European Accessibility Act

The European Pillar of Social Rights defines 20 principles for the European Union to become more inclusive and fairer and to improve the lives of all European citizens.

European Accessibility Act

What is the European Accessibility Act?

The European Accessibility Act is a directive that ensures the accessibility of a number of services and products within Member States. In order to do so, the directive aims to improve the trade of accessible products and services between Members Sates, leading to more accessible products and services in the market, and with more affordable prices.

How will the European accessibility act improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities?

The European Accessibility Act covers products and services that have been identified as being most important for persons with disabilities while being most likely to have diverging accessibility requirements across EU countries.

The Commission consulted stakeholders and experts on accessibility and took into account the obligations deriving from the UN convention on persons with disabilities. These products and services include:

  • computers and operating systems
  • ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines
  • smartphones
  • TV equipment related to digital television services
  • telephony services and related equipment
  • access to audio-visual media services such as television broadcast and related consumer equipment
  • services related to air, bus, rail and waterborne passenger transport
  • banking services
  • e-books
  • e-commerce

The European Accessibility Act is expected to be beneficial also for businesses. The need for new accessible products will create new possibilities for them, and the elimination of barriers betweem Member States is going to create a bigger, united market focused on accessibility. It will be easier for European companies to operate in another EU country, thanks to the common rules on accessibility.

Where does the European Accessibility Act come from?

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission published a proposal for a European Accessibility Act. Since the proposal, the European Disability Forum has been campaigning in favour of the directive and its approval.

The European Accessibility Act has been finally approved by the European Parliament on 13 March 2019. It has been the first legislation on this matter in the European Union.

Inclusion Europe has been actively promoting the approval of the European Accessibility Act, taking part in campaigns organised by the European Disability Forum, and publishing a position paper on the topic.

The Accessibility Act is a law
made by the European Union.

Every country in the European Union
must respect the Accessibility Act.

The Accessibility Act says what companies need to do
to make their products and services more accessible.

For example:

  • smartphones,
  • computers,
  • e-books,
  • ticketing machines
  • travels by bus or train.

The Accessibility Act is good for people with disabilities
and also for older people.

It is good because it makes things more accessible
to them.

It is also good for people with disabilities looking for a job.

It can get them a job in testing products and services
to say if they are accessible.

The Accessibility Act is also good for companies.

They do not need to follow different laws in different countries anymore.

Now there is one law for the entire European Union.

This makes things easier for companies.