The European Accessibility Act took effect on 27 June 2019, aiming to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services, by removing barriers created by divergent rules in Member States.
It aims to improve the experience of persons with disabilities and older people will benefit by ensuring:
- More accessible products and services are available in the market
- Accessible products and services at more competitive prices
- Fewer barriers when accessing transport, education and the open labour market
- More jobs available where accessibility expertise is needed
Products and services covered
The European accessibility act covers products and services that are important for persons with disabilities, which have also been found to be most likely to have diverging accessibility requirements across EU countries including:
- computers and operating systems
- ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines
- TV equipment related to digital television services
- telephony services and related equipment
- access to audio-visual media services such as television broadcast and related consumer equipment
- services related to air, bus, rail and waterborne passenger transport
- banking services
The legislation also allows national market surveillance bodies to be given the competence to hold private entities accountable. The requirements of the Act will also support public procurement rules for accessible products and services, so public authorities do not anymore use tax payers’ money in products, services and facilities that are discriminatory of persons with disabilities.
However, the Act does not include the accessibility of buildings or transport, nor does it cover household appliances. As such, a number of products and services may continue to be inaccessible to people with disabilities. Furthermore, microenterprises providing services are exempt from the requirements of the Act.
As a European Directive, Member States must be transposed into national regulations and legislation no later than 28 June 2022.
More information on the accessibility act can be found on the European Commission's website.