Full implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is needed to move forward a Social Europe


Greek MEP, Kostadinka Kuneva, GUE/NGL shadow rapporter on the report said:  “The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a pioneering text. However, unless there is a full implementation it might remain a dead letter.”


“Unfortunately, the European Commission claims that it does not have the necessary competence to implement the UNCRPD Convention and calls on member states to do so. However, we have witnessed how the Commission can play a leading role in other spheres.”


Given the sensitivity of the issue, Kuneva called on the European Commission to stop hiding behind the EU's institutional shortcomings and to take a new legislative initiative to tackle these.


“I urge the Commission to ensure universal and full application of the Convention in all member states. This will be the first major step towards a genuinely Social Europe,” Ms Kuneva concluded.

Spanish MEP, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, remarked that approximately 900 million people in the world live with a disability and 80 percent of these live in developing countries.


“Half of disabilities are preventable because they are directly related to poverty. In fact, poverty is an obstacle to access basic needs. Malnutrition or lack of medical care can lead to disability,” she explained.

“The European Union’s foreign policy, especially trade policy, further impoverishes developing countries, consequently undermining, among others, their public services.”

“We must strengthen public services for all, with early medical care and less inequality. This is the only way we can really address the real problems of people with disabilities in the world,” she concluded.



Spanish MEP, Marina Albiol Guzmán raised concern about the democratic gap caused by Spanish government’s negligence in ratifying the Convention.



“80.000 people in Spain  are unable to vote because of their disabilities. This is electoral apartheid. Is Europe going to do something on this?” she asked.



Czech MEP, Kateřina Konečná highlighted the significant financial costs that people with disabilities face:


“Generally speaking, I believe that health care should be free. Furthermore, this must be especially true for people with disabilities. I consider it necessary due to the very specific and precarious situation in which they find themselves,” she said.




GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)

European Parliamentary Group


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