Inclusion Europe joins other activists for a demonstration at the European Parliament calling for a strong law on accessibility in Europe

Inclusion Europe is demonstrating jointly with other disability and social rights organisations in front of the European Parliament. We are calling on Parliamentarians to promote a strong and effective European Accessibility Act.

Inclusion Europe joins other activists for a demonstration at the European Parliament calling for a strong law on accessibility in Europe

Today Inclusion Europe is demonstrating jointly with other disability and social rights organisations, such as the European Disability Forum, in front of the European Parliament. We are calling on Parliamentarians to promote a strong and effective European Accessibility Act.

Millions of people in Europe are still excluded from using basic products and services that are taken for granted for other people. Due to lack of accessibility, withdrawing money from a cash machine, entering a bank or any public building, using the metro, issuing a ticket, using a computer, calling a friend, watching TV, staying in a hotel, using a washing machine, are impossible for many people, including persons with disabilities and older people. People with intellectual disabilities often face obstacles when travelling, using e-mail programmes or being provided with information that is not easy-to-read.

The聽European Parliament聽is currently discussing the聽European Commission鈥檚 proposal for the European Accessibility Act. This is a proposal for a law that could make several聽products and services in the European Union accessible for all citizens including聽80 million persons with disabilities聽and聽190 million people aged 50 and older.聽The Accessibility Act provides the opportunity to harmonise the accessibility obligations and requirements for products and services within the European Union鈥檚 internal market, reducing barriers and reducing costs for persons with disabilities, older people and all citizens.

The demonstration takes place because of our deep concern about the recently published聽draft report聽of the聽Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO Committee), which is the responsible Committee for the European Accessibility Act in the European Parliament.The Committee鈥檚 report is watering down the proposal for the Act to such an extent that fundamentally important parts of the Act may be lost. 聽
The aim of today鈥檚 demonstration is to call on the IMCO Committee and the European Parliament to adopt a stronger and more ambitious position on the Accessibility Act.

Among others, we are calling on the European Parliament:

  • to聽broaden the scope of the proposal聽by including the聽built environment聽and聽key products and services, such as household appliances and hotels;
  • to make sure there is a聽comprehensive set of accessibility requirements聽in the Act;
  • to ensure that the Accessibility Act has a聽strong relation with other legislation of the European Union,聽such as the聽Public Procurement Directive;
  • to聽not exclude聽micro,聽small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs)聽from applying the requirements of the Act;
  • to ensure a聽robust enforcement mechanism.

The European Union and almost all of its Member States 鈥揺xcept Ireland- have ratified the聽United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Thus, they are obliged under聽article 9 of the CRPD聽to deliver accessible products and services to all their citizens.

 

The聽President of Inclusion Europe, Maureen Piggot, stated:

People with intellectual disabilities have been excluded from society and kept apart in institutions. A less obvious form of exclusion is when the design of products and services or the lack of accessible information prevents people with intellectual disabilities from living a more independent life. Accessibility measures, such as easy-to-read information, are essential so that people with intellectual disabilities can use public transport, understand household bills or find vocational advice. The European Parliament must ensure that the Accessibility Act will be not be watered down and that it will have a real impact for people with disabilities in Europe.

 

The聽President of the European Disability Forum, Yannis Vardakastanis, said:

Accessibility is a prerequisite to live independently and be included in society. We are calling on the European Parliament to keep its role as the front runner for the rights of its citizens and support a strong and ambitious Accessibility Act that will bring a real change in the lives of all people in Europe.

 

Update: Pictures of the protest

From left to right: Yago Ja茅n Retes (Communications trainee, Inclusion Europe), Soufiane El-Amrani (Easy-to-read editor, Inclusion Europe), Angelika Hild, Communications Officer, Inclusion Europe)

From left to right: Yago Ja茅n Retes (Communications trainee, Inclusion Europe), Soufiane El-Amrani (Easy-to-read editor, Inclusion Europe), Angelika Hild, Communications Officer, Inclusion Europe)

Demanding equal access in front of the European Parliament

Demanding equal access in front of the European Parliament

Inclusion Europe supports the protest for a meaningful Accessibility Act

Inclusion Europe supports the protest for a meaningful Accessibility Act

Making noise in front of the European Parliament

Making noise in front of the European Parliament

Accessibility? Act!

Accessibility? Act!

 

About Inclusion Europe:

Inclusion Europe is an association of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Europe.
Since聽1988, Inclusion Europe聽fights for equal rights and full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in all aspects of life. The association has members in nearly 40 European countries.

For more information please contact Angelika Hild, Communications Officer,聽
at聽a.hild@inclusion-europe.org

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This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.

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