EU Council and Parliament pave the way for a European disability card and a European parking card for persons with disabilities
- The Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies of the Basque Government has collaborated in debates and proposals for its optimization
- Its new design, validity and expiration will prevent possible scams and fraud and will mean greater control by city councils and institutions
- The current parking cards must be replaced when Brussels approves it and will observe greater control
Brussels/Strasbourg/Vitoria-Gasteiz 2024 02 10
The Council’s presidency reached an agreement with the European Parliament’s negotiators on the directive establishing the European disability card and the European parking card for persons with disabilities. National authorities will be responsible for issuing physical and digital European disability cards, in an accessible format. The cards will be recognised throughout the EU as proof of disability or entitlement to specific services based on a disability. The Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies of the Basque Government has participated in the debates by formulating, for their optimization, proposals together with other countries and regions.
The cards, with a renewed design and measures to prevent inappropriate use, will be recognized throughout the EU as proof of disability or right to specific services based on a disability. The agreement, reached in record time during the Belgian presidency, marks a transformative step towards a more accessible and equitable society and reaffirms the EU's commitment to promoting the inclusion of all citizens within the diverse Union.
Background and next steps
The European Commission's proposal was adopted in September 2023 and the EU Council reached its negotiating position in November 2023. New negotiations on the final form of the Directive began on 17 January 2024 and have been successfully concluded with today's agreement, in less than a month. The technical team will continue working at a technical level to finalize the text. The provisional agreement must then be confirmed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, followed by a legal-linguistic control of the directive and its formal adoption by both institutions.
The legislative proposal sent by the Commission to the European Parliament states that the new regulation will not affect the competence of the Member States to determine the conditions for evaluating and recognizing the disability condition, nor to grant the right to parking conditions and facilities reserved for People with disabilities.
The Basque Government proposed that the sub-state management capacity of both cards be recognized in those European regions of the EU with autonomy to do so, which includes the registration or census, issuance and validity, renewal and withdrawal of the Cards. “Likewise, there must be coordination and exchange of European state, sub-state and local information on the management of the Cards” proposed Minister Nerea Melgosa
Main elements of the compromise text
The provisionally agreed text maintains and reinforces the aim of the directive, which is to ensure equal access to special conditions or preferential treatment provided to persons with disabilities during short stays across the EU, such as reduced or zero entry fees, priority access, assistance and reserved parking spaces.
Further elements agreed upon during interinstitutional negotiations include the following: member states shall extend the usage of the European disability card for periods longer than a short stay in the context of EU mobility programmes, and may also choose to do so in other instances; the European Disability card will be issued and renewed free of charge, except in cases of loss or damage; member states may choose to charge a fee relating to the administrative costs for the issuance or renewal of the European Parking Card; the letter A can be added to the European Disability Card for persons with disabilities with an increased need for support or who are entitled to support by a personal assistant; both cards will contain a QR code to prevent fraud; an EU website, available in all languages and in accessible formats, will provide relevant information on the two cards; member states will also have to provide information on the cards to the public in accessible formats, and the digital format of the European Parking Card for persons with disabilities will remain optional for member states
Disability in the EU
Many people with disabilities still face barriers to access healthcare, education, jobs, leisure, and to participate in political life. Almost half of the EU population think that discrimination based on disability is widespread in their country. The EU and its member states are working to ensure that all people with disabilities: enjoy their rights, including free movement; can participate fully in society and the economy and do not experience discrimination
In 2022, 27% of the EU population over the age of 16 had some form of disability. According to Eurostat estimates, that equals to 101 million people or one in four people adults in the EU. Latvia has the highest share of people with a disability (38.5%), followed by Denmark (36.1%).
The older you get, the more likely to have a disability. There are more women with a disability. In 2022, the share of women with disabilities was higher than that of men in all member states. In the EU, on average, 29.5% of the total female population has a disability, compared to 24.4% of the total male population.
Many people with disabilities are treated badly or unfairly because of their disability. In 2019, a Eurobarometer survey revealed that 52% of people with disabilities feel discriminated against.
Almost 1 in 5 are unemployed
17.7% of people with disabilities aged 20-26 were unemployed in 2020, compared with 8.6% of people without disabilities from the same age group. This also has an impact on lack of financial autonomy for people with disabilities.
1 in 3 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion
In 2022, 28.8% of people with disabilities were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 18.3% of people without disabilities.
1 in 5 leave school early
The rate of early school-leaving is double for people with a disability compared to non-disabled people. Many young people with a disability attend special schools and have difficulties accessing mainstream education and training: only 29% obtain a tertiary degree (post-secondary education) compared with 44% of people without disabilities.
4 times more likely to have unmet healthcare needs
Everyone has the right to preventive healthcare and medical treatment, yet for people with disabilities healthcare is often too expensive, far away and subject to long waiting times.
1 in 5 are victims of violence
People with disabilities, in particular women, the elderly and children, are at greater risk of suffering from violence and abuse, both at home and in care institutions: 17% of people with disabilities are victims of violence, compared with 8% of people without
- European disability card: travelling across the EU to become easier for persons with disabilities (press release, 27 November 2023)
- European disability card (background information)
- General approach on the proposal for a European disability card and the European parking card for persons with disabilities