According to the strategy, participation means to“achieve full participation of people with disabilities in society by: enabling them to enjoy all the benefits of EU citizenship, removing administrative and attitudinal barriers to full and equal participation, providing quality community-based services, including access to personal assistance.”

Participation on equal rights for all includes access to information or interpreting in Sign Language in sport events, cultural events and political events and/or elections.Accessibility at museums, art shows, religious services, family events and city tours can to some extent be found in all the countries that have replied to our survey but it is very limited to how often or in which situations. In all cases the deaf person has to ask for it him/herself beforehand and it is more often, although still very limited to once or twice per year, to museums or religious services and then only provided for in the capital or the biggest city/cities of the country. This change has also improved thanks to the lobby work of the deaf association and on the initiative of the museum or organisers themselves and it does not come from an ‘official’ authority. With new technology it is becoming more common for some museums to offer information in Sign Language downloadable via smart phones and tablets. For sport events it is more difficult for deaf persons to be entitled to interpreter and some members feel support in related to disability rights tends to be more established for persons with physical disabilities.

National election

     TV, elections process                Political parties          Election process                       TV                              No information
      and political parties 


Regarding accessibility in the most recent national political elections, in almost one third of the countries, in 29 per cent, no information in Sign Language was provided at all. Amongst the remaining countries where information in Sign Language was provided for this was limited to different aspects linked to the election. In 24 per cent, Sign Language interpretation was provided on public TV in political debates and/or in information and news about the election. In 19 per cent of the countries, information in Sign Language on the election process and practical information on when, where and how to vote was provided for by the national election authorities of the country on their website. In 14 per cent of the countries information in Sign Language from one or several political parties was available on the party’s own website. In 14 per cent of the countries, information in Sign Language from several aspects of the election was provided for meaning on debates on public TV, on political parties and/or practical information on how to vote.

EU election 

         Political parties                              Election process                                      TV                                        No information

Accessible information concerning the recent European Parliament election in 2014 was only provided for in half (50 per cent) of the EU Member States[1] meaning no information was given in half of the Member States.  Practical information on the election process and when, where and how to vote was available in 28 per cent of the Member States and Sign Language interpreting was available on public TV debates and/or political news about the election in 11 per cent of the Member States. In 11 per cent of the Member States, information in Sign Language was available on the political parties or candidates’ websites.

[1] Iceland, Norway and Switzerland replied to this survey but they are not part of the EU meaning they were not included in this question nor in the statistics provided in this paragraph. 

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