Legislative Framework for E-Accessibility

The 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe calls for addressing challenges related to website accessibility and online services for persons with disabilities.[1] With emphasis on providing help and training to ensure inclusion and active participation of persons with disabilities, the Agenda urges continual evaluation of legislation to ensure compliance with CRPD. All new websites have to be in compliance with WCAG 2.0-AA. This was followed, in 2016, by a directive by the European Union on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public-sector bodies,[2] in line with WCAG guidelines, to improve accessibility to public-sector websites and e-government mobile apps for persons with disabilities.

A recent report by the European Disability Forum[3] analyses the accessibility of parliament websites of European Union member States and other European websites. Results show that only three sites had an accessibility rating above the industry average, while over 89 per cent of websites were rated with poor accessibility structures.

The 2019 European Accessibility Act, which sets out accessibility requirements for products and services to make the European Union fully accessible to persons with disabilities, covers a wide range of products such as general purpose computers, tablets, laptops and their operating systems, payment terminals, automated teller machines (ATMs), airport ticketing and check-in machines, handheld devices, IP and smart televisions, and electronic readers. It also covers a number of services such as telecommunication, video streaming, web-based mobile apps, kiosks, and e-commerce services.