Accessibility is the way to break barriers in society
EDF presented its position on the Accessibility Act at IMCO Committee’s exchange of views
EDF was invited to present its opinion on the European Accessibility Act during yesterday’s exchange of views in the Internal Market Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament.
After a long campaign from the disability movement and a clear recommendation by the UN calling on the EU to publish the Accessibility Act, a proposal was finally published by the European Commission last December. The proposed text is now discussed at the Parliament and the Council and IMCO is the Committee in charge of drafting the Parliament’s position on this issue.
EDF was one of the only two stakeholders who were invited at IMCO meeting showing the commitment of the Parliament in involving the disability movement in these crucial discussions.
The European Accessibility Act has the potential to be a strong legislation that will change the lives of millions of people with disabilities, older people and other users in Europe by allowing them access to goods and services on equal footing with others.
EDF Board member, Thorkild Olesen, underlined in his speech: “We have the possibility to create a barrier-free Europe for all and for this we need a strong legislative framework. If we wait for industry to do this by themselves, it might not happen.”
However, the work in the IMCO Committee will not be easy. Business Europe claimed during the exchange of views that the Act would “create new barriers to innovation” and “health and safety will suffer at the expense of accessibility if the authorities have to also check the accessibility of products and services”.
EDF’s position is clear against all these myths: Accessibility is not a barrier; it is a way to break barriers in society and a pre-condition to enjoy other fundamental rights such as access to workplace, education, public services, free movement, leisure etc. Making goods and services accessible will not interfere with health and safety, but rather it will reinforce it by making goods and services easier to use for everyone. Accessibility has positive benefits therefore for all Europeans, including forward looking innovative businesses and businesses with a commitment to social responsibility.