This week, we sent our official position on the European Commission’s draft standardisation request for the European Accessibility Act to the European Commission. We welcomed the draft standardisation request and proposed a number of improvements to the draft proposal of the European Commission.
Particularly, we are happy with the overall objectives of the draft request, and with the proposal to revise three existing standards (accessibility of digital products and services; on how to design goods and services for all; and accessibility of the built environment) and to develop three new ones (on non-digital information; accessibility of support services related to products and services; and accessibility of emergency communications and for the answering of emergency communications, including for the single European Emergency number 112) with the aim of harmonising them for the Accessibility Act.
These new and revised standards to be developed are important as they will ensure that companies and public authorities know how to fulfil the accessibility requirements of the Accessibility Act. They will provide a set of technical accessibility requirements for all the products and services covered by the Act. Once the Commission refers to them in the Official Journal of the EU (this is when they are considered to be harmonised), companies and public authorities can demonstrate compliance with the accessibility obligations included in the legislation by conforming with these standards.
But we also made some suggestions to improve the draft request, including few suggestions for making the standardisation process more inclusive, accessible and transparent for all stakeholders, including organisations of persons with disabilities.
You can see the full EDF Position on our publications page.
Next steps: once the European Commission receives and considers feedback from all stakeholders, they will issue an official request to the three European standardisation organisations (CEN; CENELEC and ETSI) to start revising and drafting the requested standards. They should do this with participation of organisations of persons with disabilities, among other stakeholders. The indicative time for issuing the official request is end of 2021.
- Want to refresh your memory about the European Accessibility Act (Act) – consult our EAA toolkit or re-watch our webinar.
- Still confused how standardisation works and why it is important? Watch the EDF-ANEC webinar on introduction to standardisation.
- EDF Position Paper on European Commission’s draft Standardisation Request for the European Accessibility Act
Mher Hakobyan – Accessibility Officer