Evaluating how the directive is applied in practice.

SW – 08/2021

In the EU's strategy for the rights of people with disabilities 2021 - 2030, the EC identified accessibility as the key to exercising rights, autonomy and equality, and announced that it would be setting up an "Accessible EU" European resource centre by 2022. It also announced that in 2022 it would be evaluating EU Directive 2016/2102, which covers the accessibility of websites and mobile apps belonging to public authorities, in order to check for any gaps within its scope with regard to technological advances and coherence with other EU legislation.

The EC has now launched a public consultation process based on the accessibility of websites and mobile apps used in the public sector, with the aim of collecting views on how the directive is being applied, and how its acts were implemented in practice. These consultations are to help evaluate the extent to which the directive:

  • has made it easier for people with disabilities to access public services and information, strengthening social and digital inclusion;
  • is still relevant and purposeful with respect to relevant legislation and technological changes; and
  • has harmonised the web-accessibility market.

The results will be integrated in the review and should help to improve the directive's effect on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile apps. They will also take into consideration any possible future initiatives related to accessing the internet. The EC intends to publish the results of the review in June 2022. Participation in the consultations, in which German Social Security will also be participating, is possible until 25 October 2021.

Whereas the EC rightly advances its strategy for the rights of people with disabilities to access structural and virtual environments, information and communication technologies as well as goods and services, including transport and infrastructures, there is also the basic requirement for the unrestricted and equal participation of people with disabilities in social life, the report about "European comparative data on Europe 2020 and persons with disabilities" published in July 2021 shows just how great the need for action is here.

For example, in the EU in 2018, around 50.8 per cent of people with disabilities between the ages of 20 and 64 were employed, as compared to 75.0 per cent of people without disabilities. The employment rate for women with disabilities is even lower than that of women without disabilities; it was 47.8 per cent at pan-EU level, as compared to 68.8 per cent for women without disabilities. This situation is expected to deteriorate even further as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EC wants to counter this with a package to be presented in 2022 for improving opportunities in the labour market for people with disabilities. The package should also support member states in implementing the relevant employment guidelines in the context of the European semester, in promoting the exchanging of best practices for strengthening the capacities of the employment and integration services as well as creating recruitment prospects by combating stereotypes, ensuring that reasonable arrangements exist in the workplace, developing quality jobs in sheltered employment and promoting ways for getting into the open labour market.