European Accessibility Act

Person holding a sign that says "Accessibility for All"

Accessibility? Act!

Millions of people in Europe are still excluded everyday from using basic products and services that are taken for granted for other people such as withdrawing money from an ATM, entering a bank, a school, a university or any public building, using the metro, issuing a ticket etc. The European Union is now discussing a proposal for a law that can make several products and services accessible in Europe: the European Accessibility Act. Unfortunately, the first discussions at the European Parliament show a clear risk that the importance of the Act will be dramatically watered down.

What is the European Accessibility Act?

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission published a proposal for a European Accessibility Act. Once this proposal is adopted, it should lead to common accessibility requirements covering products and services across the EU. Currently, there is no specific EU legislation on accessibility for persons with disabilities and the proposed Accessibility Act has therefore a lot of potential.

The European Accessibility Act is a proposal for a law that would make many products and services in the European Union (EU) more accessible for persons with disabilities. EDF is campaigning for the proposal to be adopted so that the Accessibility Act will become a binding law as soon as possible. The proposed Accessibility Act takes the form of a Directive, which is legally binding, meaning that the EU Member States have an obligation to apply what the Act mentions. The proposal foresees that only certain products and services need to be accessible. These are mainly:

  • Smartphones, tablets and computers
  • Ticketing machines and check-in machines
  • Televisions and TV programmes
  • Banking and ATMs
  • E-books
  • Online shopping websites and mobile applications

Why is it important?

Persons with disabilities in Europe often have difficulties accessing many basic products and services on an equal basis with other people. The Accessibility Act is needed to improve this situation.

While many EU Member States already have some form of accessibility legislation, there is no EU law on accessibility. The European Accessibility Act should provide a minimum level of accessibility when it comes to products and services so that they can be circulated in all EU Member States. Adopting the Accessibility Act will be a big step for the EU to promote the inclusion of its 80 million persons with disabilities, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that the EU and all Member States have ratified.

EDF has also made a short video where different persons with disabilities are explaining why we need the Act.

EDF's position

Follow us on Twitter: @MyEDF @EDFaccess #AccessibilityAct
- European Accessibility Act: a big step forward on a long journey - Our statement on the provisional agreement of the Act
- Press Release - EU Leaders: get your Act together
- Open letter to the EU Institutions: We need a strong European Accessibility Act and we need it now.
- Press Release "Austrian Presidency has unique chance to cement legacy by adopting the European Accessibility Act"
- Joint statement with EENA, EUD and 5 other disability organisations: Emergency Call to the Council - Accessible emergency communication for persons with disabilities: a requirement to save lives
- Joint statement with DigitalEurope on inclusion of Public Procurement in the Accessibility Act: ACCESSIBILITY ACT: BUYING ACCESSIBLE A MUST FOR PUBLIC AUTHORITIES IN THE DIGITAL AGE
- EDF's analysis of the Council's position on the Accessibility Act, December 2017
- EDF's press release following the adoption of the Council's Position on the Accessibility Act on 7 December 2017
- Emergency Resolution of the 4th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities on the adoption of the Council Position on the Accessibility Act on 6 December 2017
- EDF's analysis of the Position on the Accessibility Act adopted by the European Parliament on 14 September 2017
- EDF's press release following the vote in the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee on 25 April 2017
- EDF's press release following our public demonstration in support of the Accessibility Act on 6 March 2017
- Economic benefits of accessibility - facts and figures
- EDF's Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament about the Accessibility Act
- EDF's leaflet on the European Accessibility Act (EN)
Other languages: BG - CZ - DE
- DK - EE - ES - FI - FR - GR - HU - HR - IT - LT - LV - MT - NL - RO - PL - PT - SK - SL - SV
- EDF's resolution on the Accessibility Act adopted at the Board in Bratislava on 13 November 2016 - EDF's initial response to the proposal of the Act (PDF version) - EDF's initial response to the proposal of the Act (Word version) - EDF press release on the publication of the proposal for the Accessibility Act - EDF press release on its initial response to the Act

EDF members' positions

EDF partners' positions

Other useful material

Sign Language video about the Accessibility Act (courtesy of EUD)