Thank you to Luk Zelderloo as he steps down from EASPD

These are the last working days for Luk Zelderloo as EASPD secretary general. I would like to share some words.

Luk has built EASPD over the past 25 years from an idea to a significant presence in EU disability affairs. (Sometimes too significant for my liking, but that is for another time 😉)

We can have many misgivings about the role service providers and their associations have in society, and particularly in disability issues. I certainly do.

At the same time, service providers are essential part of life for many people with intellectual disabilities and their families. And we need them to be of the right intentions, values, and principles. CRPD- oriented, person-centred… Supporting a person to lead the life the person wants. Not one that the provider allows. The more such providers there are, the better.

I can testify from personal experience what a breath of fresh air, what relief it is to have this kind of providers’ association as a partner. Many at national level would very much need it and appreciate it too.

Luk has also played a big role helping to establish deinstitutionalisation as a crucial topic at EU-level. Esp. with his and EASPD’s role withing the EEG (European Expert Group).

This joint effort between disability organisations, providers and other types of organisations has had a big impact not only here in Brussels. Is has changed the lives of many, and continues to do so.

And last but not least, I remain thankful to Luk for his support when I first arrived to this scene 5 years ago. Luk was always open to a conversation.

I’m pretty sure him stepping down from his role at EASPD doesn’t mean we hear the last of him. Or that I will be short of opportunities to disagree with him on one topic or another. Which is just as well 😉

Thank you Luk. And all the best for the next stage in your life.