December, the European Commission finally published its proposal for the
European Accessibility Act. The Act had been at the core of the freedom of
movement campaign of the disability movement for over three years. The
publication of the Act consisted also one of the UN’s
recommendations to the EU on how to better work on the rights of persons with
EDF welcomed this long awaited piece of legislation, and at
the same time identified important areas where the proposal can be strengthened
and made more effective. After a broad consultation with its members all over
published its initial response to the proposal
ways in which the proposal can be improved in order to bring a real, positive
change in the lives of persons with disabilities. For example, the widening of
the scope of the Act is necessary; it should also cover the accessibility of
the built environment related to the accessible goods and services covered by
Today’s meeting at the European Parliament was a good
opportunity for EDF to present this position and the areas that can be improved
in the proposal for the Act and to call on the European Parliament to make
relevant changes in the text. That can happen in the coming period as the
proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council.
Parliament’s resolution adopted last May called on the European Commission
to present “an ambitious proposal for a European Accessibility Act, with the
full involvement of persons with disabilities throughout the legislative cycle
and stresses the need for this proposal to include a full range of policy
areas, with regards to the accessibility of goods and services for all European
Citizens, fostering the independent living and full inclusion of people with
disabilities, and ensuring ongoing, effective and independent monitoring and
EDF Executive Committee member, Pat Clarke, underlined that EDF is looking forward to working with the European Parliament and the Council to make this a reality. “The publication of the proposal for a European Accessibility Act has a great potential to improve the lives of millions of persons with disabilities in Europe – let’s take this opportunity and make sure this potential is fulfilled.”
Wolfgang Angermann, underlined the importance of accessibility for blind
people and people with visual impairments and that makes the Act an essential
goal worth fighting for.
Ann Jönsson from
the Swedish Organisation of the Visually
Impaired talked about the lack of
accessibility as a barrier to fulfil everyday tasks that are common for
everyone else: “Persons with disabilities face many barriers when we want to do
“normal” things like buying a train ticket or using a washing machine. We
experience inaccessibility of products and services in our daily lives.
Everybody should take part in society on an equal basis with others.”
MEP Soraya Post mentioned
that there is a political will to work on the European Accessibility Act
counting on the active participation of civil society organisations.
from the cabinet of Commissioner Thyssen,
expressed the European Commission’s intention to work to prevent and remove
barriers in the internal market both for consumers and for businesses.
MEP Helga Stevens
explained that it is important that the Act also brings about changes for
products, services and built environment at local level, because this is what
persons with disabilities use every day and what has most impact on their
MEP Igor Soltes emphasised
that the scope of the Accessibility
Act should be widened; it should not limit businesses but at the same time it
has to give persons with disabilities the same opportunities as everybody else
and reduce inequalities in society.
MEP Roberta Metsola
said that the EU cannot leave anyone behind and that the Act is a step towards
the right direction, but there is still room for improvement.
Geert Jan Buisman
from the Dutch presidency to the EU
explained that the Council and the Member States are still analysing the
proposal of the Act, with a focus on its relationship with existing and
proposed legislation. He stated that the goal of the Dutch Presidency is to
reach a common approach on the Act so that the Council can then proceed
EDF will continue following the discussion for the proposal
of the Act at the European Parliament and the Council and advocate for an
ambitious and strong legislation.
Marie Denninghaus | EDF Transport & Mobility officer | firstname.lastname@example.org