Access to Public and Private Services

Access to Public and Private Services

 

Digital Information of Public Sector Bodies

Under EU law, EU Member States are obliged to ensure that all public-sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications are accessible, such as those from your city council or ministry of justice. The law allows for better access to the websites and mobile applications of public services – with a number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming). It also requires that the websites and mobile apps of the public sector include a feedback mechanism, for the users to request an accessible alternative when some content is not accessible. This feedback mechanism can be a form, e-mail address, etc. They must display a document (webpage or other) with information on the accessibility of the website or the mobile app. All websites have to be accessible by 23 September 2020. All mobile applications have to be accessible by 23 June 2021.

There should also be a national public body responsible for web and mobile accessibility, which users can reach if the website or app owners do not respond to their feedback. The Member States also need to monitor and report on accessibility of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports must be public.

For more information, please consult the Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies. You can learn more details about how this legislation should be put into national legislation and practice in the EDF toolkit on transposition of the Web accessibility Directive.

 

Electronic Communication

The EU electronic communication rules ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy equivalent access and choice to telephony (landline, mobile telephones, etc.). The providers need to provide relevant assistive technologies and services to persons with disabilities, such as interpreting services and relay services, so everyone can communicate on an equal basis.

You can also call the European emergency number 112 from any type of phone, wherever you are in Europe. It also should guarantee that the access for persons with disabilities to emergency services is equivalent to that enjoyed by other persons.

For more information, please consult the webpage on EU rules on 112.

 

Audiovisual Services

EU legislation ensures that audio-visual media service providers, meaning public or commercial TV channels and services of video on-demand (such as Netflix), make their services gradually more accessible to persons with disabilities. This means that there must be more subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio description, sign language interpretation, and audio subtitles on European broadcasted audio-visual content.

For more information, consult the Commission’s webpage on the Audiovisual Media Service Directive, and the Directive on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive). 

This Directive is currently open to review. Once it is adopted by the Parliament and the Council, EU Member States will have 21 months to adopt it into national legislation. The implementation of the accessibility provisions will depend on each Member State.