EDF & Commissioner Cretu share commitment to use EU Funds to build an inclusive & accessible Europe (June 2017)
The European Disability Forum President, Yannis Vardakastanis, who is also a Knight Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of St. Lazarus, met today the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu. During the meeting the following issues were discussed: the use of the European Union (EU) Funds for accessibility and non-discrimination, partnership with organisations of persons with disabilities and the future of EU budget and Cohesion Policy.
The Saint Lazarus Foundation is an active member of EDF and strives to ensure that its jurisdictions continue the dissemination of good practices related to persons with disabilities as project by EDF.
Commissioner Cretu emphasised the importance of Cohesion Policy, aiming at reducing disparities among EU Member States, in bridging the gap between the EU and its people.
"The interests of the 80 million Europeans with disabilities are very important to me. We work in close partnership with the European Disability Forum for our common objective of a social and inclusive Europe", said Commissioner Cretu.
EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, highlighted the positive impact the European Funds have in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in Europe. For instance, the EU Funds are used to finance the work that EU countries do to promote accessibility and non-discrimination. In this way, they contribute to the removal of barriers that hinder the full participation in society of persons with disabilities, elderly people, and other groups. However, EDF asked the Commissioner to have a more vigilant approach in ensuring these provisions are respected.
Yannis Vardakastanis also urged the European Commission to continue promoting non-discrimination and partnership with civil society organisations. He also called on the European Commission to finance capacity building of organisations of persons with disabilities so that they can meaningfully contribute to the use and monitoring of the EU Funds.