Ensuring the inclusion and support of people with disabilities is not merely a matter of choice or personal conviction—but a fundamental obligation under the article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Art. 26) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the EU and all Member States. 

Yet despite these legal requirements, most of the 100 million residing in the EU remain largely excluded from our society. People with disabilities face discrimination in the workforce, they are more likely to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and at least 52% reportedly feel discriminated against. It is crucial that we move beyond statements of intent and actively work towards fulfilling this obligation in all aspects of policy and practice.

Last but not least, when it comes to the exercise of their political rights, people with disabilities face much greater barriers to vote in all elections, including EU elections, and as a result tend to be significantly underrepresented in the EU Parliament. 

The Good Lobby has assessed  the manifestos of the leading  European Political Party to verify whether or not they address the issue of discrimination against people with disabilities. 

To run our analysis we took as point of reference  European Disability Forum’s (EDF) Manifesto and its 5 areas of action: 

  1. Guarantee the participation of persons with disabilities in the political and public life of the EU.
  2. Realise a Union of Equality for persons with disabilities with the CRPD as its compass.
  3. Become a more social Europe.
  4. Embrace accessibility – allowing free movement in Europe.
  5. Protect persons with disabilities in Europe and beyond;

Overall, most  manifestos score low by failing  to include many of the EDF’s positions. This is reflected through a traffic light rating system, where red is reserved for manifestos that make no reference to the challenge of better integrating people with disabilities in the EU; yellow is attributed to those parties that address the issue, but propose no novel suggestions on how to tackle the issue; the green label will be reserved to those parties that take the issue the most seriously and propose new ideas. 

ALDE: orange

ALDE’s manifesto includes two proposals aimed at people with disabilities. Firstly, the liberals commit to fostering digital equality and have pledged to strive towards allocating greater resources for the development of digital skills within vulnerable communities, including individual disabilities. ALDE also proposes to expand the EU Crimes list and ensure that people with disabilities are explicitly covered by the provisions against hate speech.

European Greens: Green

The Greens’ manifesto includes various aspirational statements concerning people with disabilities. ” The Greens also commit to taking disability into account when combating the pay gap commiting to push for “ equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities for all at work”. 

The manifesto also includes concrete proposals and a section on disability called “For an Europe that is accessible for all”. The Greens focus on public participation, believing that the EU institutions should do more to make EU elections more accessible to people with disabilities. The Greens also commit to better integrate people with disabilities into EU decision making. They pledge to push for the “effective monitoring and enforcement of European accessibility legislation,” the introduction of the EU Disability Card, and believe that the EU should start collecting disaggregated data to better evaluate the impact of EU policies on people with disabilities. 

The Greens also commit to focus on mental health – on the section “mental health is political, the Greens state “Our Universal Health Coverage will go beyond physical health and make sure that public healthcare systems include mental health care  with no additional costs for individuals.”

Lastly, the Greens propose that people with disabilities (along with young people, single-parent families, the elderly, and people in poverty) should benefit from reduced transport fares. They are one of the only parties to provide an easy-to-read version of their manifesto.

PES: orange

The Party of European Socialists commits to pushing for the adoption of the  European Anti-Discrimination Directive and the implementation of the EU Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to “strengthen political and social rights for all.”

EFA : red

The European Free Alliance’s manifesto does not include any explicit mentions of the topic. 

EDP: orange

The European Democratic Party commits to “ensuring equal rights for people with disabilities,” and to introduce a European Disability Card (which already happened in this mandate) and to the “adoption of the horizontal anti-discrimination directive”.

The Left: Green

The Left commits to fighting against the digital exclusion of people with disabilities, they call for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. They also call for the creation of quality care structures for “children, the elderly and the disabled in order to enhance the sustainability of reproduction in an equitable manner.”

EPP: Orange

The EPP’s manifesto commits to implementing the European Disability Card and to strengthen the European Care Strategy to improve the availability of affordable long-term care for vulnerable individuals.

ECPM: red 

The European Christian Political Movement is the only political party whose manifesto features a dedicated section on Disability in their manifesto. ECPM commits to advocating for inclusive “education systems, educational systems, employment opportunities and easy access to public facilities,” as well as the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, the ECPM opposes the Equal Treatment Directive, which is one of the main demands of the European disability movement;

ECR: Red

The European Conservatives and Reformists’ manifesto does not include any explicit mentions of the topic.

No Manifesto