European Parliament crucial vote on Accessibility Act

14 September 2017
The European Parliament in Strasbourg

Several improvements - what is still missing?

The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted today in plenary session on the proposed amendments to the Accessibility Act. The Parliament adopted its final position before starting the negotiations with the Council. EDF and its members had campaigned to convince the MEPs to listen to the voices of their citizens and adopt an ambitious Accessibility Act. We will take the time to examine the amendments and the final text and come back with a thorough analysis. In the meantime, this is a short update on the five top priorities we campaigned for:

  1. Applicability of the Accessibility Act to other Union acts such as public procurement or the EU Structural Funds (Article 1(3)).

This point was adopted and its scope was also widened compared to the European Commission’s initial proposal; now all EU legislation mentioning accessibility should be aligned with the accessibility requirements of the Accessibility Act.

  1. Adoption of a strong, binding clause on the built environment (Article 3 (10)).

This point was adopted meaning that the accessibility requirements of the Accessibility Act will apply not only on products and services but also on the built environment around them, e.g. not only a cash machine should be made accessible, but also the building of the bank in which the cash machine is in. However, this applies only to new and renovated buildings concerning banking, telephony and transport services.

  1. Application of accessibility requirements by microenterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Art. 12)

This point was rejected. Microenterprises will be excluded from the Act and they won’t have to make their products and services (such as e-commerce and e-books) accessible. Concerning SMEs, they should notify the authorities in case their products and services are not accessible.

  1. transport accessibility

There were some improvements, but some important demands on the definitions were rejected. That means that important modes of transport, such as metros, trams, or local buses, are still excluded from the Act. However, the transport requirements in the Annex I were improved compared to the initial report by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) and it was confirmed that the main transport accessibility requirements will stay in the Act.

  1. inclusion of sector-specific accessibility requirements in Annex I

In this point, there were some improvements. We will give more information on this once we analyse the amendments.

The final report was adopted by 537 MEPs in favour, 89 abstentions and 12 against. Parliament’s plenary gave the rapporteur of the Accessibility Act, MEP Morten Lokkegaard, the mandate to start the negotiations with the Council as soon as possible.

EDF appreciates the support of all MEPs who voted for the amendments which strengthened the text of the Act.

We regret that several crucial points were left out. We will continue to collaborate with our members in the next stages of the process to make the Act stronger. This process will continue at the Council but also during the negotiations among the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission (trialogue) in the following months.

Follow all updates at @MyEDF and @EDFaccess Twitter accounts using the hashtag: #AccessibilityAct


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