Accessibility of EU websites: Commission needs to do more

11 January 2019

In a decision released on the 20 December, the European ombudsman declares that, while it is satisfied with planned improvements to accessibility of EU Institution websites (“.europa.eu” websites), further steps need to be taken.   

The procedure, launched in July, comes in the heels of several complaints of inaccessible websites such as the online tests from the European Personnel Selection Office, the Europass CV builder, the European AI Alliance online platform and the Advanced Gateway to Meetings (used not only by Commission staff, but also by external experts).

  • The Ombudsman stated that it is happy with planned actions but nevertheless added 6 recommendations:
  • The Commission needs to implement mandatory training on web accessibility for all staff members working on websites;
  • The Commission should mirror the requirements of the Web Accessibility Directive and provide ‘accessibility statements’ on its websites and online tools, and specific feedback mechanisms;
  • The Commission needs to adopt an action plan that includes sets and prioritises accessibility issues to be addressed. The plan should include a detailed timeline for implementation;
  • The Commission should list websites and tools that should meet higher international standards (level AAA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1) It should also provide general information in the easy to read formats;
  • The Commission should provide a plan on how to comply with the updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1;
  • The Commission needs to assure accessibility of the Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme Online internal tool.

We are happy that attention was brought to this important issue, that we have been campaign about for years. We will remain vigilant and expect to see the above-mentioned plan soon.

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