Advocating for independent living in the European Union
The European Union (EU) brings together some of the richest nations in the world and, to some extent, has been a leader in promoting the rights of disabled people to live independently. The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) have the potential to facilitate access of disabled people to independent living. This chapter discusses the efforts of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) to promote the right to independent living in the EU. It focuses on one particular area of the organization’s work: the monitoring and advocacy with regard to the use of ESI Funds for independent living and deinstitutionalization. ENIL has been raising concerns about the misuse of the independent living terminology by governments, service providers, EU institutions, families and disabled people themselves. ‘Independent living’ is used in the names of residential institutions or to imply that people must be self-sufficient.