The ombudsman wants to assess whether the commission's actions in this area are consistent with the institution's legal obligations and stated commitments. Recognising the commission's clear commitments towards people who constitute one of the most disadvantaged groups in our society, the ombudsman said that: 'The seriousness of their situation demands that the proclaimed commitments be put into practice by means of effective actions. Good administration requires prompt and effective action to implement these commitments.' He has therefore asked the commission to inform him of:
The commission has been asked to respond by 29 February 2004.
To ensure that interested parties have the possibility to make their views known, if they so wish, the ombudsman will be informing relevant governmental and non-governmental organisations of his own initiative inquiry and will be publishing all relevant documents in a specially-created section of his website.
People with disabilities constitute a significant proportion of the population of the community. As both European institutions and member states have publicly stated, this group of people faces a wide range of obstacles which prevents its members from achieving equal opportunities, independence and full economic and social integration. Several initiatives have been taken at the community level to address this issue, many of them by the commission. Article 26 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights recognises the right of people with disabilities to benefit from supportive measures which guarantee their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.