In some EU countries, people under guardianship are automatically denied the right to vote. In others, it is up to a judge or the guardian to decide whether these people should maintain their right to vote. Moreover, in many countries, people with intellectual disabilities remain the last group of people denied legal capacity (together with people with mental health problems). They are denied their right to live independently and make decisions about their lives. Further, in the EU, people with intellectual disabilities still face significant challenges in accessing services and information regarding elections.

Political participation

1. The right to vote, stand for elections and participate for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

We advocate for full voting rights for all adult citizens in all countries of the EU. People who struggle to follow the election process should be supported, not denied the right to vote. Fortunately, lately we have seen countries change their law to grant full voting rights to people under guardianship, and we hope that more will follow.

Therefore, the upcoming European Parliament should:

  • Support the movement for voting rights for people with intellectual disabilities in all EU countries.
  • Include people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the 2019 European elections.
  • Ask the European Commission to get active regarding this topic.  

2. Legal capacity for people with intellectual disabilities.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities introduced the legal recognition of universal legal capacity in its Article 12: it means right to full legal capacity by all persons without discrimination on the basis of their disability. If the EU has limited competence in this area, more should be done by the EU institutions, including the Parliament to ensure equal rights for people with intellectual disabilities.

Therefore, the upcoming European Parliament should:

  • Promote and support the implementation of the human right model.
  • Influence member states to make sure that training is available for both people with intellectual disabilities and their supporters.
  • Improve the exchange of good practices on legal capacity.

3. Accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities.

Lack of time, physical barriers, and lack of easy-to-read information at polling stations, as well as during the election campaigns are the main reasons why people with intellectual disabilities might not cast their ballot. The need to improve the situation becomes all the more pressing with the European elections around the corner.

Therefore, the upcoming European Parliament should:

  • Watch over effective implementation of the European Accessibility Act.
  • Make sure to communicate in accessible ways.
  • Involve people with intellectual disabilities when it comes to disability issues, and beyond. 

Right to vote:

Recommendations for candidates for the 2019 European elections

Recommendations for Accessible Elections in Europe

Guidelines for Involving People with Intellectual Disabilities in Policy Consultations

Inclusion Europe manifesto launch event

Legal Capacity:

Key Elements of a System for Supported Decision-Making

Parliamentary question on guardianship of people with intellectual disabilities


European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

Voting for all! How to make elections easier to understand and take part in European standards for making information easy to read and understand

Political Parties On Issues

  • European People's Party
  • Socialists and Democrats
  • ALDE
  • European Greens
  • European Free Alliance
  • ECR Group
  • European Left



The On Our Watch project brings together Civil Society Organisations working on all kind of topics. As representatives of and in direct contact with citizens, organisations have a strong role to play in holding the European Parliament accountable to the public. By joining forces in the context of the #EUelections2019 (23-26 May), On Our Watch offers a comprehensive overview of the key issues that European citizens care about.

Want to join? Get in touch! Contact: christian.skriverik[@]  | Address: Place du Luxembourg 2, B-1050, Brussels | Phone: +32 2 508 30 83