The European Accessibility Act (EAA) requires that certain essential products and services, including banking, public transport and online shops, are made accessible for persons with disabilities. According to the deadline set in legislation in 2019, the EAA had to be transposed into national law by June 28, 2022. This transposition could take the form of creating a new accessibility law, or by including the EAA’s accessibility provisions into existing national laws.
In instances where member states neglect to respect EU Law. the European Commision may initiate a treaty violation against that member state that can result in possible penalties or fines.
At the time of writing, the following Member States (24 out of 27) have failed to transpose the European Accessibility Act into national law by the deadline: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.
This is significant because the EAA is a key piece of legislation that aims to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities for equal access to services and products that are vital to day to day existence and meaningful participation with society at large. Due to the lack of progress being made on the national level, clearly further efforts need to be made to ensure that the remaining member states transpose the EAA into their national laws sooner rather than later.
Only once this has been done, and done correctly, will the European single market be able to unlock its full potential with regards to economic and social development.
What Happens Now?
The Few Countries Leading The Way
Only 3 countries actually issued national transposition of the EAA to the Commission for approval by the stated deadline: Estonia, Italy and Denmark. The details of these national laws can be found on the EUR-Lex platform.
While a handful of other countries have since issued regulations, for the most part, those that have done so have adopted the EAA by default reference. Click on the following link for a list of all of the national regulations that have now been sent to the Commission for approval. Those who want to stay ahead of the development of proposed new national accessibility laws across the EU would be well advised to keep an eye on how this list grows and changes over the coming months.In the case of Denmark, you can click on the following link to see the legislation that has been proposed for implementation to the EAA.
What To Expect Next
As the vast majority of EU member states are yet to submit their proposed legislation, and the legislation that has been proposed is still under review, it is difficult to say how things will progress. The bottom line, however, is that the EAA will be adopted by EU member states in one form or another, as it will become national law by default for those countries who have failed to implement their own legislation by 28 June 2025.
While there are sure to be a few bumps along the road, the EAA will ultimately achieve its goal of improving the market for accessible products and services across the EU. In time, the implementation of its recommendations will enable organizations to introduce accessibility features into all of their products and services, enhancing inclusivity and bettering European society as a whole.
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