Currently, the proposal for the European Accessibility Act, a European law that has the potential to improve the accessibility of products and services sold in the EU, is at a crucial stage of negotiations in the European Parliament.
EUD, together with EDF and other European disability actors, has been advocating so that an ambitious Act is adopted. But there are other actors influencing the negotiations, including industry representatives and Member States, who are hesitant to introduce such strong rules and are attempting to have a weaker act.
Views within the European Parliament vary as well - between those who believe that accessibility is expensive for industry and a “burden” and those who are fighting for a strong act and better accessibility in Europe.
Unfortunately, the responsible Member of Parliament (MEP) wrote a disappointing report, weakening important aspects of the proposed law. We need to contact our allies in the Parliament now to make sure that it adopts a strong act that will significantly improve the availability and price of accessible products and services for persons with disabilities and implement the right of access to all areas of live, as determined by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
You can help us and explain to your Members of European Parliament why the Accessibility Act is important.
- What use are accessibility requirements (contained in annex I), for example on audio-visual media services, if they are formulated in such a vague way (not mentioning concrete access services, such as subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing as well as sign language interpretation), that they do not clearly explain how manufacturers and service providers can make sure their products and services are accessible for all?
- Why should the definition of beneficiaries of the directive be limited to persons with disabilities, while there is a large part of Europe’s population with functional limitations (be it long-term, temporary or situational) or simply a growing number of elderly persons who could benefit tremendously from a more accessible society? (AMs 2, 44, 75, 107, 108, etc.)
- What use is the obligation to provide accessible products and services, if consumers have no right to ask for a recall of products or services that are not compliant with the Act? (AM 49)
EDF has written extensive suggestions for amendments to the draft report. Please contact your MEP and explain to him/her why it is important for them as your political representatives to support these changes. You can find some of the core arguments in this summary document written by EDF. You can also use this EDF model letter to translate it in your own language.
You can find contact details of MEPs from your country on the website of the European Parliament. Click on the map or use the search function by country, and find the e-mail address and phone number on the right hand side of the profile.
Please contact your MEPs before 8 February 2017, which is the official deadline to make amendments for the text.