The European Commission calls for introducing a standardized disability card recognized throughout the European Union’s 27 member states.
The card should simplify travel and free movement for people with disabilities across Europe, one of the core rights of the bloc. “The rights of people with disabilities must not stop at national borders,” says EU Commission Vice President Věra Jourová.
European parking card also improved
Recognized disability status throughout the EU would grant equal access to special conditions and preferential treatment in public and private services. This includes access to transport, cultural events, museums, leisure and sports centers, or amusement parks.
The Commission also aims to improve the European parking card to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy the same parking rights in other member states. The proposal would replace national parking cards and guarantee parking rights throughout the EU. Both cards will be available both digitally and physically.
Based on a pilot project
The proposals are based on a longstanding demand from the European Disability Forum and a pilot project carried out in eight member states, plus public consultations, in which the Commission received around 3 000 replies from people with disabilities. The countries involved were Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia.
The pilot project started in 2016 and was concluded in 2019, but most countries involved kept the card. Under the initiative, the card was voluntary to ensure equal access for people with disabilities in culture, leisure, sport, and transport.
The Commission’s proposal still must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Member states will then have 18 months to transpose it into national law.