Free Webinar: Are You Ready for The European Accessibility Act?

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a directive published in April 2019.

European Union flagIts goals are to benefit both businesses and disabled people and older people. The EAA seeks to enhance the accessibility of products and services across the European Union (EU) - harmonising national laws and minimum accessibility requirements in the EU.

In this blog, we will explore: 

What are the key aims of the EAA?

The EAA aims to enhance the accessibility of products and services across the European Union - benefiting both businesses and disabled and older users. 

    Business benefits

    • Common rules: The EAA establishes common accessibility rules across the EU, leading to cost reductions for businesses.
    • Cross-border trading: Easier cross-border trading opportunities emerge as companies adhere to consistent accessibility standards.
    • Expanded market: Businesses offering accessible products and services can tap into a larger EU market.

    Benefits for disabled people and older people

    • The European Accessibility Act aims to improve the lives of disabled and older people in the EU by ensuring equal access to selected products and services within the European Union.
    • Reduced barriers: Improved access to transport, education, and employment opportunities.

    What does the EAA cover?

    The EAA focuses on various products, services, websites, and mobile applications relevant to disabled people. These include:

    • Computers and operating systems
    • Telephones and Smartphones
    • TV equipment and digital broadcasting services
    • Websites related to transport
    • Banking services
    • E-books
    • E-commerce
    • ATMs (cash machines), ticketing and check-in machines

    Each product or service must meet specific standards to be legally traded within the EU.

    Who does the EAA apply to?

    Public sector bodies: Products, services, websites, and mobile apps used by public sector organisations in the European Union.

    Businesses: Companies that trade relevant products and services in the EU, with at least 10 staff and a turnover exceeding €2 million, regardless of whether they are headquartered within or outside the EU.

    European Accessibility Act (EAA) implementation timeline 

    • 7 June 2019  - The European Union publishes the EAA. 
    • 28 June 2022 - The deadline for the EAA to become law in EU member states. 
    • 28 June 2025 - EU member states must apply and enforce the measures contained in the EAA. 
    • 28 June 2030 - The final deadline for compliance with EAA for service providers whose facilities were already lawfully in use by 28 June 2025.

    What should businesses be doing?

    With just over a year remaining, businesses need to proactively address the implications of the European Accessibility Act.

    First, consult legal teams to ensure awareness and discuss its impact. Next, assess how the EAA specifically applies to your business. Additionally, evaluate the accessibility of your products and services. Finally, create an action plan to address any concerns or gaps before June 2025.

    Working towards EAA compliance

    To achieve compliance, consider the following:

    1. Assess and document your digital estate: Understand your current state of digital accessibility and document it.
    2. Technical standards and guidelines: Familiarise yourself with the technical standards and guidelines that must be followed.
    3. Web Accessibility Directive (WAD): Note that changes to standards require harmonisation through the Official Journal for legal significance. The latest official version with legal significance is EN 301 549 v3.2.1.

    Beyond legislation: business benefits of the EAA

    If the EAA applies to your organisation you can benefit from reducing barriers to trade in the EU. It will ultimately reduce costs due to different Member State requirements, which the EAA estimates could be by 45% to 50%. Eliminating Barriers: The EAA’s unified requirements eliminate market fragmentation, making cross-border trade easier. 

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