Mayor of Pregrada Marko Vešligaj (© European Union / Antonin Weber)

Regional Signal

Mayor of Pregrada champions young community leaders


Committee of the Regions, Brussels – Pregrada, Croatia

Marko Vešligaj, Mayor of Pregrada and rapporteur for the EU disability card and parking card, emphasises the pivotal role of young community leaders in advancing inclusivity for persons with disabilities.

In an exclusive interview with the EU Committee of the Regions, Vešligaj discusses the challenges and strategies surrounding the implementation of these crucial initiatives.

The European Disability Card (EDC) and the European Parking Card (EPC) represent significant milestones in enhancing mobility and accessibility for people with disabilities across the EU.

Vešligaj underscores the importance of local and regional authorities in facilitating the smooth implementation of these cards, ensuring better accessibility and inclusion.

“Our local and regional authorities serve as multipliers, enhancing visibility and awareness of these initiatives among people with and without disabilities,” notes Vešligaj.

Implementing the EDC and EPC at the grassroots level presents challenges, particularly regarding financial burdens and communication barriers.

Vešligaj stresses the need for financial support and accessible communication channels to sensitise authorities and the public alike.

He advocates for a collaborative approach that incorporates the perspectives and experiences of people with disabilities and local authorities to drive effective implementation and identify areas for improvement.

Vešligaj highlights the unique role of young leaders in promoting barrier-free communication and addressing the needs of young people with disabilities.

“Our young leaders serve as role models, demonstrating improved access and visibility within their age group,” he asserts.

By fostering closer collaboration and increasing involvement at the local level, young leaders can drive societal awareness and foster an inclusive environment.

In Pregrada, Vešligaj’s leadership underscores a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Through collaborative efforts and proactive engagement, Pregrada’s young leaders are poised to lead the charge in creating a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities.

“We all share the responsibility to create an inclusive society, and our young leaders play a crucial role in realising this vision”, As Vešligaj concluded.