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This is the second part of our Debating Europe Schools debate involving students from the Stefan Decanski school for the hearing impaired in Belgrade, Serbia, organised in cooperation with our partners at the European Disability Forum and with the help of the European Union of the Deaf. You can find the first part here.

  • What is the EU doing to overcome difficulties faced by people with disabilities?

The next question comes from Slobodan and Sanja. They say:

Disabled people experience numerous disadvantages in many aspects of daily life. What is the European Union doing to help in overcoming difficulties faced by people with disabilities and to remove environmental and social barriers and create a more inclusive society?

We took their question to Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum. He argued that, whilst progress has been made, there is still no systematic approach from EU policy-makers, and there is no systematic monitoring of the implementation of measures that have been taken. You can see his full response (and the video question from Slobodan and Sanja) in the video below:

We also spoke with Ádám Kósa, a Hungarian politician and the first MEP to use Deaf Sign Language in the European Parliament. What would he say?

Ádám Kósa said the European Parliament is currently working with the Commission and Council on a new law called the European Accessibility Act, which will be designed to break down barriers for people with disabilities.

  • How is the EU dealing with the communication problems people with disabilities face when they need medical help?

Our next question came from Esma and Helena, who wanted to know about access to healthcare. They asked:

People with disabilities often face problems in communication when they need medical help (especially hearing imparied due to communication barriers). That is the reason why they are often not satisfied with the provided services. They feel that they are not treated well and sometimes are even denied medical help. How is the European Union dealing with this problem?

How would Ádám Kósa respond to Esma and Helena?

Kósa said that the situation varies across the EU. In Austria, for example, there are already several hospitals being equipped specially to provide services for deaf people. He is also hopeful that advances in technology, including remote video interpretation services, will improve access to healthcare for people with disabilities in every EU country.

  • What is the situation in the EU regarding the employment of people with disabilities?

The final question was sent in by Marko and Vera, who wanted to know more about the job market in the EU and the difficulties faced by people with disabilities. They asked:

Our question is related to employment of people with disabilities. Although by law all people have equal rights and employers have certain benefits if they hire a person with disability, people with hearing impairments still face barriers in getting a job. What is the situation on the job market regarding employment of people with disabilities in the European Union?

What would Ádám Kósa say in response?

In his answer, Kósa agreed that unemployment is a serious issue facing people with disabilities in the EU. He said there is an EU project focusing specifically on reducing the unemployment rate of persons with disabilities, including funding to encourage companies – particularly in Eastern Europe – to employ persons with disabilities. He added that, in his own country of Hungary, over 15’000 persons with disabilities were employed over the past three years.

Is the EU doing enough to help people with disabilities access healthcare, education and other services? The difficulties facing people with disabilities can vary greatly from one country to another in the EU, so should more be done to improve the situation across Europe? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.



12 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. Stefania Portici

    in Italy before joining the EU had disabled all of this, as well as citizens. The EU has destroyed. What can ‘do more’?

  2. ironworker

    Far from me for being a cynical character, but there is not yet solved the perfect fit for work majority. No offence for people with disability intended. I’m sure that there are already certain jobs that can be outstanding performed by impaired persons. I’m not quite sure when and how integration can be done at a successful rate though but I know for a fact that there are lots of unemployed with or without disabilities. Just from a perspective of social priorities.

  3. Bart Thomaes

    You can make a European vision that is in line with the rights of all possible types. The difference makes that right is not one-sided. May this on local level depends on politics and what about responsibility?

  4. Egon Witte

    Give a government job only to people without disabilities..who are able to do it..Then, you have a lot places to give to people with disabilities..!!

  5. Marcel

    By firing a bunch of people without disabilities, in order to make way and fulfil some Eurocrat ‘quotum’.

  6. Janina Arsenjeva

    OK… I haven’t seen all videos, but I have a strong suspicion that Slobodan and Sanja have had words put in their mouths by some clever PR person.. Most teenagers (or adults!) don’t use the words “overcome environmental and social barriers” on a daily basis, and this is the kind of speak that makes the EU and NGOs operating there look so remote and irrelevant to most people! I’m sure Slobodan and Sanja (and all other Europeans) deserve that the EU is explained to them in a clear understandable way so that they can ask their question themselves, usign their OWN words. What happened to “Nothing about us without us”?!?!?!?! Very disappointing.

  7. Iva

    Dear Janina,

    questions are from the students. First, we brainstormed ideas what our questions should be about. After, we formulated the questions….As their teacher, I did help them with the vocabulary and similar…but they decided on final formulation…And my students are familiar with this type of terminology as we did some other international projects lately – cooperation between schools on different topics -media literacy and diversity.

  8. Salvador Gota

    Este es el respeto que Espaa tiene a Catalunya, ridiculiza a sus habitantes nos trata como Nazis y a nuestro representante elegido legalmente bajo las urnas le tratan como si fuese Hitler.
    Esto en la en la televisin pblica Madrilea.
    Una muestra ms del porque los Catalanes nos que remos marchar de Espaa, solo les interesa nuestro dinero (El expolio que sufrimos) lo dems no les importa.
    http://www.telemadrid.es/programas/nacional/morenes-evita-polemizar-sobre-la-propuesta-de-un-ejercito-catalan

  9. Charlie Brown

    People with disabilities should make their NGO(s) in order to implement themselves as an equal part to civil society. I also belive that they should do what they are good at for example blind people are usually gifted musicians, so why can’t they be music teachers? Their NGO should also promote their abilities to children, because parents often don’t point out the fact that despite their disabilities, they are helathy individuals that are part of our society.

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