Discussions during the last EUD board meeting in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, took a slightly competitive turn… So many achievements with regards to UNCRPD ratifications and sign language recognition in EU member states – and each board member wanted to point out what their and other EU countries had done:
“Finland just ratified the UNCRPD convention!” exclaimed Finnish EUD president Markku Jokinen. Of course, congratulations were in order, but Hungarian board member Gergely Tapolczai could not help but point out that “Hungary already ratified it in 2007, as the first European country!” Humberto Insolera from Italy mentioned the work of ENS (The Association of the Italian Deaf) and Ida Collu, its president at that time, who went to New York and signed the ratification on behalf of Italy.
Also regarding sign language recognition, a lot has been achieved, as EUD executive director Mark Wheatley explained: “The Maltese deaf community fought hard for it and now Malta just officially recognised Maltese sign language!” And Swedish board member Louise “Lolo” Danielsson mentioned that Sweden just hosted the Eurovision and it was broadcast in International Sign on television!
At that moment, Dennis Hoogeveen, the unofficial Dutch observer who had been peeking through door could not stay quiet anymore: “The Dutch deaf community also fought really hard for the UNCRPD ratification and now the Parliament has paved the way for it!” “But the king still needs to officially sign it in New York!” replied Alfredo Gómez Fernández from Spain. Dennis reassured the board that he will ask the king to do it as soon as possible.
For so much activism, unanimous congratulations were called for!