The European Commission is promoting a new pilot project to improve communication between the European institutions and the deaf and hard of hearing. The pilot project aims to help develop solutions for the nearly one million deaf or hard of hearing citizens of all Member States using different sign languages so as to facilitate access to EU institutions.
As Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner stated: "Every EU citizen has an equal right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. But some of our citizens face barriers in doing so, and this is something we must address. Language is a powerful means of communication and getting ideas and feelings across. And sign languages are the first language, the "mother tongue", of many deaf people, as well as the second or third language for their families and friends. Institutions and politicians must therefore do our best to promote the use of sign languages and offer easy solutions for hearing impaired people. This pilot project does just that. I would like to thank the European Parliament and particularly Ádám Kósa and Werner Kuhn for their unwavering support in helping to bring this important pilot project to life.”
The European Parliament has allocated a budget of EUR 750,000 for the implementation of this project. Its aim is to improve communication between the European institutions and the deaf and hard of hearing by taking measures such as installing audio and video technologies in EU institutions so that officials can communicate more easily with sign language users. The pilot project covers both the technology solution and sign language interpretation.