Parliamentary question - P-004813/2017(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Ms Gabriel on behalf of the Commission

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.