European Ombudsman on web accessibility: “I still need to be convinced that the Commission is doing enough”

European Ombudsman on web accessibility: ``I still need to be convinced that the Commission is doing enough``

The logo of the European Ombudsman


Click here for the easy-to-read version

How useful is information for you if it is too complicated to understand?

Especially for people with intellectual disabilities, it is vital that they can find easy-to-read information and easy-to-use tools online.

As for the European Ombudsman, she “still needs to be convinced” that the European Commission is doing enough to provide such information:

The Ombudsman has opened a so-called “strategic inquiry” on the accessibility of the European Commission’s websites and online tools. She took this action following two preceding steps:

  • The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD Committee) had published a recommendation asking the European Commission to “take the necessary measures to ensure the full application of web accessibility standards” – this includes easy-to-read information and easy-to-use tools.
  • European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had explained in a letter to the Ombudsman how the Commission aims to meet these standards.

The Ombudsman is not satisfied with the reply and has therefore opened the inquiry, asking the Commission a number of concrete questions on how it intends to better comply with the standards and even go beyond. For example, the Ombudsman proposed to select a number of webpages which provide important information for citizens and prioritise these to make them accessible.

Inclusion Europe fully supports the Ombudsman’s measure. The European Commission has adopted the Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications which sets standards for other public institutions. Even though the directive does not apply to EU institutions’ websites and online tools, they are encouraged to comply with the Directive – and shouldn’t they lead by example?

The deadline the Ombudsman has set for the European Commission to reply to the inquiry is 31 October 2017. We will keep you updated!


Easy-to-read version

Click on a word which is in blue to read what it means.

It is important for people with intellectual disabilities
to be able to read things in easy to read.

The UN CPRD Committee asked the European Commission to make sure
their website is accessible.

The European Commission wrote a letter to the European Ombudsman and said
they would try to make their website accessible.


Explanation: The European Ombudsman looks at how the European Union institutions work.

Sometimes the European Union institutions make mistakes.

People can tell the Ombudsman about it – this is called a complaint.

The European Ombudsman helps people who have complaints against a European Union institution.


The European Ombudsman was not happy with the letter the European Commission wrote.

Now the European Ombudsman is asking questions
to make sure that the European Commission will make their website accessible.


The European Commission tells other organizations to make their websites accessible.

Inclusion Europe thinks that the European Commission should do what they tell others to do.

Inclusion Europe wants the European Commission to make their website accessible.


We will tell you what happened after the 31st of October.

The 31st of October is the deadline for the European Commission to answer the questions.

The questions are the ones that the European Ombudsman asked.