Key European Union Actions and Milestones

In 2017, a directive was adopted by the European Union to enshrine the Marrakesh Treaty in European Union law, which allows blind, visually impaired, or print-disabled people to access more books and other print material in formats that are accessible to them, with a mandatory exception for copyright and related rights.[1]

  1. Switzerland published a government standard on digital accessibility, which is based on the WCAG 2.1 guidelines and inspired by the e-accessibility directive of the European Union.[2]
  2. On 6 July 2020, the United Kingdom released a report on the latest accessibility testing of more than 800 local authority websites and public-sector sites in preparation for the newer version of e-accessibility guidelines to take effect in September 2020.[3]
  3. The European Commission funds research and innovation for the development of new technologies to enhance the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities and to inspire independence and autonomous use of information technology. These technologies include applications based on artificial intelligence (AI), sensor technologies, machine learning, 3D games, and virtual reality.[4]

However, European Union countries face a number of obstacles and challenges related to technological and quality issues. The existence of multiple standards, diverse platforms and services, even within a country, is a real challenge that hinders the adoption of common accessibility standards. Furthermore, the diversity of spoken languages makes implementation of audiovisual services hard to achieve. In addition, the high cost of technology is seen as a major obstacle facing the European Union.