Represented by its President, Yannis Vardakastanis, its Vice President, Gunta Anca, its Secretary, Rodolfo Cattani and its Director, Carlotta Besozzi, EDF underlined the strong support and commitment of the European disability movement towards the adoption of such legislation, as well as the high expectations of 80 million Europeans with disabilities, who are still facing obstacles in their access to various goods and services. Through our Freedom of Movement Top Campaign, we have been calling on the EU to proceed to the adoption of an ambitious and legally binding European Accessibility Act and to ensure that persons with disabilities can participate in society on equal terms with other citizens.
“There are EU Member States that have advanced a lot when it comes to the accessibility of persons with disabilities in the society, and some others that have been left behind. The EU has the important role to push its Member States to take steps towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life, as it is foreseen in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that it has ratified. That can only happen if its citizens with disabilities have access to goods and services as all the other citizens. The adoption of a broad and legally binding European Accessibility Act will be a strong booster for growth and employment in Europe, while it will also reinforce the European Commission’s recently published legislative proposal on the accessibility of public websites”, stressed EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis.
> WHAT’S NEXT?
Ms Reding confirmed that the European Commission will take on this commitment and confirmed that the Act is included in its 2014 work plan. The Vice President also referred to the preparatory work that the Commission has carried out to assess the impact of possible measures to improve the accessibility of goods and services in the internal market. The objective is to present a proposal for binding measures that would combine both, improvement of accessibility and growth potential for EU companies.
As a next step, in December 2013 the Commission is organising a high level meeting with a number of CEOs of European companies to discuss the impact that the Act could have on the goods and services they provide. The conclusions of this meeting will complement the preparatory work of the Commission services and would allow the identification of the most appropriate measures for improving the accessibility of goods and services in the European Union.
EDF will continue to closely monitor the procedure and press for an Accessibility Act that will bring a real change in Europe.
Lila Sylviti | EDF Communication officer | firstname.lastname@example.org