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The Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED)

Eleventh annual meeting

On 29 March 2019 the European network of academic experts in the field of disability (ANED) held its 11th annual meeting in Brussels. The meeting brought together the national experts, members of ANED’s international core team, other international experts, Commission staff, representatives of European NGOs and members of the European High Level Group on Disability.

The internal meeting the day before (28 March) provided an opportunity for national experts, core team and other international experts to discuss and evaluate the work undertaken since the previous annual meeting (17 November 2017).

The period May 2018 – May 2019 is the last year of the current 4-years contract with the European Commission for ANED. Both the internal and annual meeting therefore devoted time to taking stock of ANED’s achievements during its whole period of existence of ANED (2008 – 2019), as well as to identifying what challenges still lie ahead to improve the situation for persons with disabilities in the European Union.

The morning session of the annual meeting was opened by Mrs Emmanuelle Grange, head of the disability unit of the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. She underlined the importance of ANED for supporting the work of her unit, both through research regarding specific topics, such as recently on independent living, but also through accessing and analysing statistical data.

Professor Anna Lawson, member of ANED’s core team, gave a brief overview of the disability relevant policy issues ANED has dealt with in the ten years of its existence. She demonstrated that all issues were somehow interconnected and were of strategic relevance to EU policy and strategy regarding the situation of persons with disabilities in the EU and that ANED contributed significantly to the development of these policies and strategies. She showed that important contributions were made to the development of indicators, capacity building at national and EU level and most importantly, disability mainstreaming.

Professor Mark Priestley, ANED’s scientific director and core team member, went into the achievements of the work done on EU 2020. He showed that ANED contributed to the visibility of disability in the European Semester process and deliverables and to the increased engagement of the EU and the Member States with ensuring disability equality.

Stefanos Grammenos, ANED’s statistical experts and core team member demonstrated to the audience that statistical evidence is crucial to monitor whether policies actually deliver the intended results for persons with disabilities. His presentation showed unfortunately that in many areas (e.g. employment, enrolment in education, at risk of poverty) the gap between persons with and persons without disabilities is hardly closing.

Other presentations included an overview by Paula Pinto, ANED’s core team member on the use of the Disability Online Tool of the Commission (DOTCOM), and a presentation of Nadia Hadad of the European Disability Forum (EDF) on the achievements of almost a decade of EU disability policy. She highlighted among others the ratification by all EU Member States and the EU of CRPD and various concrete results in the area of accessibility, not least the Accessibility Act.

Ivette Groenendijk, ANED’s project director, summed up the lessons learned from ANED’s work: the importance of updated/ up-to-date country information, sharing knowledge and experiences as basis for the way forward and the availability of budget to enable meeting your ambitions.

In a special session on independent living, the most recent policy issue/theme treated by ANED, the author of the synthesis report Neil Crowther, various national experts and Eurostat’s Lucian Agafitei gave various presentations. The session started with a film clip:

All presentations can be accessed through the links below.

The afternoon session, facilitated by ANED’s core team member professor Lisa Waddington, discussed the key challenges in the EU to implement the CRPD, reflecting on the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and future EU disability policies. A short overview of the outcome of these table discussions can be found in the note below.

The 11th annual meeting was closed by Ima Placencia-Porrero of the disability unit, who thanked all ANED experts for their relentless contributions and efforts to the cause of improving the situation of persons with disabilities in the EU.


Analysis and evolution on the situation persons with disabilities and EU policies

Policy themes by Anna Lawson (PPT)
EU2020 key points by Mark Priestley (PPT)
EDF - Reflection on network achievements by Nadia Haddad (PPT)
Statistics Analysis & Evolution by Stefanos Grammenos (PPT)
Overview of 10 years policy work - morning session (Word)

Session on independent living

Presentation independent living synthesis by Neil Crowther (PPT)
Challenges Independent Living in Austria by Petra Flieger (PPT)
Challenges to Independent Living & Deinstitutionalisation in Greece by Eleni Strati (PPT)
Challenges Independent living in France by Serge Ebersold (PPT)
Good example Independent Living in Finland by Hisayo Katsui and Teppo Kroger (PPT)
Good example Independent Living in Sweden by Johanna Gustafsson (PPT)
Eurostat_Indicators independent living by Lucian Agifitei (PPT)

Lessons learned from the operation of the network

Lessons learned by Ivette Groenendijk (PPT)

Addressing key challenges in the EU to implement the CRPD, reflecting on the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and future EU disability policies

Notes from the tables discussions_prepared by Mark Priestley and Lisa Waddington (Word)