities and their families:
- We have prepared a text which says why voting in the elections is important.
It also explains what all of us in the inclusion movement can do during the campaign for the elections.
And it says what the candidates should be doing.
This document is available in multiple languages.
The main parts of the manifesto are also available in easy-to-read.
We encourage everyone to use this text and talk about it with others inside and outside of their organisations.
- We have been campaigning for people with intellectual disabilities to have their right to vote respected:
- Results of our survey on election laws in EU countries: there are many encouraging developments, for example Spain and also Denmark
- Now we are encouraging people to vote in the European elections (video).
We want the candidates to make the elections accessible.
And we want all our members and others in the inclusion movement to talk about the elections and encourage people to vote: use meetings to talk about the elections (with the help of our manifesto, for example), post about them online, translate our documents and videos into their language so that more people can use them …
The members of Inclusion Europe are already doing a lot of work prior to the elections. Some examples:
- ÉFOÉSZ, Hungary: Easy-to-read information about the elections
- Unapei, France: Videos in easy-to-read about the European Parliament and the EU;
Posters with election information their members can use.
- Viltis, Lithuania: Preparing to have election observers together with the Lithuanian disability forum.
The European Parliament organises a campaign to help people learn more about the elections and how to take part in them. At the Director’s meeting, representatives of the European Parliament’s communication team talked about this campaign, called #ThisTimeImVoting:
- There is a website where anybody can register to receive information about the elections.
It can be also used to promote your own activities for the elections (for example when people organise an event to talk to others about the elections).
The website is available in all EU languages
- Another website provides information on how to vote in each of the EU countries
- People can also get in touch with their national representation of the European Parliament to learn more about the elections and to find out how to work together to promote voting. The European Parliament has such an office in every EU member state
Public procurement and “deinstitutionalisation”: Issues of concern
One issue that emerged during our discussions constitutes a major threat to the well-being of people with disabilities: the increased trend of basing public procurement of support services on costs as the main criteria. This often leads to the decline of service quality, or to the services disappearing altogether.
Another issue of concern is the “deinstitutionalisation” process in Hungary. There are 23,000 people living in institutions, according to ÉFOÉSZ. Hungary was granted a large sum of EU money dedicated to the process of deinstitutionalisation. Questions are now being raised about the quality of the new services which will be set up, particularly in terms of creating conditions for social inclusion and developing the required skills of the support services’ staff.
Employment and self-advocacy: interesting examples
Employment was another topic we discussed. Our Danish member LEV shared the success of a programme they developed which helped 3,000 people to find work on the open labour marked over the last 8 years.
We learned about how self-advocates at ÉFOÉSZ were involved in the monitoring of the CRPD in Hungary. They prepared a country review and met with CRPD Committee members to talk about the situation in Hungary.
Most branches of ÉFOÉSZ have self-advocacy groups, with about 300 self-advocates in total.
Inclusion Europe’s work
We also talked about some of the work Inclusion Europe is doing:
- Europe in Action conference
- Hear our Voices self-advocacy conference
- Work on health and on employment, poverty, universal income
We are always looking for our members to get involved in the work we do – like we did with the #MyInclusionStory video or with the task force discussion on including people with complex support needs.
A big thank you to all participants for such a lively and interesting meeting.
And especially to ÉFOÉSZ for hosting us!
I’ll be looking forward to continuing these conversations – especially in person at the Europe in Action conference in Vilnius.
Also have a look at ÉFOÉSZ’s easy-to-read report about the meeting