Members of parliament are elected to represent the interests of the population, including persons with disabilities. As such, the make-up of parliaments may be expected to be broadly representative of the population. This indicator set out to measure the proportion of current members of national parliaments who identify as having a disability. No personal data was requested: parliaments were not asked to provide the names or any other details of parliamentarians with a disability.
The analysis found, however, that no reliable and comparable data exists on the number of parliamentarians with disabilities in the EU Member States. This is partly because parliamentarians with disabilities, like everyone else, have a right to privacy and therefore are not under an obligation to reveal a disability. Moreover, in many Member States information concerning disability falls under the umbrella of health data, and is therefore confidential. When contacted by FRA, parliaments in several Member States said they could not release this information even on an anonymous basis.
Instead, the analysis below gives an overview of those Member States in which data indicates that current national parliaments include members who identify as having a disability. It must be noted that this does not present an exhaustive indication of the situation in Member States. Some parliamentarians, who others would identify as having a disability, may not see themselves as being disabled, for example. In other cases, members of parliament may have ‘hidden’ disabilities or have not requested accommodations linked to a disability, and therefore not appear in official data.
Are persons with disabilities members of the current national parliament?
Source: FRA, 2014
In seven Member States, data from official government sources reveals the existence of one or more members of parliament who publically identify as having a disability. Of these, Croatia was the Member State with the most reported members of parliament with a disability (7) followed by Poland and the United Kingdom (3 each). In addition, the Greek national parliament has received two requests from parliamentarians for accommodation measures due to disability since 1996, while information from the Portuguese parliament indicates that one member claimed reduced income tax due to disability. Conversely, official data in two Member States, Cyprus and Luxembourg, indicates that no members of the current national parliament identify as having a disability.
In a second group of Member States, including France, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Malta and Spain, data indicating that there are parliamentarians who identify as having a disability could be collected from unofficial sources such as candidate websites and the media. In several of these cases, the parliamentarian has spoken of their experience of being an elected official with a disability.
In 13 Member States no data was identified regarding this indicator.