The Hungarian Presidency of the Council of Europe held a conference on equal opportunities on 11 November. Entitled ‘Practices and Experiences on Fighting against Discrimination in the Countries of the Council of Europe’, the conference explored the progress and challenges in preventing discrimination and supporting those with disabilities in Europe.
Zsolt Németh, the Vice President of the General Assembly of the Council of Europe, opened the event, followed by introductions from Hungarian Ministerial Commissioner László Gábor Lovászy and State Secretary for Social Policy Attila Fülöp. Panellists included representatives from Hungarian government, the European Parliament, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Council of Europe’s Committees on Equality and Non-Discrimination, and Social Rights, as well as the Agency.
In the first session of the conference, panellists explored the rights of people with disabilities in Europe. Topics included their access to employment, policies to protect children with disabilities and how opportunities for people with disabilities have changed in European institutions.
The second session examined national strategies and results for people with disabilities. During this session, Agency Director Cor J. W. Meijer highlighted the progress and main challenges in inclusive education policies and practices in European countries. He argued that, while policy development has progressed, implementation is lagging behind. He also outlined the Agency’s work to improve inclusive education policy and practice in its member countries.