Your questions about the European Accessibility Act (EAA)

Updated June 2024

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) seeks to ensure equal access to digital products and services throughout Europe

  • It applies to any business that wishes to trade in the EU, wherever it is based.
  • It covers a wide range of goods and services.
  • It becomes law in all EU member states in June 2025.
  • It will affect UK businesses directly, as well as suppliers to public and private sector organisations.

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What are the aims of The European Accessibility Act?

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The EAA 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.

What products does the European Accessibility Act Cover?

The Act is largely focused on technology and covers the products and services deemed most important to people with disabilities.

These include:

  • Computers and operating systems
  • Smartphones
  • TV equipment and related broadcasting services
  • Services related to various forms of transport
  • Banking
  • E-books
  • E-commerce
  • ATMs (cash machines), ticketing and check-in machines

Each product or service is covered by specific standards, which identify voluntary requirements and must be met for that product or service to be legally traded inside the EU.

Who does the EAA apply to?

Unlike previous accessibility legislation, such as the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations (PSBAR), the EAA also covers private sector firms.

  • It applies to any business with at least 10 staff and a turnover above €2 million.
  • It applies to any business that trades in the EU.
  • Companies headquartered based outside the EU must comply with the Act if they sell relevant goods or services within the EU.

Is this already law?

Not quite. The European Accessibility Act was passed in 2019, member states are implementing it now and the directive comes into force on 28 June 2025.

How is it being implemented?

Some EU laws are implemented centrally, but for the EAA each member state must publish their own individual laws and detailed regulations.

They must show who is responsible for its implementation and lay out the monitoring processes and penalties for non-compliance.

Some countries have started doing this - all of them must have laws in place by June 2025.

What are the penalties for not complying with EAA?

Non-compliance with the European Accessibility Act (EAA) will result in various penalties, depending on the severity and context - and also which country you are trading in.

Fines and Prison Sentences

  • Regulatory authorities in a member state may impose fines on businesses that do not comply with the accessibility standards outlined in the EAA.
  • The amount of the fine will vary based on the specific location, the nature of the violation and the size of the business.
  • Ireland's newly announced laws can result in prison sentences.

Legal Proceedings:

  • Organisations could face legal action from individuals or advocacy groups representing people with disabilities.
  • This could result in lawsuits, court orders, or settlements requiring the business to rectify accessibility issues.

Reputational Damage:

  • Non-compliance will harm your reputation and lead to negative publicity which affects the brand.

Loss of Customers:

  • Inaccessible products or services alienate potential customers, whereas businesses and organistaions that prioritise accessibility are more likely to attract a diverse customer base.

Business Disruption:

  • Businesses and organisations may be forced to modify products, services, or websites to meet EAA standards which will be costly and disruptive.

Exclusion from procurement processes:

  • EAA compliance will become more common in public and private sector procurement requirements.
  • Non-compliant businesses may be excluded from participating in public procurement processes.

What should businesses be doing?

With a little over one year to go it’s crucial for businesses to:

  • Speak to their legal team to make sure the EAA is on their radar,
  • Work out how it applies to their business,
  • Check the accessibility of products and services,
  • Create a plan to address any concerns before 2025.

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  • May 2024: added webinar link