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EURORDIS responds to European Parliament plenary vote on European Disability Card

April 2024

25 April 2024, Brussels – EURORDIS – Rare Diseases Europe welcomes the European Parliament’s approval of the provisional agreement on the European Disability Card and the European Parking Card.

The European Parliament has approved the content of the provisional agreement on the European Disability Card and European Parking Card, which had been reached in February. The report on the extension to third-country nationals was also approved.

The European Disability Card and European Parking Card are proposed initiatives aimed at enhancing mobility for people with disabilities across the EU.

When travelling temporarily in the EU, holders of the European Disability Card will be able to use it as proof of their disability to have access to preferential conditions in a range of services. This includes public transport, and culture, leisure and sports activities. The Disability Card will also include provisions to access support when taking part in EU Mobility Programmes.

Responding to the results of the European Parliament’s votes, Raquel Castro, Social Policy and Initiatives Director at EURORDIS, said:

The approval of the European Disability Card represents a historic milestone, following over a decade of advocacy by the disability movement.


While we commend the rapid commitment of EU institutions, which enabled an agreement to be reached in record time by February, we regret that the publication of the text and the start of the countdown to implementation will need to await the post-European elections period, due to bureaucratic delays.


While we celebrate the European Disability Card, we fear that many people living with a rare disease will not be able to obtain the Card due to significant barriers they face in obtaining recognition of their disabilities. For example, 53% of people with rare diseases face inadequate disability assessments, even if the majority of the community lives with diverse disabilities, many of which are invisible.


As Member States define their own eligibility criteria, there is a risk of excluding those with less common, less visible, or less severe disabilities, who nonetheless face significant barriers when exercising their freedom of movement.


In response, we urge all Member States to adopt broad and inclusive eligibility criteria and to establish robust mechanisms during the transposition and implementation phases. It is crucial that no one is left behind and, for that to be achieved, national governments must also improve their disability assessment and recognition processes.


The goal should extend beyond merely issuing the Card; we must recognise and address the diverse needs of all people with disabilities in Europe, thereby enabling them to access a range of services that can genuinely improve their social participation across Europe.

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About EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe

EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe is a unique, non-profit alliance of over 1,000 rare disease organisations from 74 countries that work together to improve the lives of the 30 million people living with a rare disease in Europe. By connecting people, families, and rare disease groups, as well as by bringing together all stakeholders and mobilising the rare disease community, EURORDIS strengthens the patient voice and shapes research, policies, and services.


Julien Poulain
Communications Manager
EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe
+33 6 42 98 14 32