The origins of the European Disability Card
The European Disability Card came about in response to calls from persons with disabilities and associations such as the Belgian Disability Forum (BDF) and the European Disability Forum (EDF).
Together, they wanted to ensure that activities, such as sports events, museum visits and other leisure activities were more accessible to persons with disabilities. They also wanted persons with disabilities to become more engaged in society.
A brief history
The European Disability Card is not a brand-new concept. Belgium already had two similar cards:
- The Eurecard: this card gives persons with disabilities the right to various advantages in tourism, culture and sports. The card is an initiative of the German-speaking Community of Belgium and is valid in the Meuse–Rhine Euroregion.
- The Handipass: this card was the predecessor of the European Disability Card for persons with disabilities in Belgium.
The idea of a disability card had also been a point of discussion on a European level for many years. That is why Belgium received financial support from the European Commission to launch this project. Belgium submitted the proposal for the European Disability Card in September 2015. Following approval, an agreement with the European Commission was signed in December 2015. You can find more information about this agreement and the project on the website of the European Commission.
Since the European Disability Card is a European project, you can not only use the card in Belgium but also in Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania and Slovenia.
Currently, you can apply for the card if you are recognised by or receive help from one of the official institutions for persons with disabilities.
The five Belgian institutions are: