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European Commission Proposes To Make Products And Services More Accessible To Disabled Persons

03/12/2015 | 1 comments

EU Commission logo3rd December 2015. The European Commission today proposed a European Accessibility Act, which will set common accessibility requirements for certain key products and services that will help people with disabilities at EU level to participate fully in society.

The products and services covered have been carefully selected in consultation with citizens and civil society organisations as well as businesses. They include:

  • ATMs and banking services,
  • PCs, telephones and TV equipment,
  • telephony and audiovisual services,
  • transport,
  • e-books and e-commerce.

The proposal for a Directive aims to improve the functioning of the internal market, making it easier for companies to provide accessible products and services across borders. Common accessibility requirements will also apply in the frame of EU procurement rules and for the use of EU funds. The initiative will stimulate innovation and increase the offer of accessible products and services for the around 80 million persons with disabilities in the EU.

Attention has been paid to ensure proportionality of the requirements, in particular for small and micro-enterprises. A common sense clause avoids that accessibility requirements would impose a disproportionate burden and for micro-enterprises lighter compliance measures are foreseen. Experience shows that in most cases it makes good business sense to provide accessible products, in particular when accessibility is foreseen at the design phase.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, commented: "Disability should not be a barrier to full participation in society, nor should the lack of EU common rules be a barrier to cross-border trade in accessible products and services. With this Act, we want to deepen the internal market and use its potential for the benefit of both companies and citizens with disabilities. In fact, we all may benefit from it".

Download the Commission's Proposal and this Press Release in WORD format from the right-hand panel.

Link to: Further information and Video message of Commissioner Thyssen.

1 comment(s) posted

Posted by Ambrose Ivor on 2015/12/03 - 11:33:05

There will be many who regret that the Commission was unable to include access to shops and other buildings offering goods and services in their proposal. This is a necessary step in the future. Meanwhile, I would hope that the Member States will adopt this proposal quickly and make Europe a bit more inclusive for citizens (and not forgetting, visitors) with disabilities.

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General Information

Submitted by: Ivor Ambrose
Language(s): BUL | DA | DE | EL | EN | ES | ET | FI | FR | HRV | HU | IT | LT | LV | MT | NL | PL | PT | RO | SLO | SLV | SV


Publisher: European Commission
Date published on the web: 03/12/2015


Assistive Technologies | Disability, disabilities, technical aids | Information and Communication Technologies | Policy, legislation