European Accessibility Act

European Disability Forumfrom European Newsletter - Spring 2016

The European Disability Forum (EDF) is an independent NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities. EDF is a unique platform which brings together representative organisations of persons with disabilities from across Europe.

EDF welcomes the publication of the long awaited Accessibility Act by the European Commission. It is of key importance that the Accessibility Act takes the form of a Directive.

After almost five years of campaigning EDF welcomes the proposal for a European Accessibility Act (“Accessibility Act”). It confirms the European Commission’s commitment to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities in the EU and it follows the recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“The Committee”) in September 2015. The Accessibility Act was one of the three issues that the Committee asked for follow-up on within one year.

It is important to keep in mind that the main purpose of the proposed Accessibility Act is to align and harmonize the Member States’ legislation concerning accessibility. Incorporating accessibility in national legislation is already a legal obligation for the Member States that have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). According to Article 9 CRPD “States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communication, including information and communication technologies systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public”. The EU is thus helping the Member States to fulfil their obligations by harmonizing those rules to avoid fragmentation of the Internal Market of the EU.

The full version of Accessibility Act can be found on: http://www.edf-feph.org/Page_Generale.asp?DocID=13855&thebloc=34403