More accessible products, services for disabled people

The European Accessibility Act, approved by the EP would help 80m people in the EU that live with a disability

MEP Morten Lokkegaard

Key products and services, such as smartphones, ATMs, ticketing machines and banking services, will be made more accessible to people with disabilities after yesterday's approval of the European Accessibility Act (EAA) by the EU Parliament. It was adopted with 613 votes to 23, with 36 abstentions on Wednesday.

Aiming to improve the daily lives of disabled and elderly people, while also opening the door for more innovation, the new directive, provisionally agreed with the Council in November, sets out requirements to make a number of products and services more accessible.

“These long-awaited rules will make a big difference not only to the millions of citizens with disabilities, but also to a lot more people, such as elderly persons. A disabled person will soon be able to use self-service machines and everyday products such as computers, phones and e-books," MEP Morten Lokkegaard, who steered this legislation through Parliament, said.

In her statement he also stressed that through the new rules European businesses will have more opportunities, as well, since MEPs were able to include public procurement in the Act and to introduce provisions that will unburden microenterprises.

Accessibility requirements, for example with regard to ramps, doors, public toilets and staircases, currently vary across EU countries. In order to make the built environment progressively more accessible to disabled persons, Member States are also encouraged to align their requirements as much as possible. 

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