On January 20, four members of the EDbN, including Lucy Drescher (Sense), Helle Buelund (CDH), Sonja van de Molegraft, and Frank Kat (Kentalis), met with Ms. Ulvskog, vice-president of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Javi Lopez, a Spanish MEP, Jutta Steinruck, a German MEP, and Ricard López, president of EDbN. We raised awareness of this issue in the European Parliament because deafblind people have unique needs that have been researched as part of the “European Deafblind Indicators” project.
We presented the current position of deafblind individuals in Europe and the lacks this community has. We underlined the social emergency of this population in Europe: there are 3 million deafblind persons, 1.8 million of whom are old, and they have no assured access to information and communication. Due to this group’s lack of visibility, statistics, and census data are lacking, and a European Resources Center is required to share knowledge.
The ‘We Can Be Connected’ project, whose primary goal is to request for funding from the European Commission, was also revealed. We expressed interest in having the FRA and EUROSTAT authorities create accurate statistics on deafblindness and mandate the census. For the “We Can Be Connected” project, a European Resources Center, and the opportunity to schedule an audience with the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs, EDbN requested funding and their support. This meeting had a very positive outcome because Ms. Ulvskog, Ms. Juta, and Mr. López were very open to our requests. We are in contact with them right now and looking forward to their suggestions.