The conclusion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the European Union (EU) in 2010 marked a milestone in the history of EU disability equality and non-discrimination law, and also implacted on the field of EU disability law outside the sphere of non-discrimination. The CRPD is a progressive human rights treaty, the substantive provisions of which are underpinned by a model of ‘inclusive equality’, which not only views disability as arising from the interaction between individuals with impairments and societal barriers, but also seeks to make space for difference, and to give recognition to the dignity of persons with disabilities and intersectional disadvantage. The EU is bound by the CRPD to the extent of its competences, and the UN Convention has become the golden standard against which EU disability laws and policies are measured. This contribution examines the four main ways in which the CRPD has already shaped, or could potentially (further) influence, EU disability law. While this contribution focuses primarily on EU equality and non-discrimination law, it also analyzes recent legislation on accessibility. It demonstrates the extent to which the CRPD can potentially foster a robust conception of equality in EU non-discrimination law; enhance the understanding of EU non-discrimination law duties and concepts; promote a gendered approach to defining disability in EU non-discrimination law; and mainstream inclusive equality in EU disability law outside the sphere of non-discrimination.
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