European Accessibility Act: Parliament and Council negotiators strike a deal

People with disabilities 2018

© European Communities , 2002 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Alain Schroeder

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Key products and services, like smartphones, ticketing machines and banking services, will have to be made more accessible to people with disabilities.

The new directive, provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Thursday, aims to improve the daily lives of people with disabilities and to encourage businesses to innovate with more accessible products and services.

Around 80 million people in the EU live with a disability to some degree. Due to the ageing of the population, this figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020.

Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE, DK), Internal Market Committee rapporteur who led the talks, said: “These long-awaited rules will make a big difference not only to the millions of citizens with disabilities, but also to lot more people, such as elderly persons. Now a disabled person will be able to use self-service machines and everyday products such as computers, phones and e-books.

“For European businesses, the European Accessibility Act will present more opportunities, since we were able to include public procurement in the Act and to introduce provisions that will unburden microenterprises. We have struck the right balance! Consumers with disabilities now will have greater access to the digital economy, and innovation will still be possible”.

More accessible products and services

The “European Accessibility Act” (EAA) sets out requirements to make a number of products and services more accessible. The list includes, amongst others:

  • ticketing and check-in machines,
  • ATMs and other payment terminals,
  • PCs and operating systems,
  • smartphones, tablets and TV equipment,
  • consumer banking services,
  • e-books and dedicated software,
  • e-commerce,
  • air, bus, rail and waterborne passenger transport services, including real-time travel information.

The EAA will outline what needs to be accessible, but will not impose detailed technical solutions as to how to make it accessible, thus allowing for innovation.

All goods and services complying with the accessibility requirements would benefit from free circulation on the internal market.

“Built environment” where the service is provided

Accessibility requirements, for example with regard to ramps, doors, public toilets and staircases, currently vary across EU countries. In order to make the built environment “continuously and progressively more accessible” to disabled persons, member states are encouraged to align their diverging requirements as much as possible. The co-legislators introduced a review clause requiring the Commission to assess the situation five years after the application of the directive.

Special provisions for micro-enterprises

Micro-enterprises that provide services are exempted from the directive and those providing products will be exempted from some obligations to avoid imposing a “disproportionate burden” on them. Member states will have to provide guidelines and tools to micro-enterprises in order to facilitate the implementation of this legislation.

Next steps

The provisional agreement now needs to be confirmed by the EU member states’ ambassadors (COREPER) and by Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. The draft directive will then be put to a final vote by the full Parliament in an upcoming plenary session and submitted for approval to the EU Council of Ministers.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

3 unexpected consequences of the US-China trade war

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

Beyond ‘business as usual’. Addressing the climate change crisis

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

We need to give voice to ‘We the Peoples’, says UN chief

With Libyans now ‘fighting the wars of others’ inside their own country, UN envoy urges Security Council action to end violence

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

Coronavirus: EU guidance for a safe return to the workplace

5 things COVID-19 has taught us about inequality

Pharmaceuticals: Commission refines intellectual property rules

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

Young translators at EU schools – Commission opens registration for 2020 translation contest

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

UN political chief calls for dialogue to ease tensions in Venezuela; Security Council divided over path to end crisis

State aid: Commission approves €1.2 billion French “Fonds de solidarité” scheme for small enterprises in temporary financial difficulties due to coronavirus outbreak

These are the top 10 global causes of death – but two diseases are in decline

Brazilian health: right or privilege?

Why the minutes and the months matter most to young people during the COVID-19 crisis

Stop cooperation with and funding to the Libyan coastguard, MEPs ask

Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

The remote doctor in the 21st century

Over 820 million people suffering from hunger; new UN report reveals stubborn realities of ‘immense’ global challenge

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

More bank bailouts at taxpayers’ expenses

EP wants data protection guaranteed before allowing fingerprint exchange with UK

Business growth is key to post-pandemic recovery

A new paradigm for collaboration: mission-based ecosystems

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

MEPs urge UK to break current deadlock

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

Commission supports Member States in tackling coronavirus hotspots with offer of four million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to be delivered this month

These 4 companies are turning food waste into cosmetics, clothing and more

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

More international support needed to curb deadly measles outbreak in DR Congo

White Coat, Stained red

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital reset

Commission celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Jean Monnet Activities promoting European studies worldwide

Meet the Seed Warrior: the man on a mission to rescue India’s rice diversity

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

Amid COVID-19 constraints, UN women’s commission meets to push gender equality forward

COVID-19, higher education and the impact on society: what we know so far and what could happen

As rural communities age, their public transport is shrinking. It’s time to fix this

Why the future of food must be blue as well as green

The digital revolution will transform the steel industry

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

Eco-anxiety during the Pandemic

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa on 16-18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s