The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Commissioner Dalli in Malta for Special Olympics Invitational Games

Saturday, 14 May 2022, 18:30 Last update: about 4 days ago

Commissioner Helena Dalli is in Malta for the Special Olympics Invitational Games Malta 2022. Around 1200 athletes, officials, and volunteers from 25 different countries are participating to the event. Special Olympics serve athletes with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round sport training, and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sport for children and adults.

The Commissioner started her visit with a meeting with David Evangelista, Special Olympics Regional President & Managing Director, Europe Eurasia and an extended video interview by Special Olympics with regard to the EU Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the measures that are being taken with regard to accessibility and inclusion. Commissioner Dalli spoke of her commitment to see the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities fully implemented in the EU. This includes Art. 30 that specifically deals with ‘participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport’.

Commissioner Dalli delivered a keynote speech to the Special Olympics delegations, government, business, civil society, diplomatic corps and the sport community at St. Georges Square in Valletta for the official opening in the early evening. Commissioner Dalli said, “Sport brings us joy and keeps us healthy. It builds friendship and solidarity. It brings out the best in us and is about respect and equality. The Special Olympics embody the Union I want to live in: a Union where everyone is valued, and where everyone can develop their full potential.”

Commissioner Dalli met Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta, at a reception prior to the opening. They discussed the inclusion of persons with disabilities in relation to ‘Freedom to Live’, Malta’s 2021-2030 National Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They discussed the EU Disability Card, which is being piloted in eight EU Member States, including Malta. Following this pilot, the European Commission plans to roll out the card in the whole of the EU, to ensure people with disabilities travelling to other EU Member States obtain access to the services they need.

Commissioner Dalli said, “The EU is working together with Member States towards full inclusion of persons with disabilities in Europe. This means combating prejudice and ensuring accessibility. Everyone must have the same opportunity to thrive.”

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