Answer to Written Question: Accessibility in the context of building renovations

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by Ms Dalli

on behalf of the European Commission


The Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  2021- 2030[1] (the Strategy) points out that Member States should mainstream accessibility into all relevant policies and actions, notably those related to the European Green Deal, the Renovation Wave and the New European Bauhaus, and that professionals should receive training in accessibility. The Strategy also announces the launch of a European resource centre “AccessibleEU” to increase coherence in accessibility policies and facilitate access to relevant knowledge, in which context the training of professionals will be addressed. Member States could provide training using, where possible, EU funds.

In the Strategy the Commission also indicated that, as a follow-up of the Renovation Wave Communication[2], it will revise the legislative framework related to the energy performance of buildings, which could impact more broadly on other buildings aspects, as a result of renovation requirements. Already in the current framework, renovations are considered a lever to address access to healthy housing for all households, including for persons with disabilities and for the elderly. The Commission has recommended that, in the context of building renovations, the removal of accessibility barriers should be ensured[3].

There is no specific earmarking of funds but, for example, for the 2021-2027 Cohesion policy funds accessibility will be a horizontal obligation[4] to be taken into account throughout the preparation and implementation of programmes. In addition, it is envisaged that funding used for the renovation of buildings can be used to ensure accessibility.

[1] COM (2021)101

[2] COM(2020) 662

[3] Commission Recommendation (EU) 2019/786 of 8 May 2019 on building renovation.

[4] The co-legislators reached on 1 December 2020 a political agreement on the Commission Proposal (COM(2018)375 final) for a Common Provisions Regulation for shared management funds: Article 6a: “In particular, accessibility for persons with disabilities shall be taken into account throughout the preparation and implementation of programmes.” … and Article 11, Annexe III: horizontal enabling conditions: “A national framework to ensure implementation of the UNCRPD is in place that includes:[…] arrangements to ensure that the accessibility policy, legislation and standards are properly reflected in the preparation and implementation of the programmes”. Article 67 CPR on the Selection of operations by the managing authority requires that: “ For the selection of operations, the managing authority shall establish and apply criteria and procedures which are non-discriminatory, transparent, ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities…”

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