Written question to the European Commission
In 2011, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities became an integral part of EU law. By the time of the 2019 European Parliament elections, most Member States had amended legislation accordingly, or their highest courts had enabled persons with disabilities to vote.
However, in Slovenia, 2 035 adult citizens were excluded from the electoral rolls because they ‘did not understand the meaning of elections’. The Constitutional Court of Slovenia did nothing to give them back their right to vote. Their rights were violated and they were discriminated against.
1. How can the Commission protect the voting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities in Slovenia and ensure this does not happen again?
2. Will the Commission invoke infringement proceedings at the Court of Justice of the European Union to prevent the disenfranchisement of persons with disabilities?
Answer given by Commissioner Dalli on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 aims, inter alia, to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), in the EU to empower people with disabilities to fully enjoy their rights, including voting, to participate in society and the economy on an equal basis with others.
The Commission has organised discussions on the voting rights of persons with disabilities in meetings with the Member States, including in the European Cooperation Network on Elections, with the aim of supporting inclusive and equal electoral participation for people with disabilities.
The Commission fosters best practices and the exchange of knowledge among Member States and other concerned bodies to support high turnout including on easy and accessible voting procedures, including through funding opportunities and in the framework of the European Cooperation Network on Elections.
For the 2024 European elections, a specific focus will be on underrepresented citizens, including people with disabilities in full compliance with the UNCRPD.
The Commission is currently assessing a complaint on the protection of the voting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities in Slovenia. The complaint was raised in the context of 2 035 citizens with intellectual disabilities excluded from the electoral rolls.
The Commission will continue to monitor the situation at the next European elections including regarding the protection of the voting rights for persons with intellectual disabilities in Slovenia.