The High Level Group Inclusion
Borders should not act as barriers. That is also the opinion of the political decision-makers of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, Luxembourg and in the administrative districts of Bitburg-Prüm and Daun in Rhineland-Palatinate.
This is the reason why the so-called High Level Group (HLG) Inclusion was created at the Ministerial Conference on the subject of Disabilities on 19 March 1999. The aim of the HLG is the shared promotion and improvement of cross-border mobility and of the participation of people with disabilities.
Several tangible projects sprung from the cross-border cooperation such as for instance the Eurecard, Eurewelcome and the Euregional contest ‘Euregio for all’. Upon presentation of the Eurocard, people with disabilities can receive material or financial concessions from different recreation providers in the tourism, sports and cultural sectors.
Because of the fact that the concessions are valid for all inhabitants in the above-mentioned partner regions, the Eurecard does not only promote greater participation of disabled people in social life, but cross-border mobility as well.
The foundations for the work of the HLG Inclusion were laid when the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed in 2006.
Just as before inclusion, i.e. the inclusion and the non-discrimination of disabled people, is at the very heart of the work of the experts’ committee, and that is applicable to all areas of life: work, housing, leisure/tourism, education, accessibility/mobility, and participation (co-creation, co-determination and co-responsibility).
The members of the HLG Inclusion are striving to find shared solutions to the problems that disabled people face and to generate impetus at a regional, national and European level.
The Eurocard disability pass is a service card that entitles disabled people to avail of several offerings and concessions in the tourism, cultural and sports sectors.
The aim of the Eurocard is to off-set, at a cross-border level, the disadvantages disabled people face.
In Germany for instance, the Eurocard is regarded as an additional piece of identification to the pass for severely disabled people.
With the card it is possible for all eligible people from both administrative districts of Bitburg-Prüm and Daun in the Rhineland-Palatinate and from the catchment area of the Aachen public support institution in North Rhine Westphalia to benefit from the concessions and facilitation provided for people with a disability in the other regions of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion (i.e., the Liege, Dutch Limburg and Belgian Limburg regions in addition to the German-speaking Community of Belgium).
The aim is to use this pass in particular for cultural, sports or tourist offerings or to access disabled-friendly infrastructure.
Those in possession of a Eurecard who have the status of disabled person in accordance with applicable national law should be granted the same possibilities in the corresponding areas during their stay on the German side.
The Eurocard does not replace what is provided for in terms of ascertaining disability in the home region. It does not entitle one to concessions related to the place of residence on the grounds of legal provisions (either fiscal or social law provisions) or to claim medical care services.
The types of concessions can be free membership or reduced membership dues to associations/clubs or discounted rates to all types of events (e.g., trade fairs, sports fixtures, entertainment events or shows), to museums and exhibitions or to swimming pools for example.
If a municipal authority already allows for disabled people to get the entrance fee to a swimming pool with a pass for instance, or grants them a discount, then it is not only German disabled people who benefit from this with their pass, but also disabled people from Belgium and the Netherlands, if they are in the possession of a Eurecard and the owner of the swimming pool has voluntarily decided to take part in the Eurecard project.
The people in possession of a Eurecard can then also for instance claim the provisions for off-setting disadvantages, concessions or reductions that are valid in the regions taking part in the project if local service providers are voluntarily taking part in this scheme.
Euregio for All
The “Euregio for All” project was a project in the form of a contest in the Euroregion. The aim of the project was greater participation of disabled people in all facets of social life in towns and municipalities.
The project is sub-divided into the areas of the areas of work, housing, leisure and tourism, education, accessibility and mobility, participation (co-creation, co-determination and co-responsibility). Towns and municipalities were asked to send in their applications, i.e. projects and plans, by mid-2007.
A jury was put together in October 2007 made up for 2 representatives (eligible people and experts) per region. The project “Euregio for all” was drawn to a close at the final event in the Eurogress in Aachen on 12 June 2008, during which Best Practice projects were awarded a prize.
These projects were presented in a catalogue that can be used by all social groups and people in charge as a valuable source of suggestions, ideas and specific implementation steps.
Ministère des Travaux publics, de la Santé, de l'Action sociale et du Patrimoine
Vlaamse gemeenschap + Inter, Private Stichting Toegankelijk Vlaanderen
- German-speaking Community of Belgium
Dienststelle für Selbstbestimmtes Leben
Ministère de la Famille, de l'Intégration et à la Grande Région
- North Rhine-Westphalia
Ministerium für Arbeit, Integration und Soziales
Ministerium für Soziales, Arbeit, Gesundheit und Demografie