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The Board of the European Deafblind Network (EDbN) goes to Brussels to meet the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Marianne Thyssen

March 4, 2015

The discriminatory situation of the deafblind people in Europe was one of the main issues of the meeting hold last 3erd of March in Brussels between the board of the European Deafblinf Network (EDbN) and the European Comissioner of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen

Ramón Tremosa, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) by Convergència i Unió (CiU), accompanied the deafblindness representatives: Ricard López and Lucy Drescher, president and vice-president, respectively, of EDbN, together with Sonja Van de Molengraf and Helle Buelund, members of EDbN too. 

The meeting established a first high level contact in which the needs of deafblindness were exposed. This collective is estimated to be almost 3 million people in Europe and their attention is at a clear disadvantage compared with other collectives. The difficulties they face of accessing communication and information are the biggest obstacles of the deafblind people. There is no European strategy leaded to solve this situation or to care specifically about such a significant collective.

The board of EDbN proposed to start working lines oriented to the identification of this collective, as well as the inclusion of deafblindness in the European Agenda with the same conditions that other disabilities have.

This initiative also has the support of several MEPs from different countries in Europe. Click here for more information about MEPs supporting Deafblindness.


March 3rd, 2015|News|



February 10, 2015

The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) is a spiritual journey that pilgrims of all backgrounds have traversed for over a thousand years. Pilgrims walk the Way for various reasons: some to seed penance, others enlightenment, others for a sense of adventure.

Several deafblind people will take up this challenge next September, a week-challenge that calls for visibility of the deafblind. This is an open proposal to deafblind people and their interveners, on the one hand, and relatives of the deafblind and professional volunteers, on the other hand. We consider two different options: by bike and on foot.

For those who prefer to take up this challenge by bike, you can come along with your bike or tandem, and we are planning to cycle a distance of 300 km. We are going to meet in Oviedo between the 12th and the 13th of September 2015 in order to start our long walk. For those who prefer walking, we will meet in Sarria, which is a strategic location, with good travel connections because of its coach and train stations. We will walk 100 km, until we reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

A deafblind person and his intervener

A deafblind person and his intervener

Once there, the bishop will be waiting for us to celebrate that we overcame the challenge. Our arrival is planned to be on the 19th at 12pm. Both the walkers and the cyclists, deafblind or not, will reach the Cathedral together in order to get the Credential of the Camino de Santiago, a document given to walkers to certify them as pilgrims to record their passage through distinct locations along the routes.


if you are a deafblind relative, a volunteer or a professional in this field and you want to take part in this activity, please contact EDbN for more information:


March 2nd, 2015|News|



February 15, 2015

We are currently working on another project concerning deafblind transport and movement in public spaces, streets and crossings: the red and white cane. This is a white cane with red stripes of 100mm. The deafblind people are using white sticks, which indicates a blind person. But due to the insufficient differentiation, the deafblind people often confront misunderstandings, when for example they do not react to drivers’ appeals at the crossings, and it is even dangerous for the deafblind person.

We want to introduce the red and white cane in our society as a tool to improve the safety of deafblind people in order to enrich their independent life and make them visible to drivers and other pedestrians. We believe that the red and white cane will bring to the deafblind community increased self-confidence and respect from the public.

Therefore, we have two main tasks: to achieve one standard red and white cane and to obtain support to associate this cane with deafblindness. In order to achieve this last aim, a campaign will be launched at four levels: local, central and autonomous communities’ governments, and the European Union.


March 2nd, 2015|News|



January 30, 2015

Once the ‘European Deafblind Indicators’ project was completed, EDbN presented the results and the objectives of this project to all the MEPs who in the last legislature were part of the Disability Intergroup. From the very beginning we had the backup of 20 of them, and that number grew to 22, which is where we stand now. They have supported EDbN in the petition of having a meeting with Commssioner Marianne Thyssen, which will be held next 3rd of March.

These MEPs are the following: 


March 2nd, 2015|News|



June 20, 2014

The European Deafblind Indicators project website project was developed from September 2012 to September 2014 by nine deafblind organizations from eight EU Member States. All of the individual members of the pro¬ject group are part of the European Deafblind Network (EDbN) and it is through this Network that the project was conceived and developed.

This project aims to create a common European framework for the assessment of institutional models of care for the deafblind based on indicators created ex novo: the Indicators of Deafblindness Equality in Europe (IDbEE). Its importance lies in the certainty that great differences in the degree of attention exist between the various European States.

The outcome of this project was nowhere near enough data is collected about deafblindness, and the extent of deafblindness is seriously underestimated. As most organizations do not cater for the specific needs of deafblind people, there are not enough specific deafblind services in most states. Communication support and personal assistance systems for deafblind people in Europe are sketchy at best and inadequate although it withholds their rights to health and social care, family life and leisure. As long as there is better support from the governments, change is possible. Therefore, it is imperative that on a European level we make a noise.


March 2nd, 2015|News|



Zagreb, Croatia - FEBRUARY 9th 2015

Febrero 13, 2015

The President of the Republic of Croatia annually honours meritorious individuals, Croatian and foreign nationals, organizations and legal entities with decorations and awards for their outstanding achievements, extraordinary contributions and true excellence in one's career accomplishments.

On Monday, February 9th, during a traditional ceremony that was held at the Presidential Palace of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Ivo Josipovic, has awarded the President of EDbU and Croatian Association of Deafblind Persons, “Dodir”, Sanja Tarczay, Ph.D., the honour of the ORDER OF THE CROATIAN STAR WITH THE EFFIGY OF KATARINA ZRINSKA, an honour given for the extraordinary services for healthcare, social welfare and the promotion of social moral values, recognition and creation of an environment for the quality of life of deafblind persons in Croatia and the world. She is the first deafblind person in Croatia to receive this honour.


February 13th, 2015|News|



January 20, 2015

On the 20th of January a meeting was held in the European Parliament between Ms Ulvskog, vice-president of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament, Javi López, Spanish MEP, Jutta Steinruck, German MEP, and Ricard López, president of EDbN, and four EDbN members: Lucy Drescher (Sense), Helle Buelund (CDH), Sonja van de Molegraft and Frank Kat (Kentalis).

As deafblind people have specific needs, which have been studied in the ‘European Deafblind Indicators’ project, we made a noise about it in the European Parliament.

We explained the current situation of deafblind people in Europe and the lacks this community has. We stated the social emergency of this community in Europe: there are 3 million deafblind people, 1.8 million of whom are elderly, and they have no guaranteed access to information and communication. As there is no visibility of this group, there is a lack of recognition, statistics and census, and there is a need of sharing knowledge by a European Resources Centre. The ‘We Can Be Connected’ project was also exposed, which initial objective is to apply for funding to the European Commission. We showed our interest in achieving that EUROSTAT and FRA agencies develop right statistics data on deafblindness and making the census compulsory.

EDbN requested a budget and their support to run the ‘We Can Be Connected’ project and a European Resources Centre and the chance to organise a hearing with the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs.

The outcome of this meeting was really positive, as Ms Ulvskog, Ms Juta and Mr López were very receptive to our requests. We are currently in touch with them and waiting for their proposals.


January 21st, 2015|News|



This condition will provide the necessary steps to explain the requirements and needs of Deafblindness to all the members of the European institutions

August 27, 2014

The European Deafblind Network (EDbN) has recently received the confirmation of the access rights to the European Parliament premises. The accredited status will allow our representatives of Deafblindness greater networking opportunities to contact all the members of the European Parliament (MEP).


In addition to the ease of access and movement, this new condition will allow to present the specific care requirements of Deafblindness directly to the appropriate authorities. Besides, it grants the right to be informed about regulatory changes made in employment areas, social affairs, transport, tourism, culture and education.

Previously, EDbN had been admitted to the Joint Transparency Register, the identification system of organizations linked to European institutions. The Joint Transparency Register is a mechanism created and managed by the Parliament and European Commission so as to provide accurate information about all the people involved in activities influencing UE decisions. It offers a single conduct code that makes organizations to follow the rules and respect the ethical principles.

The accredited status is a satisfied reason as it will enhance the needs of Deafblindness people facing the decision centers of the European institutions. 


August 27th, 2014|News|


The European Deafblind Indicators Project will finish with an open day conference on June 20th 

April 16, 2014

After two years working on the European Deafblind Project, for Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission, the project is getting to an end. The last meeting will be held in Barcelona and offering an open day conference next 20th June. It is expected the attendance of European and Spanish authorities, as well as professionals working on disabilities, from the social services and bound to deafblindness. 

May 12th, 2014|News|


On 11 February 2014, EDF presented its manifesto on the EU elections 2014 at the European Parliament. The event was organised in cooperation with the European Parliament Disability Intergroup and gathered a lot of MEPs; all of them expressed their full endorsement to the key priorities of EDF manifesto.

MEP Adam Kosa, who is also the President of the European Parliament Disability Intergroup, opened the event together with the Vice-President of the Intergroup, MEP Richard Howitt.

"In the next term of the European Commission we need a fully-fledged directorate on disability issues and we hope that we will achieve that. It is time to bring a real change to the lives of persons with disabilities”, said MEP Adam Kosa.  

February 13th, 2014|News|