This page features the news on disability from Europe in the Debrief Library. See also news from other countries.


Accessibility and Design

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AccessibleEU centre: a first step towards an EU agency on accessibility. (Jul, EDF)

23 Member States are running late with the European Accessibility Act. (Jul, EDF)

The European Accessibility Act: came into effect in 2019 and “Member states must pass the necessary implementation laws by June 28, 2022” (May, Forbes)


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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: ways forward. (Jun, Age Platform)

Policy brief revisiting Mainstreaming Ageing: "A more effective integration of ageing into all policies at all levels will enhance societal preparedness for population ageing and benefit all age groups." (Feb, UNECE)

Assistive Technology

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A scoping review of assistive technology needs, access and coverage and related barriers and facilitators. “The three key elements significantly affecting the capacity of AT systems to deliver appropriate services to potential users were the relative accessibility of the systems themselves, their financial affordability for users and the acceptability of different APs.” (Jul, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology)


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An important collection of synthesis reports on COVID-19 and people with disabilities assessing the impact of the crisis and informing disabiliyt-inclusive next steps. (Jul)

Civil Society and Community

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Hundreds Of Disabled Activists Demand Rights in Brussels in a “Freedom Drive”. (Sep, ENIL)

Climate Crisis and Environment

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Heatwaves Disastrous for Older People, People with Disabilities. (Aug, Human Rights Watch)

Joint Statement on the Social Climate Fund the fund “must be a transformative instrument tackling structural injustices” (Mar, EDF)

Communication and Language

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A new video on the importance of Braille. (Jan, European Blind Union)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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The European Court of Human Rights declined to condemn France for censuring a video featuring adults and children with Down Syndrome. (Sep, ADF International)

Implementing the Right of People with Disabilities to Participate in Cultural Life across Five European Countries: Narratives and Counternarratives. Research in Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden:

“[This article] contrasts official narratives, which highlight good practices and steps taken to improve access to culture, with counternarratives that reveal a fragmentary approach to cultural participation of persons with disabilities, persisting barriers, limited recognition of artists with disabilities, and the perpetuation of stigma and stereotypes.” (Jun, Journal of Human Rights Practice)

A Narrative Literature Review of Barriers and Facilitators to Cultural Participation by People with Disabilities. Covers legislation and policies, funding and services, attitudes, accessibility and gaps in consultation.

"While adopting binding accessibility standards is important, to the extent that this results in a checklist approach to addressing barriers, it is unlikely to be sufficient. This is especially so given that existing guidelines can restrict themselves to addressing particular disability types and that many barriers occur in the realm of attitudes and lack of knowledge of a range of actors and in approaches to education. Moreover, standards alone are unlikely to address the need for support and interaction that seems necessary to facilitate access and participation, particularly for some groups such as people with [intellectual disabilities]." (Feb, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)

TV and Film

The European Blind Union is disappointed at first MEDIA calls for proposals 2022 European Commission calls for proposals to support the audiovisual industry did not live up to good practices on promoting accessibility. (Feb, EBU)

Digital Accessibility and Technology

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The Digital Services Act will create second-class internet users. (Jun, EDF)

The European Accessibility Act's June 2022 Deadline "the member states of the European Union must create their own digital accessibility law per the European Accessibility Act" (Feb, BOIA)

Artificial Intelligence

Civil society and EDF reacts to European Parliament’s Artificial Intelligence Act draft Report urging safeguarding people's rights in AI legislation. (May, EDF)

Online Accessibility

The Digital Services Act must ensure accessible digital services for persons with disabilities (Apr, Brussels Morning)

Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response

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Flooding: Disability Inclusion must be a priority in Disaster Risk Reduction. (Jul, EDF)

EDF welcomes regional roadmap to resilience on the adoption of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) Roadmap 2021-2030, which recognises persons with disabilities are more at risk during such crises. (Dec, EDF)

Review of Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Policy across Europe and Central Asia. As well as countries with informal links with organizations of persons with disabilities, Italy and Serbia have disabled people's representatives engaged formally in working groups on disaster management. No country systematically disaggregates information by disability in DRR information systems. See also a collection of further resources on disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction. (Dec, EDF)

Economics and Social Protection

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Prioritising persons with disabilities in the action against inflation and energy costs. (Nov, EDF)

A snapshot on the impact of the rising cost of living on service providers in the disability sector. “The report argues for the need for effective government support to help disability service providers cope with the cost of living crisis, and to catalyse their transformation into more resilient and modernised entities.” (Jan)

Social Protection

Social protection for people with disabilities An analysis of policies in 35 countries (Mar, ESPN) See a summary from EDF.

For a European Disability Card that makes the freedom of movement accessible. (Jan, ENIL)

Digest in plain English of a Special Issue on Independent Living in Europe and Beyond: Past, Present and Future. (Jan, IJDSJ)

Does the European Care Strategy care about disability? “The council recommendation on long-term care needs first of all to recognise disability support as a topic distinct from care.” (Nov, Social Europe)

Social Protection and the Welfare State: What the EU can do to support persons with disabilities (Mar, EDF)

Rebuilding for sustainability and resilience: strengthening the integrated delivery of long-term care. “ European countries must reorient care models to emphasize person-centredness, user involvement, prevention, healthy ageing and enablement. ” (WHO)

The time to care about care: Responding to changing attitudes, expectations and preferences on long-term care in Europe.:

“Since 2007, the ability of care systems to adequately address evolving care needs has declined: residential care is unaffordable for many, and the supply of community-based services is falling considerably behind a rising demand. Rural communities and poorer individuals bear the brunt of growing capacity gaps, while women are disproportionately affected by the burden of frequent, intensive and undesired informal caregiving spells. ” (link to pdf, Apr, InCare)

Roadmap for user centered funding for long-term care and support. (Mar, UNIC Project)

Education and Childhood

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Better Health, Better Lives? 10-Years on From the World Health Organization’s Declaration on the Health of Children With Intellectual Disabilities (Mar, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities)

Employment, Business and Work

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A toolkit for Public Employment Services to combat labour market discrimination against persons with disabilities. (Sep, European Commission)

Disability Employment Package to improve labour market outcomes for persons with disabilities (European Commission)

Disability and Gender Gaps: a position paper addressing unequal employment of women with disabilities. (Sep, EDF)

EU historic agreement on minimum wage covers workers with disabilities. (Jul, EDF)

Working at EU institutions not easy for ethnic minority staff “Working for the EU institutions is no walk in the park for people of colour or with disability, with almost 60 percent of respondents from both categories saying they have observed or experienced discrimination.” (May, EU Observer)

Gender Equality and Women with Disabilities

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International Women's Day


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Denied the right to health: persons with disabilities have more difficulty accessing healthcare. (Mar, European Economic and Social Committee)

EDF position paper Recommendations on cancer screening and treatment. "Unfortunately, the mention of persons with disabilities in EU policies does not translate into concrete actions to ensure their equal access to cancer screening and care, and to address the pre-existing inequalities and factors putting them at higher risk of cancer or inadequate care." (Feb, EDF)

Policy brief on disability-inclusive health systems Highlights greater risk factors in health, limited service delivery and poor health outcomes. (WHO)

History and Memorial

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A book review of an interdisciplinary account of deaf history in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. (Jul, H-Disability)

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

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Indigenous People and Minority Communities

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Briefing note on social exclusion of Roma with Disabilities. (Dec, EDF)

Institutions and Deinstitutionalization

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Why does Europe keep funding institutions and what can be done about it? (Jan, EDF)

Deinstitutionalising disabled people: making it happen. “Notably absent from the EU countries with a deinstitutionalisation strategy is the entirety of south-west Europe. None of the most populated EU member states—France, Italy, Spain and Germany—has adopted such a document.” (Sep, Social Europe)

Deinstitutionalisation, disability and delay “After a decade of inertia, the EU has made little progress on the deinstitutionalisation of disabled people.” (May, Social Europe)

A Call for Change Role of the European Union funding in supporting deinstitutionalisation around the world. "The EU is in a particularly strong position to promote deinstitutionalisation reforms during the process of EU enlargement. " (Feb, EDF)

Inclusion Europe's 2022 Campaign is to End Segregation.

“The situation of people with disabilities more generally has improved over time. However, this is not true for all people and more limited for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are more likely to be living in segregated or congregated settings and less likely to be experiencing real inclusion.” (Jan, Inclusion Europe)

International Cooperation

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Toolkits for cooperation between DPOs and EU delegations. Guidance on how disabled-led organizations can engage with the largest humanitarian donor in the world. (Feb, EDF)

European Union of the Deaf Impact Report 2022 (Feb, EUD)

Lack of inclusion of people with disabilities is worrying exclusion at the Conference on the Future of Europe (Dec, Euractiv)

What about young persons with disabilities? Key issues for how the European Year of Youth should include young people with disabilities. (Dec, EDF)

Global Disability Summit

On the European Regional Disability Summit and positive participation of European leaders. (Feb, EDF)

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Lived Experience and Opinion

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On Our Terms a podcast on independent living and disability activism, hosted by the Debrief's own Áine Kelly-Costello. (Dec, European Network on Independent Living)

Mental Health

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Mental health of people with intellectual disabilities and family members: “Mental health and intellectual disabilities diagnoses are being used to deprive people of their right to decide about their lives.” (Feb, Inclusion Europe)

Joint statement welcoming the suspension of the adoption of the draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention (Jun, EDF) See more from Human Rights Watch.

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

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Air Travel

Why Flying Is A Nightmare For Wheelchair Users: “The worst part of flying for me is spending the journey anxiously waiting to see if my wheelchair has made it safely to the other side.” (Jan, Huffpost)

Policy and Rights

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Does the future of Europe include disability? The Conference on the Future of Europe failed to address persons with disabilities. (May, Social Europe)

UN expert hails EU commitment to disability rights The Special Rapporteur's initial findings on his review of disability in Europe, celebrating efforts taken, and raising concern that some funding is still going to institutional arrangements for persons with disabilities. (Mar, OHCHR)

President of the European Parliament committed to work on improving the rights of Europeans with disabilities. (Mar, EDF)

Improving Accessibility and Access to Rights – Implementing the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030. (March, EU France 22)

Joint Briefing for United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities regarding the review of the implementation of the CRPD by the EU. "The EU has not taken enough measures to address equality and non-discrimination in its legislation and policies, and in particular to address intersectional and multiple forms of discrimination. " (Feb, EDF)

Politics and Elections

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Millions of voters with disabilities in the European Union may not be able to participate in EP elections in 2024. “There are estimated 800,000 people with disabilities unable to vote in European elections because of legal capacity laws, and millions because of lack of accessibility.” (Nov, Inclusion Europe)

Political participation of persons with disabilities: what you need to know ahead of the 2024 European Elections. (May, EDF)

Human Rights Report 2022: political participation of persons with disabilities. Exploring the right to vote and the right to be a candidate in elections, the report finds some emerging good practices against a concerning backdrop:

“In the 2019 European Parliament elections, approximately 400,000 persons with disabilities in 14 countries were deprived from their right to vote on the basis of their disability.” (May, EDF)

The EU Parliament proposes a new electoral law ensuring the political rights of persons with disabilities. (May, EDF)

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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A book on LGBTQ+ People with Chronic Illness: Chroniqueers in Southern Europe. (Jan, Springer)

An Infographic on Female Genital Mutilation and Disability. (Dec, EDF)

EU Parliament wants to ban forced sterilisation to protect people with disabilities. (Dec, Euractiv)

The Fight to End Forced Sterilization of Disabled Women and Girls (Aug, Women's Media Center)

Disability rights activists fight for access to cities' Pride events “People with disabilities who face barriers accessing Pride events and LGBTQ+ spaces say they're made to feel like a 'double minority.'” (Jun, Politico)

A petition to the European Union to End forced sterilisation in the EU now! (EDF) See also an op-ed asking Who is allowed to be a parent?


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I appreciated this newsletter from Inclusion Europe updates on inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe albeit the subscription link is broken (Feb, Inclusion Europe)

Space Exploration

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British Paralympian John McFall becomes European Space Agency's first disabled astronaut. (Nov, Sky) See also what the parastronaut program means for disability in space. (Inverse)

War in Ukraine

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Reflections from supporting response on building sustainability into disability rights work. (Feb, EDF)

the European Union Agency for Asylum Response to the War in Ukraine (Apr, EUAA)