The Irish Presidency 2013 is running from the beginning of January until the end of June and Ireland is the first of the Trio including Lithuania and Greece. The EU Presidency is a rotating system among all EU Member States (currently 27) and changes every six months. The Member State presently holding the Presidency is the Chair of the Council of the European Union and is responsible for driving forward negations and fostering agreement on certain topics. The preceding Danish and Cyprus Presidencies in 2012 – although unable to achieve any breakthrough in the negotiations regarding the Anti-Discrimination Directive – nonetheless hosted key conferences that constituted a contributing factor in reminding policymakers of the importance of full and equal inclusion of all its citizens, including Deaf sign language users. The Danish Presidency for example organised a high-level disability conference and the Cyprus Presidency hosted the annual Equality Summit.
So far the Irish Presidency has not announced any disability-specific conferences or measures but has – within the Trio Programme – pledged to continue working on the proposal Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (‘Anti-Discrimination Directive’). EUD, as other ENGOs do not think that this groundbreaking Directive can be put aside. Discrimination is an everyday issue for many Deaf Europeans, in any EU Member State. EUD acknowledges the fact that most Member States are now in a situation to adopt the Directive but urges the Irish Presidency to push for the remaining countries to continue negotiations and unblock this Directive aiming and eliminating injustice at many levels. At the same time the Irish government should see this Presidency as an ideal opportunity to ratify the UNCRPD, following the EU ratification after the Belgian Presidency’s efforts.
The Irish Presidency had the honour of officially launching the European Year of Citizens and has made awareness raising one of its top priorities. EUD, although welcoming this priority, would like to see the Irish Presidency not only pushing for the inclusion of Deaf and disabled citizens in these concrete measures leading up to the 2014 European Parliament elections but also for the active participation of Deaf citizens to vote and stand for elections as European citizens, in any EU Member State and also at EU level.
Irish MEP Emer Costello stressed the Presidency’s focus on ‘youth guarantee’ and tackling youth unemployment, which is a high priority especially for the European Union of the Deaf Youth (EUDY). Young Deaf people are doubly disadvantaged when it comes to finding employment after leaving school. Many young Deaf people are not able to adequately benefit from the school system and therefore face bigger barriers when entering the job market. EUD therefore welcomes the focus on youth but reminds the Presidency to pay special attention to those who might have greater difficulties obtaining sustainable employment.
Considering EUD is co-financed by the European Commission, currently benefitting from its PROGRESS programme, EUD is particularly devoted to the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. Without the guaranteed support of the European Commission, EUD will be unable to continue its successful work, ensuring the rights of Deaf sign language users are taken into account at EU level, distinctly advocating for specific measures that benefit sign language users. EUD therefore trusts the Irish Presidency to conclude the negotiations early 2013 to ensure that EUD and other ENGOs are able to maintain the high standard they have set since the setting up of the last MFF.
Irish Presidency website:
Programme of the Irish Presidency:
Anti-Discrimination Directive Proposal:
Multiannual Financial Framework:
 For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/about_the_eu/presidency/index_en.htm.
 See EUD report (in IS and English): http://eud.eu/Danish_Presidency_Disability_Conference-i-474.html.
 See also EUD article regarding EY2013 (in IS and English): [add link]
 Speaking at the Parliament Magazine reception: http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/tackling-unemployment-and-restoring-confidence-top-irish-presidency-agenda/#.UQjOckqfi6X.
 For more information on EUDY go to: http://eudy.info/.