On 03.05.2016, negotiators of the European Parliament reached an informal deal with the Council and the European Commission on the first EU-wide rules to make public sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications accessible for persons with disabilities. About 80 million EU citizens who have a disability are prevented from accessing data and services on the Internet, as many websites lack adequately adapted content for the deaf and the hard of hearing, the blind as well as for persons with low vision and with functional disabilities.
The Directive will set out minimum conditions for accessibility and it requires regular monitoring and reporting of the sites and apps’ accessibility by Member States. We regret however that public broadcasters’ websites are excluded from this directive. This is why it is crucial to work on the revision of the Audio-visual Media Service Directive and the proposal of the European Accessibility Act to make sure that audio-visual content is accessible for deaf and hard of hearing persons.
EUD has collaborated with EDF on the advocacy work that led to this agreement. The objective of EUD’s advocacy was to provide information about the importance of harmonised web accessibility requirements for deaf and hard of hearing persons and to allay concerns about the contents of the draft directive.
Following this political agreement, the text will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Then it will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will officially enter into force. Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.
Further information (in all official EU languages) can be found here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1654_en.htm