The implementation of the UN CRPD by the EU – the way forward

Assessing the impact of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ concluding observations — Conference – Thessaloniki, Greece.

On 10 September 2015, the ad Hoc group on Disability of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will hold a conference in Thessaloniki on “The implementation of the UN CRPD by the EU: Assessing the impact of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ concluding observations – The way forward”.

This conference will be the first European event to analyse the milestone of the European Union’s receiving, for the first time ever, concluding observations in the area of human rights to be issued in the first week of September by the UN Committee.

In particular, we will focus on:

  • How the concluding observations can be put into effect when adopting and reviewing EU legislation
  • The impact of the economic crisis on the implementation of the UN CRPD in Europe

Capsis hotel, Monastiriou str. 18,  546 29, Thessaloniki, Greece

Simultaneous interpretation requested from Greek, English, French and Spanish into Greek, English and French. Sign language provided (tbc).

8:30 – 9:00 | Registration

9:00 – 9:45 | Opening statements

Moderator

Xavier Verboven, Member of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Panellists

  • Christos Kesoglou, Deputy Secretary General of the National Confederation of Disabled People (N.C.D.P.), Greece
  • Ioannis Vardakastanis, President of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability, EESC
  • Georgios Dassis, Incoming (tbc) President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
  • Luca Jahier, President of the Various Interests Group, EESC
  • Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki (tbc)
  • Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Head of the Region of Central Macedonia (tbc)
  • Donata Pagetti Vivanti, Vice-President of the European Disability Forum (EDF)
  • Theanó Fotíou, Deputy Minister of Social Solidarity (tbc)
  • Maria Luisa Cabral, Head of Unit, Rights of Persons with Disabilities, European Commission

General discussion

9:45 – 11:15 | Session I – The concluding observations have been adopted: what next?

Moderator

Ioannis Vardakastanis, President of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability, EESC

Panellists

  • Damjan Tatic, Member of UN CRPD Committee, Rapporteur for the EU report (via Skype)
  • Ana Peláez Narváez, Member of the UN CRPD Committee
  • Constantinos Manolopoulos, Interim Director, Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
  • Ask Løvbjerg Abildgaard, Member of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability, EESC
  • Jan Jařab, Regional Representative for Europe, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (tbc)
  • Maria Luisa Cabral, Head of Unit on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, European Commission
  • Klaus Lachwitz, Executive member of the European Disability Forum (EDF)

General discussion

11:15 – 11:45  | Coffee break

11:45 – 13:15 | Session II – How can the concluding observations be put into effect when adopting and reviewing European legislation, policies and programmes?

Moderator

Monica Taylor, Member of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability (EESC)

Panellists

  • Rosa Estaràs-Ferragut, Vice-President for the European Parliament Disability Intergroup (tbc)
  • Catherine Naughton, Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF)
  • Astrid Eichstädt, Disability rights expert, Secretariat-General, European Ombudsman (tbc)
  • Jacques Blanc, Member of the Committee of the Region
  • Anna Ludwinek, Research Manager – Living Conditions and Quality of Life (LCQL), Eurofound

General discussion

13:15 – 14:45 | Lunch

14:45 – 16:45 | Session III – UN CRPD implementation and the economic crisis in Europe: the cases of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia, France, Italy, Cyprus and Spain

Moderator

Antonello Pezzini, Member of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability (EESC)

Panellists

  • Foteini Zafeiropoulou, responsible for the international relations of the Executive Committee of the National Confederation of Disabled People (NCDP), Greece
  • Pat Clarke, President of the Disability Federation, Ireland
  • Vera Bonvalot, President of the Novamente Association, Portugal
  • Gunta Anča, Member of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability (EESC) – Vice-President of the European Disability Forum (EDF), Latvia
  • Alain Faure, former President, Conseil Français des personnes handicapées pour les questions européennes (CFHE)
  • Rodolfo Cattani, President of the Forum Italiano sulla Disabilità (FID)
  • Christakis Nikolaides, Member of the National Confederation of Disabled People, Cyprus (tbc)
  • Antonio González González, Member of the Spanish Economic and Social Council

General discussion

16:45 – 17:45 | Closing session and presentation of conclusions

Moderator

Ioannis Vardakastanis, President of the Ad Hoc Group on Disability, EESC

Panellists

  • Javier Güemes, Technical Director, International Office, ONCE, Expert for the Ad Hoc Group on Disability, EESC
  • Pavel Trantina, Incoming (tbc) President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (EESC)
  • Yannis Yallouros, Executive member, European Disability Forum (EDF)

Registration –> http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.events-and-activities-disabilities-convention-registration

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On 10 September 2015, the EESC’s Ad Hoc Group on Disability will hold a conference in Thessaloniki to assess the impact of the concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The conference will focus on:

  • how the concluding observations can be put into effect when adopting and reviewing EU legislation
  • the impact of the economic crisis on the implementation of the UNCRPD in Europe

The process of analysis of the EU by the UN CRPD Committee

The EU submitted its initial report to the UN CRPD Committee in June 2014. In 2015, the UN Committee is reviewing the report and the work that the EU has done for Europeans with disabilities.

In April 2015, the UN Committee held an initial internal discussion on the EU report and prepared a list of questions sent to the EU on issues requiring further clarification. This is called a “list of issues”.

After that, the EU is preparing the answers to this list of issues. In August 2015, the UN Committee will thoroughly discuss the report and the answers to the list of issues. This is called “constructive dialogue”.

As a result, the UN Committee will give its views on how efficiently the EU has implemented the Convention and will make recommendations for improvement. These are called “concluding observations”.

This conference will be the first European event to analyse the milestone of the European Union’s receiving, for the first time ever, concluding observations in the area of human rights to be issued in the first week of September.

Background

In January 2014, the EESC set up an Ad Hoc Group on Disability, composed of nine members from different EESC groups and sections. The goals of this group are:

  • to provide a forum for the civil society perspective
  • to assess and gather reactions on progress in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

The UNCRPD and its Optional Protocol were adopted by the UN in 2006 and by the EU in 2010. They are the first human rights convention ever to be signed and ratified by the EU. The Convention contains innovative provisions on the role of organisations representing people with disabilities as well as on the role of civil society.

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