On the 20th of May EUD joined the webinar hosted by the European Disability Forum (EDF) and Facebook in lieu of the Global Awareness Accessibility Day (GAAD) to discuss the European Accessibility Act (EAA) as currently we are halfway through the time allocated for the EU countries to transpose the EAA into their national laws.
The topic of advancing ICT accessibility through the transposition of the EAA was presented by Stein Erik Skotkjerra, Digital Accessibility Expert at Inklusio. Mr Skotkjerra opened discussion on how to promote accessibility for persons with disabilities in the EU and whether the EAA is enough. Furthermore, Mr Skotkjerra argued that accessibility can be a driver of innovation. He provided examples of voice-recognition devices and captioning for deaf or hard of hearing, each of these examples originated in accessibility and assistive technologies space, but now has become part of the norm and are considered as innovative technologies.
During the panel discussions, each presenter provided individual insights on to how to ensure an equal access for persons with disabilities, through technology in digital services. The panel discussion also addressed the impact of COVID-19 on the transposition of the EAA as the pandemic accelerated the process of digital transformation. Throughout the event, the topic of accessibility was perceived as a human right as well as a tool to achieve independent living for persons with disabilities. Johan Keetelaar, Head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Connectivity and Access Policy of Facebook argued that technology is constantly evolving, and that it is important for regulations to work in parallel with the technology.
Having a strong and ambitious transposition of the EAA is important for the deaf community, EUD reminds that National Associations of the Deaf must take action on the national level to ensure that the transposition of the EAA is effective and the national laws correctly implement the requirements of the Accessibility Act.
You can find further information about the event here.