Regarding the lack of accessibility of information and communication in International Sign of the EU’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
20 March 2020
On the 11th of February we celebrate the European Emergency number 112 day. This year, the 112 day is particularly special for the deaf community since it’s the first 112 day after the official adoption of the recast European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), which brought considerable improvements for deaf end-users and other end-users with disabilities, regarding the accessibility of emergency communications and the single European emergency number 112.
The recast European Electronic Communications Code was officially adopted in December 2018. This was a final stage of the legislative procedure on the European level. Now Member States have to transpose and implement this law into their national laws by 21 December 2020.
The recast EECC obliges Member States to ensure that emergency services, including the single European emergency number 112, are equally accessible to end-users with disabilities, in particular deaf, hearing-impaired, speech-impaired and deaf-blind end-users in accordance with the upcoming European Accessibility Act, which is foreseen to be officially adopted this year. Member States must ensure that the competent authorities specify requirements to be met by providers of publicly available electronic communications services to ensure that end-users with disabilities have access to electronic communications services on an equal basis with the majority of end-users and benefit from the choice of services available to the majority of end-users.
Moreover, the EECC aims to ensure interoperability across Member States and obliges the European Commission and the national regulatory or other competent authorities to take appropriate measures to ensure that, whilst travelling in another Member State, end-users with disabilities, including deaf users, can access emergency services on an equivalent basis with other end-users, where feasible without any pre-registration.
Member States are also obliged to ensure that end-users are adequately informed about the existence and the use of the single European emergency number 112, as well as its accessibility features, including through initiatives specifically targeting persons travelling between Member States and end-users with disabilities. Such information must be provided in accessible formats.
EUD highlights that all these legal obligations now need to be transposed and implemented into national laws of the EU Member States. While the European Disability Forum is preparing a toolkit for transposition, which EUD will make available for NADs in International Sign, EUD remains at the disposal of all NADs to provide advice and support with regards to national advocacy work for a strong transposition of the directive into national law.
The full text of the EECC in all EU languages:
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