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Parliamentary questions
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26 September 2017
Answer given by Ms Gabriel on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-004813/2017

The eGovernment Action Plan, which is part of the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, sets out principles for the design of digital public services(1). One of them is Digital by Default: Public administrations should deliver services digitally as the preferred option. But it should still keep other channels open for those who are disconnected by choice or necessity. Another principle is Inclusiveness and Accessibility: Public administrations should design digital public services that are inclusive by default and cater for different needs such as those of the elderly and people with disabilites.

In the DSM mid-term review(2), a Digital Government for Citizens Charter was announced. Its aim is to outline how the principles of the eGovernment Action Plan will help citizens save time, money and effort and improve the quality of interactions with public administrations.

EU consumer protection rules apply both to online and offline trade. Article 7 of Directive 2011/83/EU(3) ensures that, as regards off-premises contracts, consumers receive from the trader the relevant information on paper, or if the consumer agrees, on another durable medium, before being bound by the contract. Article 5(3) of Directive 2005/29/EC(4) protects particularly vulnerable consumers against unfair commercial practices(5).

Moreover, accessibility is one of the priorities of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. Major progress was achieved with the adoption of the directive on web accessibility in 2016.(6) The Commission also proposed a European Accessibility Act(7) which harmonises accessibility requirements for a number of products and services and which will foster the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in society and the labour market.

Furthermore, the Upskilling Pathways initiative(8), as part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, will help people with poor basic skills, including digital skills.

(3)Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32011L0083
(4)Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1503578806504&uri=CELEX:32005L0029
(5)See further information in the Commission Guidance on the application of Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair commercial practices, SWD(2016)163 of 25.5.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/justice/consumer-marketing/files/ucp_guidance_en.pdf
(6)Directive on web accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.327.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2016:327:TOC
(7)COM(2015) 615 final: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2014.356.01.0110.01.ENG

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