On the 6th of March, EUD, as well as various members from its Belgian member organisations Fevlado and FFSB, participated in a protest regarding the European Accessibility Act (EAA) organised by the European Disability Forum (EDF) in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.
The objective of the protest was to raise awareness in the European Parliament about the disability community’s strong interest in the adoption of an ambitious EAA. This draft directive that is currently being discussed in the European Parliament and the Council would, once adopted, set accessibility requirements for economic operators to make certain categories of products and services accessible for all, including for persons with disabilities.
Members of different Belgian-based disability and social policy organisations as well as other people interested in the topic participated in the protest. Various speakers from different organisations, including EUD, EDF, as well as several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) took the floor to highlight the European Parliament’s and the Council’s responsibility in creating a strong act that will create a more accessible Europe. Unfortunately, we have been hearing voices in the European Parliament who are trying to weaken the scope of the proposed act. EUD director Mark Wheatley took the floor to highlight the importance of an accessible Europe to allow persons with disabilities, including deaf persons, to enjoy their right to freedom of movement.
The protest took place immediately before a meeting of the Internal Market committee of the European Parliament, the committee responsible for the EAA. Many protest participants joined the meeting to listen to the discussions, demonstrating their interest in this draft directive. EUD, as well as several other disability organisations, used the opportunity for an informal discussion outside of the meeting room with the rapporteur for the act, MEP Morten Løkkegaard, on the scope and the details of the act.
We believe that this protest has send a strong message to the MEPs present in the committee meeting, showcasing how crucial this act and a more accessible Europe are for all European citizens, including persons with disabilities and deaf persons.
We will continue following the policy-making process and making our voices heard for a strong European Accessibility Act.