"It is not acceptable that millions of European citizens are left behind in the digital society. The agreement that we have just reached will ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps, to participate in society to a fuller extent and to lead a more independent life." - Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society
What You Need to Know
- Around 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability.
- As the EU population ages, the figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020.
- A common approach to ensure web accessibility will contribute to an inclusive digital society and to unlocking the benefits of the Digital Single Market, for all European citizens.
Brussels May 3 2016
The Directive will cover public sector bodies' websites and mobile apps, from administrations, courts and police departments to public hospitals, universities and libraries. It will make them accessible for all citizens - in particular for the blind, the hard of hearing, the deaf, and those with low vision and with functional disabilities.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, welcomed the agreement: "Internet access should be a reality for everyone. Leaving millions of Europeans behind is not an option. Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."
The agreed text of the Directive:
covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming).
refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. For example, such standards foresee that there should be a text for images or that websites can be browsed without a mouse which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities.
requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive on web accessibility along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services, are both part of the efforts of the Commission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society.
May 4, 2016 - Euractiv.com
Web accessibility will now be the law of the land in Europe