12 April 2019
Source: European Blind Union
After over three years of legislative work, the European Accessibility Act (EAA) passed its last hurdle. Today, the Council of the European Union approved the agreement of last November on this landmark EU legislation on accessibility of goods and services. The European Parliament had already done so on 13 March. What is in fact a directive now needs to be put into national law and European standards.
“A new chapter on the EAA begins today: the implementation”, states Wolfgang Angermann, President of the European Blind Union (EBU). “It is crucial that all EU Member States take this phase very seriously, to ensure that the EAA delivers on its promise of more accessible products and services for 30 million blind and partially sighted Europeans.”
EU countries have three years to turn most of the provisions of the EAA into national law. In parallel, the European Commission will specify the accessibility requirements and develop standards to support the implementation. EBU will accompany this critical work to advance the interests of blind and partially sighted consumers.
The EAA tasks EU countries to ensure that a wide palette of goods and services on the European market are accessible. This includes computers and smartphones, ticket and check-in machines, routers and TV sets, ATMs and banking services, emergency communications, ecommerce and TV applications as well as e-readers and e-books. EBU has lobbied for a strong and comprehensive EAA since 2015.
Vision UK is delighted with this news having worked with colleagues in the European Coalition for Vision to influence the act it is brilliant to see it adopted and it will hopefully make a significant improvement to the lives of blind and partially sighted people across Europe.