Summary of the EEG’s Work in 2022

The EEG organised Internal and Open meetings and created several documents in reflection on deinstitutionalisation. 

Internal and Open meetings:

Internal meetings: 

  • 10 March 
  • 19 May 
  • 21 September 
  • 14 December 

Open meetings: 

  • 15 November, online 
  • The European Commission and the engagement towards deinstitutionalisation: achieved goals and compelling steps to achieve next objectives – Olga Martinez de Briones, Policy Officer, Directorate – General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission 
  • The deinstitutionalisation process in Slovakia: updates on the current situation and main findings – Mária MachajdÍková, Project manager, SOCIA – Social Reform Foundation  
  • The deinstitutionalisation process in Poland: updates on the current situation and main findings – Adam Zawisny, Vice-President of the association “Institute for Independent Living” 
  • The deinstitutionalisation process in Austria: updates on the current situation and main findings – Petra Flieger, Independent researcher and ally of the independent living movement 
  • The spring Open meeting was not organised for capacity reasons of EEG members, reacting to the Russian war on Ukraine. 

Position paper on Independent Living and Inclusion in the Community

The EEG produced a position paper to present to the European Commission, in its preparation of Guidance on Independent Living and Inclusion in the Community. 

Guidance on this important topic requires a clear understanding of what kind of expenditures to avoid (namely those that trigger segregation) and which ones are to be approved and further supported. 

The EEG outlines 6 guiding actions that Member States and local authorities should take to ensure their policies and funding are supporting independent living and inclusion in the community.  

  1. How to spot an institution and ensure funding does not go to continuing institutional care 
  2. How to invest money in services that promote independent living and inclusion in the community 
  3. How to adapt services for the specific needs of children and minors, and how to offer support to families 
  4. Promoting independent living and inclusion through accessible environments 
  5. How to avoid expenditures that indirectly reinforce segregation 
  6. How to better monitor improvements in the provision of personal assistance and inclusion in the community 
    Document (.pdf). was published in June 2022. 

Analysis and statements

  • Analysis of Recovery Plans and recommendations for 2022 European Semester 

The transition from institutions to community-based care needs to follow UNCRPD and UNCRC principles; moreover, NRRPs need to exclude funding to new or pre-existing institutions and need to fix clear targets in the transition process. 

To prevent child separation from their families, it is important that NRRPs include measures and programmes to prevent risk of poverty; inclusive education reforms are also very important to stop the institutionalisation of children with disabilities. Moreover, NRRPs should focus on increasing foster care provision and develop a wide range of support options in the community. 

NRRPs should promote further research into the monitoring and collection of data. This should be applied specifically in the data concerning children (including children deprived of parental care), children with disabilities, people with mental health needs and persons with disabilities. 

There should be a greater focus on social housing and on facilitating the process of access to available social housing. 

  • Review and statement on European Semester 

Deinstitutionalisation has been mentioned within CRs or CSRs of ten countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.  The CRs and CSRs of five countries (Bulgaria, Portugal, Belgium, Croatia, Italy) mention specific initiatives in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) or other political reforms to support deinstitutionalisation. Other Country Reports reported the urgency to implement further measures and the need to address NRRP funds in the deinstitutionalisation process (Austria, France, Poland, Spain). In the case of Romania, the Country Report highlighted the lack of human resources, administrative capacity and sufficiently integrated services as structural elements preventing deinstitutionalisation. 

EEG could identify general information for target topics such as deinstitutionalisation, community-based services and social housing. Despite the allocation of some funds for community-based services, their accessibility remains difficult in most of EU state members for those people living in poverty and social exclusion. Finally, social housing represents another issue present in several Member States. This problem is enhanced both by the absence of housing strategies as well as by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The EEG welcomes the inclusion of elements such as gender-related issues among caregivers – both formal and informal – the call for affordable care and services, the push for support to family carers as well as the proposal for more EU action to promote national policy reforms. Moreover, the EEG acknowledges the focus of the Care Strategy on ensuring sustainable financing of social services and the Commission’s call to Member States on promoting both private and public investment within this area. The EEG welcomes the draft Council recommendation on the revision of the Barcelona Targets on early childhood education and care (ECEC). The recommendation states that “children with disabilities have the right to participate in mainstream ECEC on an equal basis with others”. It emphasizes accessibility including adequate infrastructure, including adaptation to special needs of parents and “the professionalization of staff and specialists to adequately support children with disabilities” as key aspects of inclusive ECEC. These features make the recommendation an example of good policy practice for the inclusion of disabled children into mainstream education and against any form of segregation. 

  • Statement on Recovery and Resilience Plan, Bulgaria (released January 2023). 

The Ordinance states that Bulgarian residential care settings can house up to 120 people when the setting is intended to house older people. For settings specifically aimed at housing adults with disabilities, up to 30 residents are allowed. It is also permitted to have up to two residents sleeping in each bedroom, meaning that the minimum quality standards set out by the Bulgarian authorities do not guarantee privacy, dignity and a safe space for people to be alone should they want to. 

Member’s work on Ukraine

The EEG also collected and shared (on 23 March) its members’ work in response to the Russian war on Ukraine: 

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