>WHAT IS THE CONSULTATION ABOUT?
The responsible unit -Rights of persons with disabilities-, from the Directorate-General Justice of the European Commission explained that this consultation is part of the preparatory data collection that will underpin the assessment of the impact of the measures for the development of a European Accessibility Act (EAA). The objective of the EAA is to improve the accessibility of goods and services in the European market.
>THE GOOD THINGS AND THE BAD THINGS
EDF welcomes the consultation. This shows a commitment from the Commission to develop concrete measures to remove barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the single market.
EDF regrets that the consultation was only available in English preventing many organisations of persons with disabilities at national or local level from providing valuable contributions to this important exercise.
EDF believes the only effective European Act is a binding legislation covering the wide variety of goods and services on the market.
It is important to respect the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and adopt this legislation by the end of 2012.
>WHAT SCOPE DO WE WANT?
We believe that each good and service should be accessible to everybody, regardless of their disability. EDF therefore calls on the European Commission to come forward with a strong proposal for legislation. This should be based on internal market rules, and include effective requirements for public and private service providers and industry to provide accessible mainstream goods and services allowing consumers with disabilities to benefit from the internal market.
No other instrument beside legislation would achieve an adequate and effective response to the difficulties faced by consumers with disabilities in accessing ordinary products and services under the same conditions as other EU consumers. Instead people with disabilities frequently have to rely on adapted products and services where choice is limited and prices are higher. An EU legal framework would help both persons with disabilities, who would gain greater access to goods and services, and the industry, which would benefit from a market expansion.
The Act should have a scope as broad as possible, with a clear and extensive definition of accessibility, and include the requirement to provide accessibility in specific sectors.
In elaborating its response, EDF has made explicit references to the relevant questions of the consultation. This has been done so that our comments can, if necessary, be analysed by the European Commission section by section in accordance with the original structure of the questionnaire.