In May 2016, negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible.
The agreed text of the Directive:
- covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming).
- refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. For example, such standards foresee that there should be a text for images or that websites can be browsed without a mouse which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities.
- requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive on web accessibility along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services, are both part of the efforts of the Commission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society.
The next steps are that the text will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. After that it will be published in the Official Journal and will officially enter into force. Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.
The European Disability Forum welcomed the announcement.