Disability perspective in EU Cohesion Policy: EU Ombudsman investigates protection of fundamental rights in the preparation of the partnership agreements

20 May 2014

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has initiated an investigation concerning the respect for fundamental rights in the EU's cohesion" policy. The Ombudsman has received many complaints in the area of fundamental rights and is investigating on the Commission's role in ensuring that the EU funding is used in ways that comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

According to the press note, Emily O'Reilly commented: "It is key for the credibility of the European Union that, wherever EU money is spent, fundamental rights are respected. In many cases, these funds are supposed to help the most vulnerable members of society. But if, for example, there are complaints that EU money is used to "institutionalise" persons with disabilities instead of helping to integrate them, the Commission clearly needs to ensure the matter is investigated and corrective action taken if needed”.

The Ombudsman's investigation asks a detailed set of questions to find out how the Commission ensures that its partners in the Member States respect fundamental rights, how it imposes sanctions when necessary, and how complaints are being dealt with. She has asked the Commission to reply to her questions by 30 September 2014.

The ombudsman clearly understands that this enquiry has to be answered from the perspective of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), as she states that:“I will also reflect on the feedback I receive on this own-initiative inquiry to inform my work within the Article 33(2) Framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.

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