Disability policy of the European Union: The supranational level
Waldschmidt, Anne

ALTER: European Journal of Disability Research | Revue Européenne de Recherche sur le Handicap
Paris, 3. Jg., H. 1, S. 8–23

Date 2009.01.31

During recent years disability policy at the European level has changed from a formerly disregarded branch of traditional social policy into a modern policy formation which comprises not only social protection and labour market integration, but also equal rights and non-discrimination. In the light of this evolution, against the background of an ongoing research project the paper explores these questions: what kind of a political body is the European Union (EU)? What kind of impact does it have on disability policy? How did EU disability policy evolve? What are the relations between social policy and equal rights policy? Do different welfare regimes operate at the EU level? The article presents results of a systematic analysis of disability related policy documents of the EU covering the period from 1958 until 2005. The documentary analysis shows that from the late 1970s up to the middle of the 1990s EU disability policy has centred around labour market integration. During the last decade, however, the equal rights approach has got more and more dominant. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research.