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

EDF members' positions

EDF partners' positions

Other useful material

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