European Disability Card approved by the European Parliament – only bureaucratic hurdle remains

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On 24 April 2024, the European Parliament approved the provisional agreement on the European Disability Card and European Parking Card, which had been reached in February.

The agreement was approved with 613 votes in favour, 7 against and 11 abstentions. The report on the extension to third-country nationals was also approved.

The European Disability Forum (EDF), which brings together representatives of disability organisations across Europe, has expressed great satisfaction at this moment, which is expected to mark the end of the political decision-making process. However, EDF regrets that bureaucratic barriers will delay the publication of the text (and, therefore, the start of the countdown to implementation) until after the European elections in June 2024.

While the political process is now finished, there are some delays regarding the legal editing of the text and its legal translation to the 27 EU languages. EDF has advocated for prioritising this file in the translation because the deadline for implementation – for the Cards to be a reality – will only start after publication of the text.

This means that the official text could not be approved before the European elections. EDF was told that it was only due to the unusual quantity of legal texts that were approved in the last few months, and has been  reassured that the content of the official text will not change.

An EDF spokesperson person stated:

    "We need the Card sooner, not later—the ball is now in the Member States’ court to fast-track its implementation once the Directive is published"

About the European disability card

Proof of disability

People with disabilities often find that their national disability cards or certificates are not recognised when they visit or travel to other EU countries.

The new European disability card will serve as a proof of disability status anywhere in the EU.

Special conditions and preferential treatment

Using the card, people with disabilities should have access to the same special conditions and preferential treatment as residents of the country they visit.

EU countries usually offer special conditions when using public transport and preferential treatment at cultural, leisure and sports events and activities. For example when visiting a museum or when attending a concert.

Advantages are different across member states, and can include:

  • free entry
  • reduced prices
  • priority access
  • personal assistance
  • braille or audio guides
  • mobility aids
  • assistance animals

Eligibility criteria

The new European disability card will be issued by the competent national authorities in each member state. EU countries will remain responsible for determining the eligibility criteria and the procedure for granting disability status.

Read the full EDF article at EDF Webpage. 

Read about the European Disability Card on the European Council Website.