A more accessible State of the European Union

A more accessible State of the European Union

The European Disability Forum is very much pleased to see increased accessibility of the State of the European Union.  

Accessibility measures

We welcome the provision of interpretation in international sign by the European Commission. We also note the offer of automatic captioning by the European Parliament, even though it falls short of our request for human-generated captioning. 

While we have no information on an easy-to-understand version of the speech, we hope that it will be released in the following days.  

We recognise that this State of the European Union has the most accessibility measures so far. We applaud the effort of the EU Institutions, and we hope that next year, it will include: 

  • Human-generated live captioning integrated in the live streamed video broadcasted by the Parliament, along with the sign language interpretation; 
  • National Liaison Offices of the EU Institutions providing national sign language interpretation;
  • An Easy to Read version of the Speech.

 Encouraging initiatives

The State of the European Union’s speech outlined several initiatives that may impact persons with disabilities: 

  • A new EU Initiative on Mental Health; 
  • A proposal to reform the EU treaties and create a new EU Convention; 
  • On Ukraine: investing 100 million euros in Ukrainian schools and enhancing integration of Ukraine in the single market; 
  • The proposal for 2023 to be the European Year of Skills; 
  • A new effective mechanism to manage migration based on dignity and respect for human rights;
  • Steps on the accession of the “Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia” to the EU; 
  • A continuation of the Citizen’s panels. These panels that were started as part of the Conference on the future of Europe will bring Citizens from different countries together to discuss EU issues and put proposals forward. 

The letter of intent accompanying the speech also outlined: 

  • An EU legislative proposal on the EU disability Card – while this had been announced, we are pleased to see it as one of the flagship initiatives for next year;
  • A mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027;
  • Initiative on virtual worlds, such as metaverse 

 We welcome and will follow all these initiatives.  

Related documents 

Photo Credits: Christophe Licoppe/European Union 2022