One step closer to the European Accessibility Act!
After three years of tough discussions, two steps forward and one step back, the European Parliament and the Council finally agreed Thursday 8 November on a preliminary statement on the European Commission's proposal for a European Accessibility Act. This does not mean that the directive is neither done nor decided. But, the likelihood that the law will actually be published this year has risen dramatically.
At the same time, disabled persons organisations describe the law as a bad compromise. It is true that many important parts are not included. But that said, the legislation is still an extension of the digital accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities from applying only to websites, intranets and apps in the public sector, state and municipal companies to also cover parts of the private sector.
Nothing is finished until it is signed and published, but the products and services that the law is expected to include are:
- Computers and operating systems
- ATMs and ticket machines
- TV service and equipment
- Telephone service and associated equipment
The agreed text is not yet published and there may still be changes. Among other things, the extent to which micro enterprises* are covered by the regulations and how the accessibility of emergency calls are to be handled.
There are still some formal steps left: the agreement will be presented to the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee, (Coreper) for approval and then the Parliament’s Internal Market Committee must confirm. After that, the draft directive will be voted on by the European Parliament and, if the vote is a yes, the Council will make the final adoption.
We certainly live in exciting times.
*) The EU defines micro enterprises as companies that meet two of the following three criteria and do not fail to do so for at least 10 years:
- fewer than 10 employees
- balance sheet total below 2 million EURO
- turnover below 2 million EURO.