Being a pioneer in the European Parliament

Deaf Magazine Niclas Martinsson

How do you feel about being a pioneer in the European parliament?

It goads me, besides it is a gratifying responsibility.

Why do you think that you got one of Hungary’s 22 seats in the European parliament?

I was asked to be a candidate as the leader of an NGO (Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Hungary), and not as a politician. In my sight, people trust those who walk between them.

How will you communicate with the others in the parliament?

I will communicate by my native language, hungarian sign language. Such as at the others, an interpreter will work beside me. The only difference is, that first he has to interpret me to a sounding language, than to e.g. english.

What questions/subjects do you plan to work for?

The key-question is, that the social approach in disability has to change. Than, to make education and training system accessible for the young and adult disabled people, to have more harmonized european projects about people with disabilities and in aging. One of my seeded aim is to make people with disabilities possible to work, because I think, this is the only way they will be able to become appreciated, independent members of the society.

Last but not least, I’d like to deal with the case of the sign language. I want it to be the 24th official language in the EU.

How do you think that the future will be for the Deaf in the EU?

Because of aging I think that the number of people living with some kind of disability – irrespectively of the reason – will grow in 2-3 generations. Societies are standing in front of great challanges: the number of employees fall, the economic incomes fall, while the social needs remain. To have more and more people paying taxes, states have to employ the wider part of society included disabled. Besides, we have to creat reasonable and also qualitative circumstances in public utilities.

Deaf people will get more and more break to live their life better than now. They will be able to learn, go to university, get a high qualitified job. That’s why they will be able to discover their real abilities, and fight for them!

Do you want to add anything?

As a MEP, I’ve the oppotunity get to know the states policys about people with disabilities. So, I want to start an international dialoge about the good practises, services, also the legal procedure. Want to lobby at governments to make real, that the country which do not bulid others empiric knowledge to its own, will be behind not only in a sense of profession, but in a sense of society.

How did your campaign work?

I’ve visited all the hungarian countys, and two romanian countys as well. During these we had professional forums with the local NGOs and specialists.

Who do you think voted for you?

The ones, who think a deaf person can also stand for their interests, and the ones, who wanted for a long while the „nothing about us, without us” principle to come true.

Does your deafness mean anything/contribute to this success?

Not my deafness, but the thing, that a deaf person is able to become a lawyer, a candidate. I think through my election deaf people got a chance to prove, that they are also precious members of society.

What was your first thought when you got to know that you were elected?

It was a great suprise! At the Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Hungary we talked about as a distant dream that a deaf person can become a deputy.

How did you feel then?