Subject files

ALL SUBJECT FILES

The European Accessibility Act

IMCO 10-05-2019 - 10:38
combination of 4  pictures of blind people, disabled people, etc.

In December 2015 the EC proposed a European Accessibility Act, namely a Directive introducing rules for more accessible products and services for people with disabilities. After about 3 years of negotiations the EP and the Council came to an agreement in November 2018. The European Accessibility Act was approved by the EP (with 613 votes to 23, with 36 abstentions) in March 2019 and in April 2019 by the Council. The Act will be soon published in the EU Official Journal and come into force.

Member States will then have three years to introduce the new provisions into their national laws, and six years to apply them. Transitional periods are foreseen for specific situations.

The new rules provide that key products and services, such as smartphones, tablets or PCs, ATMs, e-books, ticketing machines and other payment terminals, banking and e-commerce services are required to be made accessible to people with disabilities. Microenterprises will be exempted from some obligations. The rules are expected also to foster more innovation for accessible products and services and improve the daily lives of millions of people with disabilities and elderly people.

Accessibility requirements for the surrounding built environment such as ramps, doors or staircases, currently vary across the EU. In order to make the built environment progressively more accessible, EU countries are encouraged to align the relevant requirements in accordance to what the Act provides.