EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 51998IP0985

Resolution on sign languages

OJ C 379, 7.12.1998, p. 66 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)


Resolution on sign languages

Official Journal C 379 , 07/12/1998 P. 0066


Resolution on sign languages

The European Parliament

- having regard to its resolution of 17 June 1988 on sign languages for the deaf ((OJ C 187, 18.7.1988, p. 236.)),

- having regard to the Council Resolution of 20 December 1996 on equality of opportunity for people with disabilities ((OJ C 12, 13.1.1997, p. 1.)),

- having regard to its resolution of 13 December 1996 on the rights of disabled people ((OJ C 20, 20.1.1997, p. 389.)),

- having regard to Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty on non-discrimination,

A. whereas the number of profoundly deaf or partially hearing people, including those whose difficulties are of recent date, is increasing,

B. whereas the majority of deaf people also have speech difficulties and need accordingly to use sign language as their main, and very often their only, means of communication,

C. whereas only four of the 15 European Union Member States give official recognition to sign language,

D. whereas the results of the European Sign Language project highlighted the significant lack of qualified sign language interpreters in the European Union,

E. whereas there is no recognition or consideration given in EU funding programmes to the need and use by deaf participants of sign language interpreters,

F. whereas in the contemporary world access to information increasingly takes place by audiovisual means, and whereas the exercise of the right to such access is not guaranteed for deaf people,

G. whereas there is inadequate provision made by television companies to provide programmes which are accessible to deaf people given that visual information is of very great importance to deaf people,

H. whereas there are seven different text telephone systems in use across the European Union which are incompatible, causing major difficulties for deaf people calling each other in the EU,

I. whereas there are various different types of sign language, each of which has its specific cultural identity,

1. Marks the significance of the 10th anniversary of its abovementioned resolution of 17 June 1988 on sign languages for the deaf;

2. Welcomes the funding allocation of ECU 500 000 by the European Union to a major Europe-wide sign language project (1997) to promote the implementation of the resolution on sign languages;

3. Recognises that the results produced by this sign language project will provide significant information to the EU institutions and the Member States about how the terms of Parliament's abovementioned resolution on sign languages for deaf people are being implemented;

4. Calls on the Commission to make a proposal to the Council concerning official recognition of the sign language used by deaf people in each Member State;

5. Calls on the Commission to ensure EU funding programmes in the field of education and employment training include training of sign language tutors and interpreters;

6. Calls on the Commission to ensure all EU programmes are accessible to deaf people and recognition is given to the need for sign language interpretation;

7. Calls on the Commission to introduce measures on deaf awareness training for officials working in EU institutions;

8. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that public meetings organised by EU institutions are accessible to deaf people by providing a sign language interpretation service on request;

9. Calls on the Commission to examine, in the context of the principle of public service television, the possibility of introducing legislation enabling the translation into sign language, or at least the subtitling, of news broadcasts, programmes of political interest - especially during election campaigns - and, as far as possible, of cultural and general interest programmes;

10. Calls on the Commission to introduce a proposal for framework legislation to ensure compatibility of telecommunications text and videophone equipment for deaf people across Europe;

11. Calls on the Commission to introduce measures to ensure universal design in multimedia applications so that deaf people are not excluded from new applications;

12. Calls on the Commission, in addition, to undertake studies concerning other audiovisual services for deaf people;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the bodies and organisations responsible for or representing persons with hearing disabilities in the EU.