The European Parliament approved on a resolution on sign language and sign language interpreters
24 November 2016
On 25 October 2011 MEP Ádám Kósa’s Report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 was adopted in the plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This is a milestone for Deaf people, as the report mentions sign language several times. It calls for the legal recognition of sign languages in accordance with the Brussels Declaration of 19 November 2010 (Point 105).
MEP Ádám Kósa presented his report in front of the full plenary after the Employment and Social Affairs Committee had adopted the report before the summer. The first report was drafted at the beginning of the year to ensure the Disability Strategy 2020 was implemented effectively. NGOs such as EUD had been involved in the consultation process, ensuring the rights of Deaf and disabled people were represented adequately.
In his presentation on Monday MEP Kósa stated the importance of the recognition of sign language and the UNCRPD. He proposes a European Disability Board and underlined that equality for everyone is a significant issue.
Commissioner Dacian Cioloş, who was answering questions on behalf of the European Commission, was certain that the enforcement of the UNCRPD was a key step to equality and human rights. He felt it was important to have disability policies centred on citizens.
The vote yesterday was preceded by a very animated debate on Monday, 23 October 2011. Ilda Figuereido for instance stressed the importance that all Member States must ratify the UNCRPD, as only 17 have done so until now. MEP Elisabeth Schroedter, who is a member of the Disability Intergroup Bureau, mentioned the paradigm shift that is taking place and emphasised that the removal of linguistic barriers is of importance. Although a number of MEPs were worried the report would be too prescriptive for Member States, the report was adopted with a great majority.
Although this report is not a legal document could have far-reaching implications for Deaf people in the EU. Based on the European Disability Strategy 2020 it comes ahead of the proposed European Accessibility Act (EAA), which Commissioner Viviane Reding has promised to be passed at the end of the year 2012. EUD can for example take part in the consultation process for the EAA and can use MEP Ádám Kósa’s report to highlight the significance of the recognition of sign language and the Brussels Declaration.
EUD wishes to congratulate MEP Ádám Kósa and hopes that the report will be an important step in achieving full equality for all Deaf citizens across Europe.
For the full text of the report please click here (available in all 23 official EU languages)
The text of the Brussels Declaration can be found here.