On the 26th September EASPD, alongside 19 other civil society organisations, released an open letter to the EU leaders calling for them to reach a political agreement, before the European Day of Persons with Disabilities, on an ambitious European Accessibility Act.
The open letter demanded that the this Accessibility Act must cover a wide-range of accessibility requirements, especially in the following areas:
- Fully-accessible emergency services: This is a life or death issue. Millions of Europeans are effectively denied fast, life-saving medical assistance. The Act must ensure universal accessibility of emergency services.
- Inclusion of micro-enterprises: Up to 93% of products and services are created by micro-enterprises. Having those products covered by the European Accessibility Act is essential.
- Inclusion of accessibility in Public Procurement, EU Funds, and TEN-T regulation: we want the Accessibility Act to apply to Public Procurement, EU Funds, and TEN-T. 16% of Europe’s GDP is generated by Public Procurement. Public authorities and offices employ up to 30% of the labour force, thus yielding immense innovation potential. Public procurement can give incentives for new developments in the field of accessibility.
- Accessibility of the built environment: The Act covers many digital products and important services, but not the built environment that surrounds them. This means that many products and services will remain inaccessible, even if they comply with the Accessibility Act. It is paramount that the EAA includes the built environment. We therefore call for a mandatory provision on the built environment in the final text.
- Accessibility of urban transport: Accessible urban transportation is essential. Millions of Europeans rely on public transport to lead their daily lives. They use it to get to work, to go to the hospital, to meet friends. Persons with disabilities need to have the same right. They need to have the same access.
To read the open letter in full click here