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EUD at the Accessible City Awards Roundtable: Championing National Sign Languages 

On Wednesday, May 29th, 2024, the European Union of the Deaf (EUD) attended the Accessible City Awards roundtable organised by the European Commission at the Berlaymont Building in Brussels. EUD Policy Manager, Alexandre Bloxs, participated in this prestigious gathering, which was hosted by Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and focused on reflecting the achievements and future potential of the Access City Award network. 

 The event was an opportunity for EUD to highlight the use of national sign languages as the only key for the full inclusion and participation of deaf people in their communities and societies. Traditionally, the accessibility features of the European Accessibility Awards were always related to the access to the physical environments (public and cultural sites and public transports). However, no approach on the social inclusion were made.  

National Sign Languages are the only languages deaf people can use effortlessly and that is the beacon of their contribution to their societies. By promoting National Sign Languages as full and official languages, European cities and the EU Commission would undertake a step forwards the full inclusion of deaf people.  

The event was graced by notable EU figures, including Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira. Both commissioners highlighted the role of cities in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the EU Urban Agenda.  

The roundtable concluded with a strong resolve among participants to leverage the Access City Award network to enhance city accessibility effectively. EUD’s participation and the inclusion of National Sign Languages as a focal topic in discussions about urban accessibility marked an important step towards recognizing and addressing the linguistic diversity existing in the EU, including through the 30 EU National Sign Languages.  

All the publications from 2022 - 2026 are co-funded by and produced under the European Commission’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) Programme.

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission’s CERV Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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