Connections - The European Union and the Right to Community Living

Connections - The European Union and the Right to Community Living

Some European Union member states' use of "structural funds" to build or renovate facilities for the long-term institutionalization of people with disabilities violates EU law, a report from the Open Society Foundations argues. According to The European Union and the Right to Community Living (88 pages, PDF), EU regulations governing the use of structural funds must be interpreted consistently with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which commits governments to ensuring that all people with disabilities can live in and receive the support needed to participate in society as equal citizens. In Central and Eastern Europe, however, where the bulk of these funds are allocated, a lack of clarity around their use, the absence of a monitoring mechanism, and misinterpretation of EU regulations have resulted in funds being invested in the modernization of long-stay institutions. The report recommends that regulations be rewritten to explicitly prohibit investments in the maintenance or extension of institutional care facilities and to permit existing housing to be purchased as homes for people with disabilities.