Get to know more about the importance of the European Union (EU) and the European Elections 2019. Find all the relevant information on our website which is available in all the official EU languages!

EUD highlights that to ensure that the European elections leave no one behind the Member States must ensure that persons with disabilities can meaningfully exercise their right to vote as guaranteed by Art. 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). If you agree – sign the petition!

Do the research – who from your country is running for the European Parliament? It is critical to know who the candidates are and who will potentially represent you in the European Parliament for the next five years. Decisions that the elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will make will have a direct impact on your life. During the next term MEPs will decide how the EU will act to address your concerns about inclusion, accessibility, employment, security, migration, climate change and many more.

Find out about the priorities of the candidates in your country.  The European Elections are about selecting who will represent you and defend your interests in the EU.

Therefore, it is crucial to know - are the candidates aware of the interests of the deaf community in your country? Are the candidates willing to represent the interests of deaf persons and work together with organisations representing the deaf community? MEPs shape and decide on new legislation, which will make an impact on your life. IT is essential to ensure that the candidates are aware of the specific situation of the deaf community and are willing to learn more about it. It is essential to guarantee that the candidates engage with the deaf community in the early stages before being elected. If you see the lack of attention to the deaf community or general disability community: try to raise awareness about it.

Much has been done to help improve different parts of your life over the last few years. The EU adopted the European Accessibility Act, revised Audio-Visual Media Services Directive, rules on accessible emergency communication in European Electronic Communications Code and many more…. Work will need to continue in the next term.

Become an active player during the political campaigning phase:

4. 1. Advocate for fully accessible and inclusive European Elections. Accessibility has many shapes and forms. It is critical to ensure that during the political campaigning phase the candidates fully understand what it means to ensure the accessibility for a deaf voter. EUD together with European Union of the Deaf Youth and European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters drafted a joint letter specifying what the candidates should do to ensure that their political campaign is accessible for deaf voters: ensuring accessibility of information and communication in national sign language(s), providing subtitles, captions, using more visual formats and new technologies…

Find the letter here in English and International Sign.

Disseminate the letter among candidates, translate it in your national language(s), publish it on your website, spread it through the social media. Use it as a tool to raise awareness about the need of better accessibility for the deaf voters. Highlight that accessibility is an opportunity for the candidates and political parties to reach out to all voters and prove their commitment to an inclusive and innovative solution-oriented mindset, that leaves no one behind.

4.2. Get in touch with the candidates! Once you’ve done your research and you know who the potential MEPs are – make sure they become your partners who will make their campaign accessible and if elected – will defend your interests and will collaborate with you during their term. It is vital to form allies, who are well aware of the issues faced by the deaf community, so the next European Parliament is committed to improving the lives of deaf Europeans. 

Encourage MEPs to ensure that deaf persons’ right to vote is meaningful – as it is much more than just placing the ballot in the voting box. Send the candidates the letter which emphasises that to exercise the right to vote meaningfully, one has to be able to make fully informed decision beforehand.

EUD has already prepared a draft letter in your language which highlights what the real right to vote is! Download it, place your organisation’s logo on it, amend it as you see fit and send it to the candidates who will potentially represent you in the next European Parliament.

Ask them to meet you and representatives from your organisation, set up a working relationship with a MEP who is willing to know more about the deaf community and is ready to advocate for deaf rights. Use the meeting as an opportunity to form a long-term partnership with a potential MEP.

Remember! Politicians do not decide for you – they represent you! Therefore, such civic activities and active political participation are a critical part of democracy.

It is your duty to make sure that the politician knows your interests and will defend them efficiently. Getting to know who will represent you is essential. This will play a significant role in ensuring that the potential MEPs understand what the priorities of the deaf community in your country are, which concrete changes are needed and what are your expectations. This will allow politicians to fulfil their role better.

Make sure that the deaf community is visible as a strong and united group which shares the same linguistic identity is willing to collaborate while delivering an accessible, inclusive society that respects human rights and strikes for equality!


back to top