Meeting with Vicepresident of the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs
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.