People with disabilities living in Europe have the right to be employed in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, disabled people constitute a group with high levels of unemployment and low rates of labour activity in several member States. Moreover, social and labour-market inclusion of blind people is a demanding challenge which is not yet solved in some member States.
Some European Governments, social and economic actors and civil society organisations have developed a set of mechanisms to promote employment within disabled people. This can be done by promoting inclusion in the labour market through employment with adjustments, through supported employment or by companies employing high percentages of disabled people (so-called sheltered employment). These actions require the support of public policy in order to transform European labour markets into inclusive systems. Some examples of these actions could be financial incentives to the companies, quota systems, networks for inclusion, member State aids or reserved contracts for social-economic non-profit companies that employ high percentages of disabled people.
As far as social-economic non-profit companies are concerned, they are recognised by Article 15.2 of the European Social Charter. They are considered as an effective and, in many cases, optimal method of labour inclusion for disabled people, particularly for people with severe or multiple disabilities. These companies reinvest the revenues of their economic activities in social projects and services, building an efficient social-economic system that impacts broadly on the inclusion of disabled people.
The Parliamentary Assembly should study the present situation of disabled people, and especially blind people, in member States, and should elaborate a report focusing on the social and labour integration of disabled people and specifically of blind people.