Procedure : 2012/0340(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0460/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0460/2013

Debates :

PV 25/02/2014 - 17
CRE 25/02/2014 - 17

Votes :

PV 26/02/2014 - 9.11

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2014)0158

REPORT     ***I
PDF 457kWORD 679k
12 December 2013
PE 513.011v02-00 A7-0460/2013

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

(COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD))

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Rapporteur: Jorgo Chatzimarkakis

AMENDMENTS
DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

(COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2012)0721),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0394/2012),

-   having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 22 May 2013(1),

–   after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0460/2013),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment  1

Proposal for a directive

Title

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Proposal for a Directive OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

Proposal for a Directive OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites and websites operated by entities performing public tasks

Amendment  2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) The trend towards a digital society provides users with new ways of accessing information and services. The providers of information and services, such as public sector bodies, rely increasingly on the Internet in order to produce, collect and provide a wide range of information and services online, which are essential to the public.

(1) The trend towards a digital society provides users with new ways of accessing information and services. The providers of information and services, such as public sector bodies, rely increasingly on the Internet in order to produce, collect and provide a wide range of information and services online, which are essential to the public. In that respect, the security of transmission of information and the protection of personal data are of great importance.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques to be observed when constructing websites in order to render the content of these websites accessible to all users, in particular people with functional limitations, including persons with disabilities. The content of websites includes textual as well as non-textual information, and also the downloading of forms and two-way interaction, e.g. the processing of digital forms, authentication, and transactions like case handling and payments.

deleted

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2a) Web accessibility, specifically a commitment to make all public websites accessible by 2010, was included in the Riga Ministerial Declaration of 11 June 2006 on e-Inclusion.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2b) Although this Directive does not apply to websites of Union institutions, those institutions should comply with the requirements contained in this Directive and set out an example of good practice.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) The Commission's eGovernment Action Plan 2011-201519 calls for action to develop eGovernment services that ensure inclusiveness and accessibility.

(3) The Commission Communication of 15 December 2010 entitled ‘eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 Harnessing ICT to promote smart, sustainable & innovative Government’ calls for action to develop eGovernment services that ensure inclusiveness and accessibility. At the same time, more efforts are needed for the effective implementation of the e-Inclusion policy, which aims to reduce gaps in information and communication technology (ICT) usage and to promote the use of ICT to overcome exclusion, and to improve economic performance, employment opportunities, quality of life, social participation and cohesion, including democratic consultations.

________________

 

19 COM(2010) 743 final – Not published in the Official Journal

 

Amendment  7

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In its Communication ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’20 the Commission announced that public sector websites should be fully accessible by 2015.

(4) In its Communication of 19 May 2010 entitled ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’, a Europe 2020 initiative, the Commission announced that public sector websites (and websites providing basic services to citizens) should be fully accessible by 2015.

__________________

 

20 COM(2010) 245 final/2

 

Amendment  8

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4a) Elderly people are at risk of digital exclusion, due to factors such as lack of ICT skills and access to the Internet. The European i2010 initiative on e-Inclusion "To be part of the information society" seeks to ensure that all groups of users should have the best possible opportunities to use the Internet and to become familiar with ICTs. The Digital Agenda for Europe proposes a series of measures to promote the use of the new ICTs by disadvantaged groups of users such as elderly people.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6a) In accordance with the UN Convention, the universal design approach should serve as a basis for the development of new technologies.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a directive

Recital 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7) The European Disability Strategy 2010-202023 builds on the UN Convention and contains actions in several priority areas, including web accessibility, with the objective to ensure accessibility to goods and services including public services and assistive devices for people with disabilities.

(7) The Commission Communication of 15 November 2010 entitled ‘European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe’, which aims to break down the barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in society on an equal basis, builds on the UN Convention and contains actions in several priority areas, including web accessibility, with the objective "to ensure accessibility to goods and services including public services and assistive devices for people with disabilities.

___________________

 

23 COM( 2010) 636 final - Not published in the Official Journal

 

Amendment  11

Proposal for a directive

Recital 8 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8a) The European Parliament resolution of 25 October 201124a stresses that innovative and knowledge-based economies cannot develop without accessible content and forms for people with disabilities governed by binding legislation, such as accessible websites for the blind and subtitled content for the hard of hearing, including mass media services, online services for people using sign language, smart phone applications and tactile and vocal aids in public media.

 

__________________

 

24a European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2011 on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 9).

Amendment  12

Proposal for a directive

Recital 8 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8b) The Digital Agenda for Europe stresses that positive action to help persons with disabilities to access cultural content is key to the full enjoyment of Union citizenship and calls for full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Digital Access for persons with disabilities. The production of documents, such as reports, books and legislative acts, made available on public websites in such a way as to make them fully accessible, could make a major contribution towards meeting that objective and promote the development of skills and service providers within the Union, alongside the support for the private sector that has been called for with a view to encouraging investment in that area.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a directive

Recital 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(9) The fast growing web-accessibility market comprises a range of economic operators such as those developing websites or software tools to create, manage and test web pages, developing user agents such as web browsers and related assistive technologies, implementing certification services and training providers.

(9) The fast growing web accessibility market comprises a range of economic operators such as those developing websites or software tools to create, manage and test web pages, developing user agents such as web browsers and related assistive technologies, implementing certification services and training providers and integrated social media feeds on websites. In this respect, the efforts made in the framework of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, which is a follow-up to the Employment Package and which addresses ICT specialists and aims to respond to the skills gaps, including literacy and working skills in the ICT sector, are of great importance.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a directive

Recital 11 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(11a) The guarantee of net neutrality is essential for public sector bodies' websites to remain accessible now and in the future, and for the Internet to be open.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a directive

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13) The approximation of national measures at Union level, based on an agreement on accessibility requirements for public sector bodies' websites, is necessary in order to put an end to fragmentation. It would reduce uncertainty for web-developers and would foster interoperability. By using accessibility requirements which are technology neutral, innovation will not be hampered and may possibly even be stimulated.

(13) The approximation of national measures at Union level, based on an agreement on accessibility requirements for public sector bodies' websites and for websites operated by entities performing public tasks is necessary in order to put an end to fragmentation. It would reduce uncertainty for web-developers and would foster interoperability. Member States should encourage the use of adequate and interoperable accessibility requirements when putting contracts for website contents out to tender. Technology neutral accessibility requirements will not hamper innovation and may possibly even stimulate them.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a directive

Recital 14

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14) A harmonised approach should also allow Union public sector bodies and enterprises to gain economic and social benefits from extending the provision of on-line services to include more citizens and customers. This should increase the potential of the internal market for web-accessibility products and services. The resulting market growth should allow undertakings to contribute to economic growth and jobs creation within the Union. Strengthening the internal market should make investment in the Union more attractive. Governments should benefit from cheaper provision of web-accessibility.

(14) A harmonised approach should also allow Union public sector bodies and enterprises to gain economic and social benefits from extending the provision of on-line services to include more citizens and customers. This should increase the potential of the internal market for web accessibility products and services and further the completion of the digital single market. The resulting market growth should allow undertakings to contribute to economic growth and jobs creation within the Union. Strengthening the internal market should make investment in the Union more attractive. Governments should benefit from cheaper provision of web accessibility.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a directive

Recital 15

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(15) Citizens should benefit from wider access to online public sector services and should receive services and information which will facilitate the enjoyment of their rights across the Union, notably their right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Union and their freedom of establishment and to provide services.

(15) Citizens should benefit from wider access to online public services, be able to access news, cultural and entertainment content enabling them to play a full part in social and working life, and should receive services and information which will facilitate their daily lives and the enjoyment of their rights across the Union, notably their right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Union, their right of access to information and their freedom of establishment and to provide services.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a directive

Recital 15 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(15a) Online services play an increasingly important role in society. The Internet is a key tool for access to information and education and for engaging in society. Therefore, in the interests of social inclusion, there should be universal accessibility to public sector bodies' websites, as well as to websites providing basic services for the public, e.g. to important news pages and media libraries, banking services (online banking) and interest group information and services.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a directive

Recital 18 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(18a) It should be possible for the public authorities of the Member States to require certain websites to be carried on servers within the Union in order to prevent spying by parties outside the Union or leaks of information and to ensure that parties outside the Union cannot close down services which are important on security grounds.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a directive

Recital 19

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(19) The Directive should aim at ensuring that certain types of public sector bodies' websites that are essential to the public are made accessible. Such types were identified in the 2001 E-government benchmarking exercise25 and have been used as a basis for the list in the Annex.

(19) This Directive should aim at ensuring that all public sector bodies' websites and websites operated by entities performing public tasks that are essential to the public are made fully accessible to persons with disabilities so that they are enabled to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life as stated in the UN Convention. The types of websites operated by entities performing public tasks to be covered by this Directive should be listed in the Annex. The deadlines for complying with the requirements laid down in this Directive should be staggered so that its scope can be widened to include all public sector bodies’ websites providing services directly to the public.

_________________

 

25 http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/egovernment-indicators-benchmarking-eeurope

 

Amendment  21

Proposal for a directive

Recital 20

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(20) This Directive lays down web-accessibility requirements for certain types of public sector bodies' websites. In order to facilitate the conformity of websites concerned with those requirements it is necessary to provide presumption of conformity for the websites concerned that meet harmonised standards that are drawn up and published in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Standardisation, amending Council Directives 89/686/EEC and 93/15/EEC and Directives 94/9/EC, 94/25/EC, 95/16/EC 97/23/EC, 98/34/EC, 2004/22/EC, 2007/23/EC, 2009/23/EC and 2009/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Decision 87/95/EEC and Decision No 1673/2006/EC, for the purpose of expressing detailed technical specifications for those requirements. Pursuant to this Regulation, Member States and the European Parliament shall be able to object to the harmonised standards which they consider that do not entirely satisfy the web accessibility requirements laid down in this Directive.

(20) This Directive lays down web accessibility requirements for all public sector bodies' websites and for websites operated by entities performing public tasks. In order to facilitate the conformity of websites concerned with those requirements it is necessary to provide presumption of conformity for the websites concerned that meet harmonised standards that are drawn up and published in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council25a for the purpose of expressing detailed technical specifications for those requirements. Pursuant to that Regulation, Member States and the European Parliament shall be able to object to the harmonised standards which they consider that do not entirely satisfy the web accessibility requirements laid down in this Directive.

 

_____________

 

25a Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of 25 October 2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Standardisation, amending Council Directives 89/686/EEC and 93/15/EEC and Directives 94/9/EC, 94/25/EC, 95/16/EC 97/23/EC, 98/34/EC, 2004/22/EC, 2007/23/EC, 2009/23/EC and 2009/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Decision 87/95/EEC and Decision No 1673/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, p. 12 ).

Amendment  22

Proposal for a directive

Recital 21 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(21a) In the preparation and potential future revisions of the relevant European and harmonised standards, the responsible European Standardisation Organisations should be strongly encouraged to ensure coherence with the relevant international standards (currently ISO/IEC 40500), in order to avoid any fragmentation and legal uncertainty.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a directive

Recital 24

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(24) The conformity with web-accessibility requirements should be continuously monitored from the initial construction of the public sector bodies' website to all subsequent updates of its content. A harmonised monitoring methodology would cover a way of verifying, on a uniform basis in all Members States, the degree of compliance of the website with the requirements for web-accessibility, the collection of representative samples and the periodicity of the monitoring.. Member States should report annually on the outcome of the monitoring and more generally on the list of actions taken in application of this Directive.

(24) The conformity with web accessibility requirements should be continuously monitored from the initial construction of the website concerned to all subsequent updates of its content. Designating a competent authority in each Member State as the enforcement body, would be an adequate way to ensure that the conformity with web accessibility requirements is monitored and rigorously enforced, with close involvement of stakeholders through the setting up of a complaint mechanism in identified cases of non-compliance. A harmonised monitoring methodology would cover a way of verifying, on a uniform basis in all Members States, the degree of compliance of the website concerned with the requirements for web accessibility, the collection of representative samples and the periodicity of the monitoring. Member States should report every two years on the outcome of the monitoring and more generally on the list of actions taken in application of this Directive.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a directive

Recital 24 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(24a) The first methodology used to monitor the compliance of the websites concerned with the requirements for web accessibility on a continuous basis should be adopted by means of implementing acts no later than a year after the entry into force of this Directive.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a directive

Recital 25

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(25) In a harmonised framework, the web-developers industry should face fewer barriers to operate in the internal market, while costs for governments and others procuring web-accessibility products and services should be reduced.

(25) In a harmonised framework, the web development industry should face fewer barriers to operate in the internal market, while costs for governments and others procuring web accessibility products and services should be reduced, which would contribute to economic growth and employment.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a directive

Recital 26

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(26) In order to ensure that the websites concerned are made accessible in accordance with the requirements for web-accessibility laid down by this Directive, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission to specify further, where appropriate, these requirements and to determine the European standard or parts thereof which, in the absence of harmonised standards, would provide presumption of conformity with the web-accessibility requirements for the websites concerned which meet such standard or parts thereof. It is of particular importance that the Commission carries out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council.

(26) In order to ensure that the websites concerned are made accessible in accordance with the requirements for web accessibility laid down by this Directive and to ensure that those requirements are clear and understandable for the stakeholders involved in its implementation, including external web developers and in-house staff of public sector bodies and other entities performing public tasks, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission to provide further details, where appropriate, concerning those requirements, without modifying them and to determine the European standards or parts thereof which, in the absence of harmonised standards, would provide presumption of conformity with the web accessibility requirements for the websites concerned which meet such standard or parts thereof. It is of particular importance that the Commission carries out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a directive

Recital 28

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(28) Since the objective of this Directive, namely, the establishment of a harmonised market for the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, because it requires the harmonisation of different rules currently existing in their respective legal systems and can, therefore, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective,

(28) Since the objective of this Directive, namely, the establishment of a harmonised market for the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites and websites operated by entities performing public tasks cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, because it requires the harmonisation of different rules currently existing in their respective legal systems but can rather, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective. Adopting a harmonised approach to web accessibility throughout the Union would cut costs for website development companies and therefore also for the public bodies that use their services. In future, access to information and services provided via websites will be increasingly important for the public in exercising their fundamental rights, including access to employment.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. This Directive aims at approximating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States related to the accessibility of the content of public sector bodies' websites to all users, in particular people with functional limitations including persons with disabilities.

1. This Directive aims to approximate the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States in relation to the accessibility to all users of the content of public sector bodies' websites and websites operated by entities performing public tasks to the public, in particular to persons with disabilities and elderly persons.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1a. According to the UN Convention, persons with disabilities include those having long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. It lays down the rules according to which Member States shall make accessible the content of websites belonging to public sector bodies, the types of which are specified in the Annex.

2. It lays down the rules according to which Member States shall make accessible:

 

(a) the functionality and content of websites belonging to public sector bodies; and

 

(b) the functionality and content of websites operated by other entities performing the types of public tasks specified in Annex Ia.

 

Member States may extend the application of this Directive beyond the types of public tasks specified in Annex Ia.

Amendment  31

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Member States may extend the application of this Directive to other types of public sector websites than those referred to in paragraph 2.

3. Member States shall be encouraged to extend the application of this Directive to other types of websites than those referred to in paragraph 2.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

3a. Member States may decide not to apply this Directive to microenterprises as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC27a if they perform the types of public tasks specified in Annex Ia.

 

_____________

 

27a Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (OJ L 124, 20.5.2003, p. 136).

Amendment  33

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point -1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1a) ‘Public sector body’ means the State, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law as defined in Article 1(9) of Directive 2004/18/EC, and associations formed by one or several such authorities or one or several such bodies governed by public law.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point -1 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1b) 'Websites belonging to public sector bodies' means websites developed, procured, maintained or co-financed by public sector bodies or co-financed by Union funds.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point -1 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1c) ‘Websites operated by entities performing public tasks’ means websites operated by entities performing the types of public tasks specified in Annex Ia.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) ‘Websites concerned’ means those referred to in Article 1(2) of this Directive.

(1) ‘Websites concerned’ means all versions of those websites, referred to in Article 1(2), including those designed to be accessed from a mobile device or by any other means. If an application designed by the owners of a website offers services connected to the website, this definition also applies to such an application.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) ‘Content of websites’ means information to be communicated to the user by means of a user agent, including code or mark-up that defines the content's structure, presentation, and interactions.

(2) ‘Content of websites’ means information and user interface components to be communicated to the user by means of a user agent, including code or mark-up that defines the content's structure, presentation, and interactions. Content of websites includes textual and non-textual information, the possibility to download documents and forms as well as two-way interaction such as the processing of digital forms and the completion of authentication, identification and payment processes. It also includes functions provided through websites, which are external to the website concerned, for instance, through the use of web links, on the condition that the external website is the only means by which the information or service is provided to the user. Content of websites also includes user-generated content and, whenever technically possible, social media, when that is embedded within a website. It includes not only the parts of the website concerned offering a specific service, but the entire website related to it.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. 'Authoring tool' means any web-based or non-web-based application that can be used by authors (alone or collaboratively) to create or modify web content for use by other authors or end users.

Amendment  39

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) ‘User agent’ means any software that retrieves and presents web contents for users, including web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs that help in retrieving, rendering, and interacting with web content.

(3) ‘User agent’ means any software that retrieves and presents web contents for users, including web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs that help in retrieving, rendering, and interacting with web content, regardless of the type of device used to interact with content, including mobile devices.

Amendment  40

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3a) 'Web accessibility' means principles and techniques to be observed when constructing websites concerned in order to render the content of those websites accessible to all users, in particular persons with disabilities and elderly persons. Web accessibility refers in particular to principles and techniques that enhance users' perception, navigation, operation, interaction and understanding, and includes the use of assistive technology or augmentative and alternative communication.

Amendment  41

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 3 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3b) 'Assistive technology' means any hardware or software that acts as a user agent or along with a mainstream user agent to provide functionality to meet the requirements of users with disabilities that go beyond those offered by mainstream user agents. This includes alternative presentations, alternative input methods, additional navigation or orientation mechanisms, and content transformations.

Amendment  42

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 3 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3c) 'Universal design' means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design, as defined in the UN Convention. It shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.

Amendment  43

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) ‘Public sector body’ means the State, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law as defined in Article 1 (9) of Directive 2004/18/EC, and associations formed by one or several such authorities or one or several such bodies governed by public law.

deleted

Amendment  44

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) in a consistent and adequate way for users' perception, operation and understanding, including adaptability of content presentation and interaction, when necessary, providing an accessible electronic alternative;

(a) in a consistent and adequate way for users' autonomous perception, navigation, operation, interaction, readability and understanding, including adaptability of content presentation, when necessary, providing an accessible electronic alternative;

Amendment  45

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) in a way which facilitates interoperability with a variety of user agents and assistive technologies at Union and international level.

(b) in a way which ensures interoperability with a broad variety of user agents and assistive technologies at Union and international level;

Amendment  46

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ba) through a universal design approach.

Amendment  47

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Member States shall apply the provisions of paragraph 1 by 31 December 2015 at the latest.

deleted

Amendment  48

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 8, to specify further, where appropriate, the requirements for web-accessibility referred to in paragraph 1.

3. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 8, to provide further details, where appropriate, concerning the requirements for web accessibility referred to in paragraph 1, without modifying the requirements.

Amendment  49

Proposal for a directive

Article 5 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. As long as the references of the European standards referred to in paragraph 1 have not yet been determined, the websites concerned that meet the parts of the ISO/IEC 40500: 2012 covering the Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements for Level AA conformance, shall be presumed to be in conformity with the web-accessibility requirements set out in Article 3.

3. As long as the references of the European standards referred to in paragraph 1 have not yet been determined, the websites concerned that meet the international technical standard WCAG 2.0. covering the Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements for Level AA conformance, shall be presumed to be in conformity with the web accessibility requirements set out in Article 3(1).

Amendment  50

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Member States shall promote that the websites concerned provide a statement on their accessibility, in particular on their compliance with this Directive and with possibly additional accessibility information in support to users.

1. Member States shall ensure that the websites concerned provide a clear and concise statement on their accessibility, in particular on their compliance with this Directive, including information on the degree of compliance with web accessibility requirements related to live audio content, and with possibly additional accessibility information to support users in assessing the degree of accessibility of the websites concerned. That information shall be provided in accessible format.

 

1a. The Commission shall establish a model statement on accessibility by means of implementing acts. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 9(2).

Amendment  51

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Member States shall take measures to facilitate the application of the web-accessibility requirements as defined in Article 3 to all public sector bodies' websites beyond those concerned, in particular, to public sector bodies' websites covered by existing national laws or relevant measures on web-accessibility.

2. Member States shall take measures to facilitate the application of the web accessibility requirements set out in Article 3(1) to all websites beyond those concerned, in particular, to websites covered by existing national laws or relevant measures on web accessibility.

Amendment  52

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. Member States shall promote and support web accessibility training programmes for relevant stakeholders, including staff of public sector bodies and entities performing public tasks, to create, manage and update web pages, including their content.

Amendment  53

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2b. Member States shall take the necessary measures to raise awareness of the web accessibility requirements set out in Article 3(1), their benefits to users and website owners and of the possibility to lodge complaints in cases of non-compliance with the requirements of this Directive, as set out in Article 7a.

Amendment  54

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 2 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2c. Member States shall take the necessary measures to promote the use of authoring tools that support the achievement of the objectives of this Directive.

Amendment  55

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Member States shall support appropriate mechanisms for consultations on web- accessibility with relevant stakeholders and make public any developments in web-accessibility policy together with the experiences and findings from the implementation of conformity of web-accessibility requirements.

3. Member States shall support appropriate mechanisms for consultations on web- accessibility with relevant stakeholders and organisations representing the interests of people with disabilities and of the elderly, and make public any developments in web accessibility policy together with the experiences and findings from the implementation of conformity of web accessibility requirements.

Amendment  56

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. Member States shall cooperate at Union level with industry and civil society stakeholders, with facilitation by the Commission, in order to review, for the purpose of the annual reporting referred to in Article 7(4), market and technological developments and progress in web-accessibility and to exchange best practices.

4. Member States shall cooperate, at national and Union level, with relevant social partners, industry and civil society stakeholders, with facilitation by the Commission, in order to review, for the purpose of the reporting referred to in Article 7b, market and technological developments and progress in web accessibility and to exchange best practices.

Amendment  57

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 4 a(new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

4a. Member States shall take the nesessary measures to ensure that the relevant social partners participate in the development and application of the training programmes and awareness-raising schemes, referred to respectively in paragraphs 2a and 2b.

Amendment  58

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – title

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Monitoring and reporting

Monitoring

Amendment  59

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1a. The Commission shall establish an expert group to meet at least every two years, upon the Commission's invitation, in order to discuss the results of the monitoring, to exchange best practices regarding the implementation of this Directive and to assess the need for any additional specifications of the web accessibility requirements as defined in Article 3(1). That expert group shall consist of governmental and private experts, including relevant stakeholders, including elderly persons, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

Amendment  60

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Member States shall report annually on the outcome of the monitoring carried out according to paragraph 4 including the measurement data and, where appropriate, the list of the websites referred to in Article 1(3).

deleted

Amendment  61

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. This report shall also cover the actions conducted pursuant to Article 6.

deleted

Amendment  62

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. The Commission establishes, by way of implementing acts, the methodology for the monitoring of the conformity of the websites concerned with the requirements for web-accessibility as set out in Article 3. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 9(3). The methodology will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

4. The Commission shall establish, by way of implementing acts, the methodology for the monitoring of the conformity of the websites concerned with the requirements for web accessibility as set out in Article 3(1). That methodology shall be transparent, transferable, comparable and reproducible and it shall be prepared in close consultation with relevant industry and civil society stakeholders including, in particular, representative organisations of persons with disabilities. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 9(3). The first methodology shall be adopted by ...*. The methodology will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

 

____________

 

* OJ: Please insert: one year after the entry into force of this Directive.

Amendment  63

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 5 – point b a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ba) in accordance with methodology of research which combines experts analysis with user experience, including users with disabilities.

Amendment  64

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

6. The arrangements for reporting by Member States to the Commission shall be established by the Commission by way of implementing acts. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 9(2).

deleted

Amendment  65

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 7a

 

Enforcement body

 

1. Member States shall designate a competent authority (enforcement body) responsible for enforcing the compliance of the websites concerned with the requirements for web accessibility set out in Article 3(1). Member States shall ensure that, to the extent possible, the designated competent authority cooperates closely with relevant stakeholders, including elderly persons, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

 

2. Member States shall ensure that the designated competent authority has the necessary human and financial resources to fulfil the following tasks:

 

(a) monitor compliance of the websites concerned with the requirements for web accessibility, as set out in Article 7;

 

(b) set up a complaint mechanism to enable any natural or legal person to notify any failures to comply with the requirements for web accessibility of the websites concerned; and

 

(c) examine any complaints lodged.

 

3. Member States may assign responsibility for the implementation of additional measures as set out in Article 6 to the enforcement body.

 

4. Members States shall inform the Commission about the designated enforcement body by ...* .

 

_____________

 

* OJ: Please insert: date of transposition.

Amendment  66

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 7b

 

Reporting

 

1. Member States shall report to the Commission every two years on the outcome of the monitoring carried out in accordance with Article 7 including in relation to the measurement data and, where appropriate, the list of the websites referred to in Article 1(3).

 

2. That report shall also cover the measures adopted pursuant to Article 6 including possible general conclusions drawn by relevant enforcement bodies on the basis of the monitoring.

 

3. That report shall be made public in readily accessible formats.

 

4. The arrangements for reporting by Member States to the Commission shall be established by means of implementing acts. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 9(2).

Amendment  67

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 7c

 

Amendment of Annex I a

 

7c. In order to take account of technological progress, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 8, to amend Annex Ia.

Amendment  68

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 d (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 7d

 

Penalties

 

Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that the penalties are implemented. The penalties provided for shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

 

Member States shall notify those provisions to the Commission by 30 June 2014 and shall notify it without delay of any subsequent amendment affecting them.

Amendment  69

Proposal for a directive

Article 10 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1a. Member States shall apply the measures referred to in Article 3(1) for all new content of websites concerned by 1 January 2015 and for all existing content of websites concerned by 1 January 2017.

Amendment  70

Proposal for a directive

Article 10 – paragraph 1 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1b. The application deadlines set out in paragraph 1a shall be extended by two years as regards the requirements for web accessibility related to live audio content.

Amendment  71

Proposal for a directive

Article 11

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Commission shall carry out a review of the application of this Directive within three years from its entry into force.

On the basis of Member States' reports referred to in Article 7b, the Commission shall carry out a review of the application of this Directive, in particular Annex Ia thereof, within ...* and shall make the findings of that review public.

 

_______________

 

* OJ: Please insert: two years from the date of entry into force of this Directive.

Amendment  72

Proposal for a directive

Annex

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Types of public sector bodies' websites

deleted

(as referred to in Article 1(2)

 

(1) Income taxes: declaration, notification of assessment

 

(2) Job search services by labour offices

 

(3) Social-security benefits: unemployment benefits, child allowances, medical costs (reimbursement or direct settlement), student grants.

 

(4) Personal documents: passports or driving license

 

(5) Car registration

 

(6) Application for building permission

 

(7) Declaration to police, e.g. in case of theft

 

(8) Public libraries, e.g. catalogues and search tools

 

(9) Request and delivery of birth or marriage certificates

 

(10) Enrolment in higher education or university

 

(11) Notification of change of residence

 

(12) Health-related services: interactive advice on the availability of services, online services for patients, appointments.

 

Amendment  73

Proposal for a directive

Annex I a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Annex Ia

 

Types of public tasks referred to in point (b) of Article 1(2)

 

(1) Network services: gas, heat, electricity and water services; postal services; electronic communication network and services;

 

(2) Transport-related services;

 

(3) Basic banking and insurance services (including at least the following: basic payment account, home contents and building insurance, life insurance and medical insurance);

 

(4) Primary, secondary, higher and adult education;

 

(5) Statutory and complementary social security schemes covering the main risks of life (including at least those linked to health, ageing, occupational accidents, unemployment, retirement and disability);

 

(6) Health-related services;

 

(7) Childcare services;

 

(8) Other essential services provided directly to the public to facilitate social inclusion and safeguard fundamental rights;

 

(9) Cultural activities and tourist information.

(1)

OJ C 19.9.2013, p. 116.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Introduction

Information and services are increasingly delivered online in the digital age. The quantity of public and private sector websites is therefore growing rapidly. Today, there are already over 761.000 public sector websites offering access to information and services alone. However, currently less than 10% of websites in the EU are accessible according to web-accessibility standards.

The EU market for web-accessibility consists of more than 175.000 companies. The turnover generated by some 1 million people working in the web developing industry is estimated at some EUR 144 billion. The economic impact for the EU as well as the large gap that exists with non-accessible websites makes web-accessibility a lucrative business in the social area with significant potential for growth and inclusiveness. Thus, web-accessibility can further develop the Single Market and extensively make services available to all EU citizens.

Web-accessibility is vital as it makes websites usable to all people, including those with disabilities. Public sector bodies and any entities providing basic services to the public must adopt the inclusive practice of web-accessibility to fulfil their responsibility towards all citizens.

Policy background

Many efforts have been made so far by EU institutions to stimulate progress and improve web-accessibility: the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020; the eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015; the Digital Agenda for Europe, EU-funding programmes to support R&D on technological web-accessibility solutions. Moreover, the revision of the Public Procurement Directives contains references to web-accessibility. Member States have committed themselves to improve the accessibility of public websites in general. In particular, the Riga ministerial declaration indicated that all public websites should be accessible by 2010.

Although Member States have already enacted legislation or taken other measures on web- accessibility, there are still barriers in the Internal Market caused by the significant differences in national approaches that exist across Europe.

The Commission’s proposal

Against this backdrop, the Commission presented a proposal for a directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites (COM (2012) 721). In this draft directive, specific technical provisions are laid down whereby Member States shall make accessible the content of certain types of websites of public sector bodies (which provide information and services that are essential for citizens' participation in the economy and society). The Directive aims at approximating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites, by defining harmonised requirements.

The rapporteur’s view

The Rapporteur welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a directive and its recognition of the need to harmonise national measures for the public sector at EU level in order to end fragmentation and lack of confidence in the web-accessibility market.

In spite of supporting the aims of the draft directive, the Rapporteur takes the view that the measures proposed by the Commission are neither sufficient nor far-reaching enough to effectively move towards the completion of the Single Market. Also he is aware that access to information is only the first of many barriers that people with disabilities in particular face in their everyday lives. He therefore concludes, in this draft report, to extend the scope of the directive and implement additional measures in the field of monitoring, reporting and enforcement which would allow addressing the existing deficiencies in the text.

Subject and matter of scope

Article 1 defines the scope of the directive and refers to a list of twelve types of websites of public sector bodies, which according to the 2001 eGovernment benchmarking exercise are essential for public participation in the economy and society. However, the listed types of websites are not exhaustive and do not cover the vast majority of public services and basic services to the public.

The European Commission refers to a 'hypothetical spill over’ effect for other websites to be made accessible by public sector bodies. The rapporteur is concerned that the ‘spill over’ mechanism would not bring the desired effect as it relies on voluntary compliance. This strategy has not been demonstrated to work and is not supported by evidence.

Consequently, the rapporteur seeks to close the gap between the Commission's approach and the rapidly changing information and communication reality of today. He suggests that all public sector bodies' websites be included in the scope of the directive and be gradually implemented at national, regional and local level by 2020. Furthermore, a restricted number of websites of basic services to the public provided by other entities should also be included and implemented by 2020.A list of the types of websites operated by entities providing basic services to the public is included in the annex.

The new scope would reflect the binding obligations set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the commitments in the Digital Agenda for Europe to promote digital inclusion and confidence in the market for barrier-free access.

Definitions

The definitions proposed by the Commission do not reflect significant technological developments. Online information and services are increasingly obtained by handheld mobile devices as opposed to desktop computers. Mobile devices, as well as mobile web applications designed by the website owners are becoming the preferred user agents. Therefore, the definitions on ‘website concerned’, ‘website content’ and ‘user agents’ in article 2 of the directive must explicitly acknowledge this fact.

Furthermore, the rapporteur suggests to strengthen the definition of 'website content' and to include in particular functions provided through websites, which are external to the website of the public body or entity in question, to be covered by the scope only if the external website is the only means by which the information and service is provided to the user.

Requirements for web-accessibility

The rapporteur supports an ambitious approach and therefore seeks to 'enable' interoperability of public sector bodies' websites as well as websites of basic services to the public provided by other entities with other user agents. Enabling interoperability is essential to people who use assistive technology to access those websites.

Monitoring and reporting

Article 7 defines the monitoring and reporting obligation of Member States regarding regular updates of web content. The underlying methodology should be established by the Commission in close consultation with relevant industry and civil society stakeholders and be based on transparent, transferrable and representative principles. The rapporteur proposes two separate articles on monitoring and reporting in order to ensure clear distinction between the two obligations and better legibility.

The rapporteur welcomes the Commission's introduction of continuous monitoring. Member States shall designate a competent authority responsible for monitoring which shall be responsible for following up any complaints lodged by website users or other interested parties about failures to comply with the requirements for web-accessibility of the websites concerned.

In the interest of transparency, the monitoring mechanism shall furthermore foresee an open data mechanism, wherein Member States make their report on the outcome of the monitoring carried out public. In this context, a working group consisting of Commission representatives and representatives appointed by the Member States shall meet regularly at invitation of the Commission to further discuss the results of the monitoring and exchange best practices.

The rapporteur acknowledges the subsidiarity principle, wherein significant implementation parameters are left to the discretion of Member States. Hence, Member States shall take all measures to establish an effective enforcement mechanism laying down the rules on effective and proportionate sanctions applicable to infringements of the national provisions. Member States shall notify those provisions to the Commission by 30 June 2014.

Delegated acts

The European Commission requests to be empowered to adopt delegated acts to specify, where appropriate, the harmonised requirement for web-accessibility, as laid down in article 3.

The rapporteur is concerned that by changing the requirements in article 3, the core of the directive would be changed. For this reason, he recommends restricting the use of power to adopt delegated acts only to certain situations and purposes without modifying the requirements themselves.


OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (14.10.2013)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

(COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD))

Rapporteur: Tamás Deutsch

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) The trend towards a digital society provides users with new ways of accessing information and services. The providers of information and services, such as public sector bodies, rely increasingly on the Internet in order to produce, collect and provide a wide range of information and services online, which are essential to the public.

(1) The trend towards a digital society provides users with new ways of accessing information and services. The providers of information and services, such as public sector bodies, rely increasingly on the Internet in order to produce, collect and provide a wide range of information and services online, which are essential to the public. In this respect, the security of transmission of information and the protection of personal data are of great importance.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques to be observed when constructing websites in order to render the content of these websites accessible to all users, in particular people with functional limitations, including persons with disabilities. The content of websites includes textual as well as non-textual information, and also the downloading of forms and two-way interaction, e.g. the processing of digital forms, authentication, and transactions like case handling and payments.

deleted

Amendment  3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) The Commission's eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 calls for action to develop eGovernment services that ensure inclusiveness and accessibility.

(3) The Commission's eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 calls for action to develop eGovernment services that ensure inclusiveness and accessibility. At the same time, more efforts are needed for the effective implementation of the e-Inclusion policy, which aims at reducing gaps in ICT usage and promoting the use of ICT to overcome exclusion, and improve economic performance, employment opportunities, quality of life, social participation and cohesion, including democratic consultations.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In its Communication ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’ the Commission announced that public sector websites should be fully accessible by 2015.

(4) For the Implementation of ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe, a Europe 2020 initiative, the Commission announced that public sector websites and websites providing services of general interest to cititzens should be fully accessible by 2015.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4a) It is highly important to increase synergies between flagships initiatives such as “Digital Agenda for Europe”, “New skills and jobs”, “Innovation Union”, “Youth on the move”, “Resource-efficient Europe” and “European Platform Against Poverty and Exclusion".

Amendment  6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) The Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme support research on and the development of technological solutions to accessibility problems.

(5) The Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme support research on and the development of technological solutions to accessibility problems whereas within the Framework Programmes 6 and 7 the Commission has been funding research into Free/Libre and Open Source software (FOSS).

Amendment  7

Proposal for a directive

Recital 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7) The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 builds on the UN Convention and contains actions in several priority areas, including web accessibility, with the objective "to ensure accessibility to goods and services including public services and assistive devices for people with disabilities."

(7) The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which aims to break down the barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in society on an equal basis, builds on the UN Convention and contains actions in several priority areas, including web accessibility, with the objective "to ensure accessibility to goods and services including public services and assistive devices for people with disabilities."

Amendment  8

Proposal for a directive

Recital 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(9) The fast growing web-accessibility market comprises a range of economic operators such as those developing websites or software tools to create, manage and test web pages, developing user agents such as web browsers and related assistive technologies, implementing certification services and training providers.

(9) The fast growing web-accessibility market comprises a range of economic operators such as those developing websites or software tools to create, manage and test web pages, developing user agents such as web browsers and related assistive technologies, implementing certification services and training providers. In this respect, of a great importance are the efforts made in the framework of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, which is a follow-up to the Employment Package, and addresses ICT specialists and aims to respond to the skills gaps, including literacy and working skills, in the ICT sector.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a directive

Recital 12

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(12) Buyers of websites and related products and services are faced with high prices in service provision or dependence on a single supplier, due to limited competition. Suppliers often favour variations of proprietary 'standards', hindering later scope for interoperability of user agents, and Union-wide ubiquitous access to website contents. Fragmentation among national regulations reduces the benefits that could result from sharing experiences with national and international peers in responding to societal and technological developments.

(12) Buyers of websites and related products and services are faced with high prices in service provision or dependence on a single supplier, due to limited competition. Suppliers often favour variations of proprietary 'standards', hindering later scope for interoperability of user agents, and Union-wide ubiquitous access to website contents. Fragmentation among national regulations reduces the benefits that could result from sharing experiences with national and international peers in responding to societal and technological developments. Vendor lock-in can be avoided by requiring software suppliers to adhere to specific standards and by recommending that customers use software suppliers who publish the source code of their software, which would also prevent spying on public systems. Adopting the use of open-source software would make it possible for services and software ordered by a single Member State and rated as good to be duplicated in other Member States, and would also facilitate the joint development of software, which in turn would improve the interoperability of software, reduce production costs and improve quality. In addition, the publication of source code would promote competition and facilitate competitive tendering, as it would be possible to change service providers without any interruption in the use of services and without any need to completely renew the service. Duplication of public online services would also help to take into account people with disabilities and other special categories of user.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a directive

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13) The approximation of national measures at Union level, based on an agreement on accessibility requirements for public sector bodies' websites, is necessary in order to put an end to fragmentation. It would reduce uncertainty for web-developers and would foster interoperability. By using accessibility requirements which are technology neutral, innovation will not be hampered and may possibly even be stimulated.

(13) The approximation of national measures at Union level, based on an agreement on accessibility requirements for public sector bodies' websites as well as websites of bodies providing services of general interest to citizens for the public, is necessary in order to put an end to fragmentation. It would reduce uncertainty for web-developers and would foster interoperability. By using accessibility requirements which are technology neutral, innovation will not be hampered and may possibly even be stimulated.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a directive

Recital 16

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(16) The web–accessibility requirements defined in this Directive are technology neutral. They only indicate which basic functionalities have to be fulfilled for the user to perceive, operate or understand a site and its content. They do not specify how this has to be achieved or what technology should be selected for a particular site, on-line information or application. As such they do not hamper innovation.

(16) The web–accessibility requirements defined in this Directive are technology neutral. They only indicate which basic functionalities have to be fulfilled for the user to perceive, operate, understand and interact with a site and its content. They do not specify how this has to be achieved or what technology should be selected for a particular site, on-line information or application. As such they do not hamper innovation and account for permanent technological and societal dynamics concerning the use of web contents, e.g. the broadening utilization of hand-held devices.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a directive

Recital 17

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(17) Interoperability related to web-accessibility should be based on commonly adopted and used specifications that maximize the compatibility of the web-content with current and future user agents and assistive technologies. More specifically, web-content should provide user agents with a common internal coding of natural language, structures, relations, and sequences, as well as data of any embedded user-interface components. Interoperability thus benefits the users, allowing them to employ their user agents ubiquitously to access websites: they might also benefit from greater choice and reduced prices across the Union. Interoperability would also benefit the suppliers and buyers of web-accessibility related products and services.

(17) Interoperability related to web-accessibility should be based on commonly adopted and used specifications that maximize the compatibility of the web-content with current and future user agents and assistive technologies. More specifically, web-content should provide user agents with a common internal coding of natural language, structures, relations, and sequences, as well as data of any embedded user-interface components. Information available from online services should also be accessible through an open application programming interface (API). An open API will encourage the development of assistive technologies to promote the finding of information and encourage innovation by third parties. Interoperability thus benefits the users, allowing them to employ their user agents ubiquitously to access websites: they might also benefit from greater choice and reduced prices across the Union. Interoperability would also benefit the suppliers and buyers of web-accessibility related products and services.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a directive

Recital 18

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(18) As underlined in the Digital Agenda for Europe, public authorities should play their part in promoting markets for online content. Governments can stimulate content markets by making public sector information available under transparent, effective and non-discriminatory conditions. This is an important source of potential growth of innovative online services.

(18) As underlined in the Digital Agenda for Europe, public authorities should play their part in promoting markets for online content. Governments can stimulate content markets by making public sector information available under transparent, effective and non-discriminatory conditions. Thus public-sector information should be accessible independently of platform. It should also be ensured that public services operate on mobile devices, the number of which is increasing rapidly in the EU as the proportion of mouse-operated terminal devices declines. Equal treatment of different operating systems, browsers and devices is an important source of potential growth of innovative terminal and network technologies.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a directive

Recital 18 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(18a) It should be possible for the public authorities of the Member States to require appropriate websites to be carried on servers within the EU in order to prevent spying by parties outside the EU or leaks of information and to ensure that parties outside the EU cannot close down services which are important on security grounds.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a directive

Recital 19

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(19) The Directive should aim at ensuring that certain types of public sector bodies' websites that are essential to the public are made accessible according to common requirements. Such types were identified in the 2001 E-government benchmarking exercise25 and have been used as a basis for the list in the Annex.

(19) The Directive should aim at ensuring that public sector bodies' websites that are essential to the public are made fully accessible to persons with disabilities so that they are enabled to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life as stated in the UNCRPD. The identification of such websites should include websites providing services of general interest.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a directive

Recital 24

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(24) The conformity with web-accessibility requirements should be continuously monitored from the initial construction of the public sector bodies' website to all subsequent updates of its content. A harmonised monitoring methodology would cover a way of verifying, on a uniform basis in all Members States, the degree of compliance of the website with the requirements for web-accessibility, the collection of representative samples and the periodicity of the monitoring.. Member States should report annually on the outcome of the monitoring and more generally on the list of actions taken in application of this Directive.

(24) The conformity with web-accessibility requirements should be continuously monitored from the initial construction of the public sector bodies' website to all subsequent updates of its content. A harmonised monitoring methodology would cover a way of verifying, on a uniform basis in all Members States, the degree of compliance of the website with the requirements for web-accessibility, the collection of representative samples and the periodicity of the monitoring. Member States should report annually on the outcome of the monitoring and more generally on the list of actions taken in application of this Directive. Those reports should be made available to the public. The Commission should produce a summary of those reports and present it to the European Parliament and Council.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a directive

Recital 25

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(25) In a harmonised framework, the web-developers industry should face fewer barriers to operate in the internal market, while costs for governments and others procuring web-accessibility products and services should be reduced.

(25) In a harmonised framework, the web-developers industry should face fewer barriers to operate in the internal market, while costs for governments and others procuring web-accessibility products and services should be reduced, which would contribute to economic growth and employment.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a directive

Recital 27

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(27) In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of the relevant provisions of this Directive, implementing powers should be conferred to the Commission. The examination procedure should be used for the definition of the methodology that Member States should use for monitoring the conformity of the websites concerned with those requirements. The advisory procedure should be used for the determination of the modalities according to which Member States should report to the Commission on the result of this monitoring. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by the Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers.

(27) In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of the relevant provisions of this Directive, implementing powers should be conferred to the Commission. The examination procedure should be used for the definition of the methodology that Member States should use for monitoring the conformity of the websites concerned with those requirements. The advisory procedure should be used for the determination of the modalities according to which Member States should report to the Commission on the result of this monitoring. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by the Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers. Special attention should be paid to the composition of the advisory committee with regard to the participation of representatives of persons with disabilities and elderly persons.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. This Directive aims at approximating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States related to the accessibility of the content of public sector bodies' websites to all users, in particular people with functional limitations including persons with disabilities.

1. This Directive aims at approximating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States related to the accessibility of the content of public sector bodies' websites to all users, in particular people with functional limitations including persons with disabilities, as well as for elderly persons.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1a. According to the UNCRPD, persons with disabilities include those having long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which - in interaction with various barriers - may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. It lays down the rules according to which Member States shall make accessible the content of websites belonging to public sector bodies, the types of which are specified in the Annex.

2. It lays down the rules according to which Member States shall make accessible the content of websites belonging to public sector bodies, including those which provide services of general interest and those specified in the annex.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

1a. Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques to be observed when constructing websites in order to render the content of these websites accessible to all users, including persons with disabilities, as well as for elderly persons. The content of websites includes textual as well as non-textual information, and also the downloading of forms and two-way interaction, e.g. the processing of digital forms, authentication, and transactions like case handling and payments.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) Public sector body’ means the State, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law as defined in Article 1 (9) of Directive 2004/18/EC, and associations formed by one or several such authorities or one or several such bodies governed by public law.

(8) 'Public sector body' refers to the Union institutions in the Member States (e.g. the Commission Representation in the Member States and the European Parliament Information Office for the Member States) and the state, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law as defined in Article 1 (9) of Directive 2004/18/EC, and associations formed by one or several such authorities or one or several such bodies governed by public law and bodies providing services of general interest and/or general economic interest.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 8 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8a) In this context, ‘terminal device’ means any device by means of which it is possible to use a user agent as referred to in this directive.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 8 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8b) In this context, ‘mobile devices’ means portable terminal devices which can be controlled without a separate mouse.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 8 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8c) ‘Vendor lock-in’ means a situation in which it is so difficult for a customer to change service provider that he can be regarded as being dependent on his service provider, who for his part can exploit the relationship of dependence by raising prices very high before it is worthwhile for the customer to consider changing service providers.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – point 8 d (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8d) In this context, ‘platform independence’ means – within the bounds of reason – the possibility to use an online service by means of any operating system on any terminal device and with the aid of any browser. In practice, therefore, a platform-independent service adheres to standards and does not, for example, require browser extensions which are available only with certain browsers or operating systems.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) in a consistent and adequate way for users’ perception, operation and understanding, including adaptability of content presentation and interaction, when necessary, providing an accessible electronic alternative;

(a) in a consistent and adequate way for users’ perception, operation and understanding, including persons with disabilities, and for elderly persons, as well as the adaptability of content presentation and interaction;

Justification

Websites should be rendered in a way that makes them accessible to all users in order to make sure that all users can refer to the same content.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) in a way which facilitates interoperability with a variety of user agents and assistive technologies at Union and international level.

(b) in a way which facilitates interoperability with a broad variety of user agents, devices and assistive technologies at Union and international level. Different operating systems, browsers and devices must be treated equally. Public-sector websites should be accessible independently of platform and by means of mobile devices.

Justification

Increasing utilization of hand-held devices question a traditional pc, screen, keyboard and mouse setting.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 8, to specify further, where appropriate, the requirements for web-accessibility referred to in paragraph 1.

3. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 8, to specify further, where appropriate, the requirements for web-accessibility referred to in paragraph 1, which shall go in line with principles of technology neutrality and facilitate the use and development of FOSS.

Justification

In order to ensure high interoperability as referred to in paragraph 1 and to meet the specific requirements on user side it is necessary to foster the development of a platform independent solution which does not prefer a certain technology, patent or vendor. Web accessibility to all users shall not demand users to use a certain software environment, to purchase certain devices or regularly upgrade their configurations for the revenue of companies. Accessible web contents must not create social barriers by rising additional expenses for some of the users or create unnecessary lock-in effects which might place new barriers as well. The facilitation of FOSS encourages platform independence, activates communities and FOSS engaged companies and therefore ensures a dynamic and quick adaptation to technical changes and a great variety of adaptations which mirrors the needs of the public. A demand for FOSS does not inflict damage on the principles of technology neutrality as it is a matter of licensing and not of a certain technology.

Amendment  31

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Member States shall support appropriate mechanisms for consultations on web- accessibility with relevant stakeholders and make public any developments in web-accessibility policy together with the experiences and findings from the implementation of conformity of web-accessibility requirements.

3. Member States shall support appropriate mechanisms for consultations on web- accessibility with relevant stakeholders and organisations representing the interests of people with disabilities and of the elderly, and make public any developments in web-accessibility policy together with the experiences and findings from the implementation of conformity of web-accessibility requirements.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. Member States shall cooperate at Union level with industry and civil society stakeholders, with facilitation by the Commission, in order to review, for the purpose of the annual reporting referred to in Article 7(4), market and technological developments and progress in web-accessibility and to exchange best practices.

4. Member States shall cooperate at Union level with industry, social partners and civil society stakeholders, with facilitation by the Commission, in order to review, for the purpose of the annual reporting referred to in Article 7(4), market and technological developments and progress in web-accessibility and to exchange best practices. A particular attention should be granted to the competitiveness of companies in the sector, especially of SMEs, so as no extra burdens are imposed on their functioning.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

4a. Member States may require appropriate websites to be hosted on servers within the Union, on security grounds.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Member States shall report annually on the outcome of the monitoring carried out according to paragraph 4 including the measurement data and, where appropriate, the list of the websites referred to in Article 1(3).

2. Member States shall report annually on the outcome of the monitoring carried out according to paragraph 4 including the measurement data and, where appropriate, the list of the websites referred to in Article 1(3). Those reports shall be made available to the public.

Amendment 35

Proposal for a directive

Article 8 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The powers to adopt the delegated acts referred to in Article 3 and 5 shall be conferred for an indeterminate period of time from the date of entry into force of this Directive.

2. The powers to adopt the delegated acts referred to in Article 3 and 5 shall be conferred for a period of five years from the date of entry into force of this Directive.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

1. The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. Persons with disabilities, the elderly, and their representative organisations shall be involved in the advisory committee to examine any future specifications in the requirements for web-accessibility. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a directive

Article 11 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Commission shall carry out a review of the application of this Directive within three years from its entry into force.

The Commission shall carry out a review of the application of this Directive within three years from its entry into force and shall make the findings of this review public.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – heading 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Types of public sector bodies' websites

List of Websites concerned

Amendment  39

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) Social-security benefits: unemployment benefits, child allowances, medical costs (reimbursement or direct settlement), student grants.

(3) Social-security benefits: unemployment benefits, child allowances, medical costs (reimbursement or direct settlement), student grants, housing benefits, disability benefits, transport benefits, etc.; social services and institutions;

Amendment  40

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) Personal documents: passports or driving license

(4) Personal documents: passports or identity cards, driving license and other documents issued by authorities, as well as documents certifying professional training or skills

Amendment  41

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7a) Reporting incidents of fire to the authorities

Amendment  42

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 7 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7b) Agencies concerned with fundamental rights (e.g. anti-discrimination bodies, authorities, law courts, ombudsmen, etc.)

Amendment  43

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) Public libraries, e.g. catalogues and search tools

(8) Public libraries, e.g. catalogues and search tools, national museums and galleries

Amendment  44

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(10) Enrolment in higher education or university

(10) Enrolment in higher education or university, supported schools and vocational trainings, educational bodies and institutions

Amendment  45

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 12

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(12) Health-related services: interactive advice on the availability of services, online services for patients, appointments.

(12) Health-related services: emergency medical care, interactive advice on the availability of services, online services for patients, appointments.

Amendment  46

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 12 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12a) Websites for target audiences with disabilities and the elderly

Amendment  47

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 12 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12b) Calls for tenders and proposals for relevant Union funds, national and local grants

Amendment  48

Proposal for a directive

Annex 1 – point 12 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12c) Public transport

Amendment  49

Proposal for a directive

Annex – paragraph 13 (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(13) Public information

Amendment  50

Proposal for a directive

Annex – paragraph 14 (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14) 112 Emergency services

PROCEDURE

Title

Accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites

References

COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

10.12.2012

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

EMPL

10.12.2012

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Tamás Deutsch

17.1.2013

Discussed in committee

19.6.2013

 

 

 

Date adopted

10.10.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

37

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Heinz K. Becker, Phil Bennion, Pervenche Berès, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Philippe Boulland, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Marije Cornelissen, Emer Costello, Andrea Cozzolino, Frédéric Daerden, Karima Delli, Sari Essayah, Marian Harkin, Stephen Hughes, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Ádám Kósa, Jean Lambert, Patrick Le Hyaric, Olle Ludvigsson, Thomas Mann, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Csaba Őry, Konstantinos Poupakis, Sylvana Rapti, Licia Ronzulli, Elisabeth Schroedter, Nicole Sinclaire, Jutta Steinruck, Ruža Tomašić, Traian Ungureanu, Andrea Zanoni

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Kinga Göncz, Anthea McIntyre, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Csaba Sógor


OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education (17.10.2013)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

(COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD))

Rapporteur: Zoltán Bagó

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Web-accessibility is of great importance for public sector bodies, as it gives them the possibility to reach citizens, and to fulfil their public responsibilities. Unfortunately, the non-harmonised national approaches to create barriers in the Internal Market.

The Commission's Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites proposes a harmonised European approach to lay down requirements for certain types of public sector bodies.

The rapporteur welcomes and fully supports the Commission's intention to promote approximation of national measures and reduce uncertainty for web-developers. He thinks all users should benefit from wider access to online public sector services - including audiovisual content of the websites. In this context, he thinks it is necessary to pay particular attention to the ageing population in the European Union, an ever increasing category of citizens, as well as to people with disabilities. Careful consideration should, in his view, be given to avoiding "Digital exclusion" of these groups.

He welcomes the fact that the current proposal demonstrates a genuine political will to implement in practical terms the commitments of the United-Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). He regrets, though, that the proposal covers only 12 types of public sector bodies' websites and that education and cultural activities are insufficiently covered in the Commission's proposal, despite the fact that these sectors have great significance in citizens' life. Therefore the rapporteur thinks it is necessary to add these types of websites to the Annex.

The rapporteur believes that further actions will still be needed to widen the scope of the proposal, and to ensure the accessibility of all websites and web-based services of public sector bodies.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques to be observed when constructing websites in order to render the content of these websites accessible to all users, in particular people with functional limitations, including persons with disabilities. The content of websites includes textual as well as non-textual information, and also the downloading of forms and two-way interaction, e.g. the processing of digital forms, authentication, and transactions like case handling and payments.

(2) Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques to be observed when constructing websites in order to render the content of these websites accessible to all users, including persons with disabilities and elderly people. The content of websites includes textual as well as non-textual information, and also the downloading of forms and two-way interaction, e.g. the processing of digital forms, authentication, and transactions like case handling and payments.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4a) Elderly people are at risk of digital exclusion, due to factors such as lack of information and communication technologies (ICT) skills and access to Internet. The EU programme ‘E-Inclusion’ seeks to ensure that all groups of users should have the best possible opportunities to use the Internet and to become familiar with information and communication technologies. The Digital Agenda for Europe proposes a series of measures to promote the use of the new ICTs by disadvantaged groups of users such as elderly people.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 8 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8a) The European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2011 on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-20201 stresses that innovative and knowledge-based economies cannot develop without accessible content and forms for people with disabilities governed by binding legislation, such as accessible websites for the blind and subtitled contents for the hard of hearing, including mass media services, online services for people using sign languages, smart phone applications and tactile and vocal aids in public media.

 

______________

 

1 OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 9.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 8 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8b) The Digital Agenda for Europe stresses that positive action to help people with a disability to access cultural content is key to full enjoyment of European citizenship and calls for full implementation of the memorandum of understanding on digital access for people with a disability. The production of documents, such as reports, books and legislative texts, made available on public sites in such a way as to make them fully accessible, can make a major contribution towards meeting this objective and promote the development of skills and service providers within the EU, alongside the support for the private sector that has been called for with a view to encouraging investment in this area.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 11 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(11a) The guarantee of net neutrality is essential for public sector websites to remain accessible now and in the future, and for the internet to be open.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13) The approximation of national measures at Union level, based on an agreement on accessibility requirements for public sector bodies' websites, is necessary in order to put an end to fragmentation. It would reduce uncertainty for web-developers and would foster interoperability. By using accessibility requirements which are technology neutral, innovation will not be hampered and may possibly even be stimulated.

(13) The approximation of national measures at Union level, based on an agreement on accessibility requirements for public sector bodies' websites, is necessary in order to put an end to fragmentation. It would reduce uncertainty for web-developers and would foster interoperability. By using accessibility requirements which are technology neutral and based on open standards, innovation will not be hampered and may possibly even be stimulated. In particular, non-proprietary international standards should be adopted, covering both content production and the means used to catalogue and identify content.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a directive

Recital 14

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14) A harmonised approach should also allow Union public sector bodies and enterprises to gain economic and social benefits from extending the provision of on-line services to include more citizens and customers. This should increase the potential of the internal market for web-accessibility products and services. The resulting market growth should allow undertakings to contribute to economic growth and jobs creation within the Union. Strengthening the internal market should make investment in the Union more attractive. Governments should benefit from cheaper provision of web-accessibility.

(14) A harmonised approach should also allow Union public sector bodies and enterprises to gain economic and social benefits from extending the provision of on-line services to include more citizens and customers. This should increase the potential of the internal market for web-accessibility products and services and further the completion of the digital single market. The resulting market growth should allow undertakings to contribute to economic growth and jobs creation within the Union. Strengthening the internal market should make investment in the Union more attractive. Governments should benefit from cheaper provision of web-accessibility.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a directive

Recital 15

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(15) Citizens should benefit from wider access to online public sector services and should receive services and information which will facilitate the enjoyment of their rights across the Union, notably their right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Union and their freedom of establishment and to provide services.

(15) Citizens should benefit from wider access to online public sector services and be able to access news and cultural and entertainment content enabling them to play a full part in social and working life, and should receive services and information which will facilitate their daily lives and the enjoyment of their rights across the Union, notably their right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Union, their right of access to information and their freedom of establishment and to provide services.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. This Directive aims at approximating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States related to the accessibility of the content of public sector bodies' websites to all users, in particular people with functional limitations, including persons with disabilities.

1. This Directive aims at approximating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States related to the accessibility of the content, including audiovisual content, of public sector bodies' websites to all users, including persons with disabilities and elderly people.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Member States may extend the application of this Directive to other types of public sector websites than those referred to in paragraph 2.

3. Member States may extend the application of this Directive to other types of public sector websites than those referred to in paragraph 2, including websites containing cultural content or educational, scientific and research information.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a directive

Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) in a way which facilitates interoperability with a variety of user agents and assistive technologies at Union and international level.

(b) in a way which facilitates interoperability on the basis of open standards with a variety of user agents and assistive technologies at Union and international level.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. Member States shall provide ICT solutions which are user friendly and intended for persons with disabilities and elderly people, and shall promote training and education to increase their digital knowledge.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a directive

Article 6 – paragraph 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

4a. Member States shall lay down penalties for failure by websites run by public bodies to comply with the accessibility requirements set out in this Directive.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Member States shall report annually on the outcome of the monitoring carried out according to paragraph 4 including the measurement data and, where appropriate, the list of the websites referred to in Article 1(3).

2. Member States shall report one year after the publication of this Directive and then every two years on the outcome of the monitoring carried out according to paragraph 4 including the measurement data and, where appropriate, the list of the websites referred to in Article 1(3).

Amendment  15

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. This report shall also cover the actions conducted pursuant to Article 6.

3. This report needs to be published and shall also cover the actions conducted pursuant to Article 6.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) Social-security benefits: unemployment benefits, child allowances, medical costs (reimbursement or direct settlement), student grants.

(3) Social-security benefits: unemployment benefits, child allowances, medical costs (reimbursement or direct settlement), student grants and retirement pensions

Amendment  17

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) Personal documents: passports or driving license

(4) Personal documents: passports, identity cards or driving license

Amendment  18

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) Application for building permission

(6) Application for building permission or declaration of building work

Amendment  19

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 9 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(9a) Public education

Amendment  20

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(10) Enrolment in higher education or university

(10) Enrolment in vocational and higher education or university plus enrolment for examinations

Amendment  21

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 10 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(10a) Entry to civil service competitions

Amendment  22

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 10 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(10b) Enrolment in primary or secondary education and in final examinations

Amendment  23

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 12 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12a) Cultural activities

Amendment  24

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 12 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12b) Public transport services

Amendment  25

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 12 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12c) Public postal services

Amendment  26

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 12 d (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12d) Public services providing information on election procedures

Amendment  27

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 12 e (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12e) Public energy provision services

Amendment  28

Proposal for a directive

Annex – point 12 f (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(12f) Public communication services

PROCEDURE

Title

Accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites

References

COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

10.12.2012

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

CULT

10.12.2012

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Zoltán Bagó

9.1.2013

Date adopted

17.10.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Zoltán Bagó, Silvia Costa, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Lorenzo Fontana, Mary Honeyball, Petra Kammerevert, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Martina Michels, Marek Henryk Migalski, Doris Pack, Monika Panayotova, Marco Scurria, Hannu Takkula, László Tőkés, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Iosif Matula, Mitro Repo

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Ioan Enciu, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy


PROCEDURE

Title

Accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites

References

COM(2012)0721 – C7-0394/2012 – 2012/0340(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

3.12.2012

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

10.12.2012

 

 

 

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

ECON

10.12.2012

EMPL

10.12.2012

ITRE

10.12.2012

TRAN

10.12.2012

 

REGI

10.12.2012

CULT

10.12.2012

LIBE

10.12.2012

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

ECON

14.1.2013

ITRE

17.12.2012

TRAN

17.12.2012

REGI

18.12.2012

 

LIBE

10.1.2013

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis

18.12.2012

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

21.3.2013

25.4.2013

7.5.2013

26.9.2013

 

27.11.2013

 

 

 

Date adopted

28.11.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

3

0

Members present for the final vote

Claudette Abela Baldacchino, Adam Bielan, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Birgit Collin-Langen, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, António Fernando Correia de Campos, Cornelis de Jong, Christian Engström, Evelyne Gebhardt, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Philippe Juvin, Toine Manders, Mitro Repo, Robert Rochefort, Heide Rühle, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Catherine Stihler, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Morten Løkkegaard, Claudio Morganti, Olga Sehnalová, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Rafał Trzaskowski, Wim van de Camp, Patricia van der Kammen

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Monika Panayotova

Date tabled

12.12.2013

Last updated: 19 February 2014Legal notice