What constitutes “Europe” these days? Especially in light of the continued, yet not yet all-encompassing growth of the European Union? Members of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters are trying to come to some agreement on boundaries. To wit:
“As I read the EFSLI aims and objectives, one of the �short comings� is not in relation to what it is setting out to achieve. It is clear and laudable. What does not seem to be so clear what constitutes Europe, at least geographically. It is 2.2.1. (a) of the objectives that seems to come closest when it specifies �European countries� as a boundary but this is still somewhat vague. There is a need to a bit more precise especially given the decision made at the AGM last year to set up a fund to assist interpreters from �Eastern European Countries� to attend the EFSLI conference. It is important because before deciding which countries are the most needy, it is necessary to decide which countries constitute Eastern Europe. It is nice to know that a group of individuals are working on this as they develop the policy and procedures for operating the fund.
But perhaps the enlargement can assist EFSLI in agreeing the boundary. Starting north at Finland and then down to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and then here perhaps in anticipation of some new additions in 2007, go to Romania and Bulgaria to Greece and Cyprus. Perhaps this can be our boundary. What do you think?
Of the 10 new countries that joined on 1 May 2004, some are already members of EFSLI. This includes Czech Republic, Hungary Slovenia and Estonia. EFSLI is already in contact with people from Cyprus, Malta and Lithuania and is working to establish links with Slovakia, Latvia and Poland.”
From the newsletter, EFSLI in Brief, 4 June, 2004.