The European Accessibility Act calls for clearer requirements to thrive within the EU Single Market

Published: 7 November 2016

Policies & Issues: Internal Market - Compliance, Standards & Enforcement

Clearer requirements a must if the European Accessibility Act is to thrive within the Single Market

The European Commission has announced its plans for a European Accessibility Act – designed to align Member State legislation on accessibility requirements for people with functional limitations or disabilities. The aim of ensuring that people with disabilities can participate fully in society is one we all share. Indeed, the engineering industry is constantly innovating to create assistive technologies tailored the diverse needs of European citizens.

Orgalime fully understands and appreciates the need to respond to the requirements of those with disabilities and to promote inclusion; however, we question whether the Commission’s proposal will deliver on these aims. Rather, we believe that in its current form it could hamper the smooth functioning of the Single Market.

This is why we are asking the European Parliament and the Council to improve the current proposal: to serve the needs of people with disabilities, but without impacting on the benefits of the Single Market. Our concern is that the initiative as it stands adds another layer of complexity to the legislative landscape that producers have to navigate. There are three main issues. First, the scope of the Directive is too vague; we need a clear definition of which goods and services it covers. Second, the exemption clause should be clarified to ensure it does not lead to disproportionate administrative burden. And finally, the proposed wording on the CE marking distorts the meaning of the marking – creating unnecessary confusion.

In the spirit of the better regulation approach, we ask the European Parliament and the Council to amend the Commission’s proposal and clarify these issues – so that manufacturers, Member State authorities and consumers can fully understand their rights and obligations. 

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