The Center for Independent Living invited all major political forces to a meeting to present the expectations of disabled citizens from the participants in the 2013 parliamentary elections.

The leaders of the BULGARIA OF THE CITIZENS movement responded first to our invitation. Mrs. Meglena Kuneva came to the CIL office at the meeting on April 10, Ludmila Elkova – Deputy chairperson of the party and Mr. Georgi Kiryakov, who is responsible for BC’s social policy.

At the beginning of the meeting, Kapa Panayotova emphasized the need for new disability policies, given the alarming situation in our country, where, against the background of general impoverishment, the problems of people with disabilities appear to be not important enough for the political class. Eurostat’s worrying statistics make it clear that people with disabilities in Bulgaria are at the forefront of EU unemployment, lack of education and segregation. Kapa Panayotova stressed that the mechanisms by which money is given in Bulgaria for the disabled people not only do not help their social inclusion, but even deepen their isolation.

Meglena Kuneva and the Movement team emphasized that they came to hear the views of people with disabilities about social policies in Bulgaria and their ideas for change.

A common understanding emerged on the following several key issues:

The need for a completely new disability law, which guarantees a transition from the medical to the social model of disability, as well as the transition from social benefits to a deficit compensation policy;

To open broadly the dialogue in society about the people with disabilities and to move out of the narrow and vicious circle of coordination only with nationally represented NGOs, which through the state subsidy for their activity are really connected with the government and do not consult, but agree with it;

Change the model of the non-governmental sector involvement in the social policies. Instead of quantifying the principle of national representation / with the whole devaluation of this concept / – to rely on the qualitative one. To provide social services on a project basis, guaranteeing transparency in accountability and the competitiveness and effectiveness of ideas.

Accessibility is a huge problem in the overall environment and this understanding has been underlined by both parties.

Work on controlling the construction and infrastructure and achieving full rather than “partial” accessibility. The team of Bulgaria of the citizens received written proposals from CIL which they promised to read carefully and consider as an expression of quality expertise from proven specialists in the field of disability, such as the people at the Center for Independent Living.