On 25-26 June 2018, the COFACE Disability platform (for the rights of persons with disabilities and their families) met in Sitges, Spain. We hosted the meeting as members of COFACE Families Europe, a pluralistic network of civil society associations representing the interests of all families.

On the first day, the participants followed a Seminar on support needs in Catalonia with presentations from Rosa Cadenas (Dincat), Glòria Canals (Fundació Aura) and Montserrat Falgera (Redós Foundation). We hope our colleagues will take some of the key messages from Catalonia back to Brussels in EU-level discussions, namely the need to support autonomy and inclusion, as well as fair and adequate retirement for persons with disabilities, and community-based support. After the introduction on the Catalan examples, there was an introduction of different projects from the IRD followed by a questions and answers session. The seminar was closed by Mònica Ribas, Subdirectora general d’Atenció i Promoció de l’autonomia Personal, Secretaria d’Afers Socials i Famílies, Generalitat de Catalunya.

After the seminar, the group visited the Ave Maria Foundation to see the several projects focused on enhancing independent living of persons with disabilities in the community. Some examples, the Never Alone project (telecare platform for people living at home), the innovative residential care facility of the Ave Maria Foundation for persons with disabilities and the Laundry ID project (2017 EESC Civil Society Prize winner project for labour market inclusion of persons with disabilities).

On the second day, the participants followed a session on EU developments such as the European Accessibility Act, the EEG/DI, the next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the EU Disability Strategy, the European Pillar of Social Rights and the proposed EU Work-Life Balance Directive. The participants also discussed the COFACE Study on Family Carers and COFACE’s position on the family dimension of the long-term care. The COFACE members also exchanged on different training programmes for family carers.