What areas for improvement are there in the current draft?
Lösekrug-Möller: Currently, the BTHG is being deliberated in the parliamentary committees of the German Bundestag (Federal Parliament). The German Bundesrat (Federal Council) has proposed more than 100 amendments. We also received numerous opinions by organizations that are now evaluated by us. It’s evident that people are primarily concerned with the pool of people eligible for integration assistance and the interface between integration assistance and disability care. In the parliamentary debates, the coalition fractions will now thoroughly investigate where amendments are required and consensus can be reached. We also need to ensure that the BTHG receives the approval by the federal states of the Bundesrat.
On Friday, several activists had scheduled a small T-shirt campaign at the REHACARE. What do you think about these and other protest campaigns on the Federal Participation Law?
Lösekrug-Möller: I think it’s great how emancipated and self-confident Germany‘s disability scene is today. That hasn’t always been the case. In it, I see proof of the growing self-confidence, political commitment and the will to audibly and emphatically advocate for your own interests.
You were at the BMAS booth at the REHACARE on Friday. Why is this trade fair so important to you?
Lösekrug-Möller: The REHACARE is the international trade fair for rehabilitation, prevention, inclusion and care. Time and again, it’s impressive to see the added benefit modern auxiliary aids and care services provide to encouragethe participation of people with disabilities. For me personally, this trade fair provides the opportunity to compare notes with both manufacturers and providers of auxiliary aids and services as well as people with disabilities, their family members, and their organizations. In addition, I find inspirations for me personally and our work in disability policy. Each time, the BMAS staff members who are here every year and I learn new things: sometimes we learn about new technological solutions, other times we make new contacts or take away ideas for projects or other types of collaboration. That’s why every time, the REHACARE is invaluable tome and the BMAS.