Demonstration to Call for a Strong European Accessibility Act

Demonstration to Call for a Strong European Accessibility Act

Demonstration to call for a strong European Accessibility Act – 6th March 2017,  12.00h, European Parliament, Brussels.

Come and join the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL who will demonstrate with the European Disability Forum (EDF) at the European Parliament in Brussels on 6th March to raise awareness on the European Accessibility Act (EEA) and to ask the Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament to adopt a more ambitious position on this important legislative proposal.  The protest will start at 12.00h. After the demonstration we invite everyone to enter the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) meeting at 15:00h.

Accessibility Act or Neglect?

In January the IMCO committee published its draft report on the proposed European Accessibility Act.

In the report the IMCO Committee proposes amendments to the Accessibility Act. These amendments, together with amendments from other committees, like for example the employment or transport committee, will determine the European Parliament’s position on the Act.  As leading committee on the Accessibility Act, the IMCO Committee will be responsible to collect all the different amendments and use them to propose a draft position to the European Parliament.  The entire European Parliament will use this draft as a basis to vote on the official position of the Parliament on the Accessibility Act.

Because the IMCO committee is the leading committee, the amendments proposed in its report are likely to have a significant impact on the Parliament’s position.

The original intention of the Accessibility Act was to bring the EU in line with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), to help dismantle barriers between Member States due to different national accessibility requirements and to support the Member States to achieve their national obligations under the CRPD.

The focus in the IMCO report appears to have shifted towards making it easier for companies to sell their products across Europe. Accessibility of those products seems to have become a bonus rather than a prerequisite.

This is especially worrying in the following 3 areas:

  1. The already weak requirement to make the built environment accessible is completely removed in the IMCO report.
  2. The definition of disability in the IMCO amendments is very much based on the medical model, it only includes people with a certified disability while leaving out people with temporary functional limitations or other assistance needs.
  3. Requirements for accessible transport are watered down using the excuse that accessible transport is covered sufficiently in other legislation (for example passenger rights). As we all know from the last ENIL Freedom Drive, this is certainly not the case.

On 6th March the IMCO Committee will have a debate on all the amendments and on 21th March the committee will vote on their position to present to the Parliament.

ENIL, together with EDF and other organisations, demand on a strong and ambitious European Accessibility Act. To make our voices are heard loud and clear we are organising a demonstration in front of the European Parliament in Brussels (Place du Luxembourg) on 6th March at 12.00h. After the protest we invite everyone to enter the IMCO Committee meeting at 15:00h.

It is also possible to join us online by sharing accessibility related pictures on the Facebook event page or on Тwitter via the hashtags: #AccessibilityAct, #accessibility or #freemove.

Unfortunately, we cannot reimburse travel costs, but hope you will be able to join us in Brussels or online to show the Parliament the importance of a strong and meaningful European Accessibility Act.

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