EU CRPD Framework - protection

By accepting the CRPD, the EU committed to implementing the convention within the areas of EU competence, as set out by the EU Treaties. Many of the areas and matters covered by the CRPD are under the responsibility of EU Member States.

If you are a national of a Member State of the EU, if you live in one of the Member States, or if you run a business in the EU, Union law gives you a number of rights.

The protection of individuals against breaches of EU law is primarily a matter for the national monitoring frameworks and courts. As such, if you feel that these rights have not been respected by the national authorities, you should first take up the matter with national bodies.

However, if your case concerns a matter of EU law directly applicable to your situation, the EU may also be able to help you.

How members of the EU Framework protect rights under the CRPD

EU Framework members such as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman can take action.

Petitions to the European Parliament are a valuable means for citizens to obtain a formal hearing by the EU institutions, establishing a direct link between them and their elected representatives. They can also bring to the Parliament's attention infringements or incorrect implementation of EU legislation. The Committee on Petitions is responsible for petitions within the European Parliament.

The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions,  bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union. Individuals who believe that an EU institution is not acting in accordance with the CRPD have the right to turn to the Ombudsman to seek redress.

The European Ombudsman has dealt with disability-related complaints relating to the accessibility of EU institutions’ buildings, sign-language interpretation at events, the accessibility of material on websites, and health insurance claims made by EU staff members who have children with disabilities.

If you are a citizen of a Member State of the Union or reside in a Member State, you can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman. Businesses, associations or other bodies with a registered office in the Union may also complain to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has also published, in 24 languages, a first version of an easy to read explanation of her work and how to lodge a complaint.

The European Disability Forum (EDF) provides information to persons with disabilities if they feel discriminated in their individual experiences, and brings these to the attention of the responsible administrations as well as the general public.

EDF also provides assistance in the process of seeking redress through third party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee on Social Rights.

Other protection under EU law

You can also contact the European Commission to complain about any measure (law, regulation or administrative action), absence of measure or practice by a Member State that you think is against Union law.

If you are not an expert in EU law, you may find it difficult to find out exactly which law you think has been breached. You can get advice quickly and informally from the Your Europe Advice service, in your own language.

Protection outside EU law

Outside the scope of EU law, your rights are protected by your country's constitution and law.

If you feel that your rights have been violated in a context not covered by EU law, you will need to address your complaint to the relevant national authority, be it the government, the national courts or a specialised human rights body.

The Clarity interactive tool can help you to find the right organisation to help you with your fundamental rights problem. Please note that the tool currently covers 15 EU Member States and Northern Ireland and is only available in English.