European Deaf Parliamentarians
On 4th December 2012, Helga Stevens, the first Deaf Member of the Flemish Parliament and the European Union of the Deaf (EUD), have joined forces to organise this unique reception. We want to celebrate this historic moment when for the first time the four Deaf members of national and European parliaments are meeting to exchange their views and experiences.
The four Deaf members of national and European parliaments are:
Helga Stevens, member of the Flemish Parliament and the Belgian Senate
Dr Ádám Kósa, member of the European Parliament
Mag.a Helene Jarmer, member of the National Council in Austria
Dr Gergely Tapolczai, member of the Hungarian Parliament
There are 800,000 Deaf sign language users in Europe who are considered and live as a linguistic and cultural minority group. It is important that there are Deaf politicians who represent the voice of this community. Following the ideals and the motto of the disability movement "Nothing about us without us", and making deafness and sign language more visible, they serve as a role model for the Deaf Community. They are able to empower their peers, showing that Deaf sign language users can also be involved in political work, making decisions that influence the everyday life of every citizen, Deaf or hearing.
EUD was represented by the whole Board and staff at the reception. EUD President, Berglind Stefánsdóttir gave a short presentation and metioned how these four Deaf Members are important for both EUD and the Deaf community in Europe.