Hungarian MEP Kósa Ádám is making European Parliament history! Not only is he the first deaf MEP, he will be bringing a new language to the parliament, sign language. It will change the way the parliament works.
Hello and welcome to Backstage, which takes you behind the scenes of the parliament. The other day in the EP I came across an MEP who speaks with his hands. He's been elected for 5 years like any other MEP he represents EU citizens. How will everyone be able to get their message across in sign language? We went to meet him in Hungary and then at the parliament, to see how he got on. Let's meet him. Kósa Ádám a father and a lawyer is the first deaf MEP not only in Hungary, but also in Europe. As a politician he won a seat in the EP. The newly elected MEP is trying to spend as much time with his family as possible. It's not always easy as he'll be away 3 out of 4 weeks, to work in Brussels, so breakfasts like this are precious. New technology means Ádám is able to communicate with colleagues via email, a few clicks and meetings are set but first he drops his eldest at nursery. He is president of the Association of the Deaf and the Hearing Impaired. As a lawyer he defends disabled people's cases. No time to get bored, as a father, lawyer, concerned citizen, and a sportsman too, when he gets the time he plays floorball. a game with a hockey-like stick on a handball court. On the political stage he gets on with different parties but remains independent he pursues his own battles. I do not consider myself a classic politician. I protect civil interests, and have been leading an NGO for four years, and I represent the disabled society. But now I am MEP I will represent not only the disabled but all Hungarians. His main goal is to ensure disabled people can live like anyone else. Changing society's attitude is very important to me. I will use sign language to communicate to draw attention to the specific needs of disabled people. Today disabled people are only protected in the area of employment, in other areas there is very little. A coffee on the way to work, Ádám arranges his daily tasks with his interpreter. People speaking with their hands is still unique here. In the EP it is even more so as there are no sign language interpreters, so he has asked for assistance. I will need 2 or 3 sign language assistants in Brussels for 3 weeks. I know international sign language so I might use an interpreter from Holland or Belgium. It will be difficult at first, but will get better over time. There are important issues decided in the corridors of the EP, and it is essential that I can communicate smoothly in these situations. There are about 50 million disabled people in Europe, that's almost 1 in 10 Europeans. There are only 2 disabled MEPs out of 736, one wheelchair user and Kósa Ádám is the first hearing impaired MEP. I hope Europe will learn sign language as soon as possible.