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Liz Lynne backs ‘Freedom Drive’ by disability campaigners at Strasbourg

September 14, 2011 1:51 PM

Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne has strongly backed the fifth 'Freedom Drive' by over 300 disability campaigners at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

The West Midlands MEP, a lifelong campaigner for the rights of disabled people, met leaders from the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL) as they made final preparations for a mass lobby at the Parliament on Wednesday September 14. The meeting included former ENIL president and leadingUKdisability campaigner John Evans, Ines Bulic, ENIL Policy Officer and Vaughan Bruce of the Lib Dem Disability Association.

Among current issues affecting disabled people, Liz Lynne updated the group on her continued campaign for new European legislation to outlaw discrimination on all grounds in access to goods and services.

The Freedom Drive is held by ENIL every two years and brings together a large coalition of disability campaigners from all over Europe supporting the Independent Living movement, promoting human rights; empowerment for disabled people and more support for those with profound disabilities to move from residential care into the community.

Liz Lynne is Vice President of the cross-party Disability Intergroup of MEPs and First Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, which plays a key role in agreeing new EU laws affecting employment and disability.

Speaking after the meeting, Liz Lynne said: "I was pleased to see that ENIL has once again organised a forceful lobby to ensure that disabled people's voices are heard.

"There are 60 million disabled people inEuropestriving to live more independent lives but many of them are not being given the support they need to do so.

"Disabled people of all ages and backgrounds must be empowered to take control of their own lives, live with dignity and participate in society as full and equal citizens.

"We have achieved a lot at European level but there is still a long way to go to drive out discrimination and exclusion.

"ENIL are right to campaign for the proper implementation of laws that we already have to outlaw discrimination on grounds of disability.

"We also must see the EU adopt the new laws I have long campaigned for to outlaw discrimination on all grounds in access to goods and services across the EU."

Liz met the 300-strong group ofFreedom Drivecampaigners after their march in front of Parliament this afternoon after plenary votes had been concluded.

ENDS