With the growing number of internet users, accessibility laws are also starting to catch up in the digital sphere. What are the web accessibility laws you need to know in Europe? Find out more about the EAA– the European Accessibility Act.

Key Takeaways

What is EAA?

The EAA or European Accessibility Act was passed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (EU) in April 2019. This aims to improve the accessibility of products and services in the internal market, allowing for a more inclusive society.

Who benefits from the EAA?

7 in 10 Europeans believe that people with disabilities (PWDs), the elderly, and others with accessibility needs would have their lives improved with better accessibility to products and services.

PWDs are defined by the UN CRPD as people with physical, mental, and intellectual or sensory impairments that affect their daily interactions, limiting them from a “full and effective” participation in society. The EAA also benefits those referred to as ‘persons with functional limitations,’ such as elderly persons, pregnant women, or persons traveling with luggage.

What does the EAA cover?

The act is a massive step towards improving accessibility in the EU. It covers the following products and services:

Who needs to follow the EAA?

The EAA mainly applies to all public sectors, including government websites and apps operated by the state, regional, and local authorities.

Although this is the case, private companies should also take steps to make their website accessible to people with disabilities. Companies from the private sector that work with European government agencies through their products or services need to ensure that they comply with accessibility standards.

When was the EAA implemented?

The road to creating an equal and accessible digital sphere for PWDs can be dated back to the early 2000s. Some of the noted milestones include the following:

Important Deadlines to Take Note of:

Private companies are given until June 28, 2025, to comply with the requirements of EAA.

What does the EU Web Accessibility Directive require?

The regulations for the EU Web Accessibility are found in EN 301 549 produced by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The EN 301 549 document directly refers to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) for further clarifications in ensuring an optimum level of web accessibility.

While the WCAG is meant to serve as a minimum level of compliance, the European Commission (as of December 2018) indicated some requirements for the member states to have:

The EU has done massive steps to improve the lives of all its member states, most specifically the usage of the internet. With the EAA in place, public and private sectors should have a proactive approach to ensuring their websites are accessible in accordance with WCAG. Start ensuring that your website is compliant with Access-A-Pal.