MEP letter highlights “alarming” lack of funding for disability care and support services

The letter calls for the EU’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to finance support and care services for persons with disabilities during the crisis.
Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

09 Apr 2020

MEPs have demanded that the EU’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative will finance support and care services for persons with disabilities during the crisis.

The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative is a recently-launched EU scheme which provides financial support from cohesion policy funding to address the effects of the pandemic.

It is one of several measures adopted by the commission as part of its continuing response to the coronavirus outbreak which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in Europe.


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But MEPs, in a letter to European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen and her Council counterpart Charles Michel, say there is still an “alarming” lack of funding for services that provide care and support for persons with disabilities.

The letter says that while most organisations have “adapted” and continue to provide services they still lack access to urgently needed funding.

The inability to access funding, it states, is due to “non-flexible contracts with authorities and delayed funding calls.”

"MEPs, in a letter to European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen and her Council counterpart Charles Michel, say there is still an “alarming” lack of funding for services that provide care and support for persons with disabilities"

The letter has been signed by 45 MEPs from across the political divide.

It specifically calls on the European Commission “to take new actions to mobilise essential investments and resources to guarantee the continuity of care and support services”.

The MEPs, in the letter, say that the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative must provide resources for persons with disabilities and other persons with support needs.

The letter was penned by deputies from 17 countries and seven political groups, including Slovak ECR deputy Lucia Nicholsonová, chair of the parliament’s employment and social affairs committee.

The European Disability Forum, meanwhile, says that residential institutions in Europe are becoming “hotbeds of infection” in the ongoing pandemic.

One example are residential care centres in the Walloon region of Belgium which have seen a huge increase in people with the virus.

"The European Disability Forum, meanwhile, says that residential institutions in Europe are becoming “hotbeds of infection” in the ongoing pandemic"

The Walloon Minister of Health, Christie Morreale, has now appealed for support from the country’s defence and civil protection sectors.

She also called on volunteers with a medical background to assist in rest homes suffering from staff shortages, saying, "These measures are justified, given the urgency of the situation.”

According to the minister, 116 of the approximately 600 residential care centres in Wallonia are affected.

Elsewhere, EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe has written to MEPs highlighting the “challenges” currently facing people with a rare disease.

It lists several recommendations on what policymakers can do to “protect” people living with a rare disease during the crisis, focusing on seven areas including access to health care, screening and diagnosis of rare diseases and safe use of medicines.

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