European Parliament Committee on Petitions – EU Funds and residential institutions – People with Disabilities – September 2016

The Committee on Petitions on the 8th September 2016 at 10.05am (CET) examined Petition 1459/2012, tabled by Judith Klein, Director of the Mental Health Initiative, Open Society Foundations, concerning the investment of EU funds in residential centres for people with disabilities in certain Member States of Central and Eastern Europe.  

Documents and audiovisual from the meeting –

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The Committee on Petitions will carry out a visit to Slovakia between the 22nd – 23rd September 2016.
The visit will aim to investigate allegations related to the misuse of EU structural funds in long-term residential centres for persons with disabilities. The mission will include a visit to a residential institution, as well as a facility employing people with disabilities, dialogues with the relevant authorities, civil society representatives and people with disabilities in the respective centres.
The following Members of the Committee on Petitions will carry out this visit:
Ms. Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, Sweden), PETI Chair
Mr. Peter Jahr (EPP, Germany)
Ms. Soledad Cabezón Ruiz (S&D, Spain)
Mr. Demetris Papadakis (S&D, Cyprus)
Ms. Kostadinka Kuneva (GUE/NGL, Greece)
Secretariat:
Ms. Virpi Köykkä, Head of PETI Secretariat
Ms. Rita Dienes, PETI Secretariat (GSM: 00 32 472 580 643)
Bratislava European Parliament Information Office: Mr. Dionyz Hochel
Members of the Committee on Petitions will meet with the following NGOs and the Petitioners:
  • Open Society Foundations, Open Society Mental Health Initiative: Ms. Judith Klein, Director Mental Health Initiative and Ms. Raluca Bunea, Senior Program Officer. 
  • Národná rada občanov so zdravotným postihnutím v SR /The National council of persons with disabilities in the Slovak republic (NCPD): Mr. Branislav Mamojka, President, Ms. Iveta Mišová, Vice-President and Mr. Tibor Köböl, Vice-President. 
  • Slovak Association for Help to People with Intellectual Disabilities (ZPMPvSR): Ms. Iveta Mišová, Director and Mr. Marián Horanič, project manager. 
  • Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities: Ms. Zuzana Stavrovská (also Vice-President of the ZPMPvSR). 
  • Organisation “Carissimi”: Ms. Mária Zupkó, Member of the Board of Trustees. 
  • Mental Disability Advocacy Center: Mr. Miroslav Cangár, Slovak DEI expert, Mr. Steven Allen, Campaign’s Director and Ms. Oana Girlescu, Lawyer. 
  • SOCIA – Social Reform Foundation: Ms. Maria Machajdíková, Disability Rights Program manager. 
  • Centre for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture /Centrum pre výskum etnicity a kultúry: Ms. Katarina Medlova, Researcher.
  • Social Work Advisory Board /Rady pre poradenstvo v sociálnej práci: Mr. Slavomír Krupa, Director.

The meeting with NGOs and Petitioners will take place on 22nd September from 15.00-18.00  at the European Parliament Information Office Informačná kancelária Európskeho parlamentu Palisády 29 SK-811 06 Bratislava

Phone: +(421) 2 5942 9697 and +(421) 2 5942 9687

E-mail: epbratislava@ep.europa.eu

The full programme of meetings and activities can be found here.

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Upon request by the Committee on Petitions, the Policy Department on Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned an in-depth analysis on the use of European Structural and Investment Funds to facilitate the transition from the institutional care of people with disabilities to community living in Slovakia, in the view of the Fact Finding Visit.

The focus of the study is on the situation of adults with disabilities in Slovakia, although reference is also made to two other groups who are subject to institutionalisation in Slovakia, namely older people and children (including children with disabilities). The in-depth analysis concludes with a summary of the key areas of concern and suggested questions for the delegation to raise during their Fact Finding Visit.

The study was authored by Camilla PARKER, Ines BULIC COJOCARIU and Lilia ANGELOVA MLADENOVA: European Network on Independent Living (ENIL).

KEY FINDINGS of the study include:

  • The exact number of people currently living in institutions in Slovakia is not known but the latest figures (2014) suggest that it is in the region of 40,000. 
  • The deinstitutionalisation process has started in Slovakia but its progress is very slow. 
  • In the past, EU funds were invested in institutional care: as a result, this has reinforced the provision of institutional care, rather than developed community-based alternatives.
  • Reforms for the regulation of the use of EU Funds should help to avoid a repeat of such mistakes in the current financial programming period, but work is required by the Slovakian government to foster a commitment to the deinstitutionalisation process across all key players, including those responsible for long-stay social service facilities (institutions) and improve the coordination of EU funded activities intended to promote community living.
  • A list of key issues to consider and suggested questions are included.

The full text of the study can be downloaded here.

A larger report that will include other EU Member States will be launched in November.

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More Information

European Network on Independent Living (ENIL): Petition on the use of Structural Funds discussed in the European Parliament

ENIL: ENIL Welcomes the appointment of Cecilia Wikstrom as Chair of the EU Petitions Committee

Open Society Mental Health Initiative: Facebook and Twitter @OSMHI

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