On the 8th November, over three years after the European Commission published its first proposal for a European Accessibility Act, the EU institutions have come to a provisional agreement.
This agreement will add new, EU-wide, minimum requirements on the digital accessibility of a range of products and services. Smartphones, computers, TVs, ATMS, payment terminals and ticket machines, e-books, e-readers, websites as well as mobile applications of private companies will all have to become fully accessible to persons with disabilities in the EU. In addition, the 112-emergency number and telephony services will be required to be accessible to all.
This current agreement on the Accessibility Act only provides requirements for the accessibility of digital goods and services. Minimum requirements on the accessibility of transport, household appliances or buildings and infrastructure will not be included in the act. Further to this, microenterprises who provide services will also be omitted from meeting the Act’s minimum requirements.
This provisional agreement on the Act follows the open letter, released by EASPD and 19 other civil society organisations on 26th September, which called on EU leaders to reach a political agreement on an ambitious European Accessibility Act before the European Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December.
Following the announcement of this provisional agreement on the European Accessibility Act the European Disability Forum (EDF) have expressed their frustration in the agreement’s restricted scope, referring it as a “disappointing compromise.” To read more on EDF’s stance on the agreement, click here.