CITA at the conference on the European Accessibility ActDaniele D'Onofrio
Hosted by MEP Olga Sehnalová and organized by EDF together with the Disability Intergroup, the conference took place last 8th of November 2016 at the European Parliament, Brussels.
Key issue: the European Accessibility Act.
This act proposes to make many products and services in the Europe more accessible for persons with disabilities, including the transport sector. In fact, while many EU Member States already have some form of accessibility legislation, there is no EU law on accessibility. This European Disability Act should provide a minimum level of accessibility when it comes to products and services so that they can be circulated in all EU Member States.
Tackling the complex proposal was the ambitious task of the 3 panels of experts during the conference. Each of these 3 panels was focused on a different aspect: accessibility of ICT products and services, accessibility of transport and built environment and how the Act should be put into practice.
CITA was there to hear a wide range of experts presenting their views. The EDF was represented by its Director, Catherine Naughton and Marie Denninghaus – Transport and Mobility officer, while the Disability Intergroup was represented by its co-chairs MEPs Ádám Kósa, Helga Stevens, Kostadinka Kuneva and its vice-chair, Olga Sehnalová. The newly appointed rapporteur of the Act in the IMCO committee, Morten Løkkegaard, and the Rapporteur for the TRAN committee, Davor Škrlec, were also present at the meeting.
They all expressed their support on the adoption of a meaningful Accessibility Act that will benefit not only 80 million persons with disabilities and 150 million older people who live in Europe but all citizens.
“Accessibility is a pre-condition to enjoy other fundamental rights, such as access to the workplace, education, public services, free movement, leisure, etc. that persons with disabilities should enjoy on equal basis with others. On the other hand, by harmonising a set of accessibility requirements for products and services for the EU, we will create economies of scale and more know-how inside public and private organisations to take into account 80 million persons with disabilities and many more millions that will benefit from having more accessible products and services”. – Catherine Naughton, EDF Director