Innovative Policy 2018 on Accessibility

Minimum standards of websites and mobile applications by the public sector in all 28 EU-countries

In October 2016 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union passed a directive that requires public sector bodies of all 28 EU member states to provide accessible websites, along with ensuring that media and documents available on the websites are also accessible. Member states must make their content accessible or provide a public explanation where this has not been done, and must also introduce a monitoring and reporting framework to check compliance by 2021.

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies
Responsible Body:European Parliament and the Council of the European Union
Country
of Implementation
European Union

FACTS & FIGURES

  • 28 EU member states must bring into force the laws, regulations, and administrative provisions of the directive by September 2018.
  • All public-sector body websites must be accessible by September 2020 and all mobile applications by 2021.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Many public-sector websites and applications are not accessible to persons with disabilities, despite the continuing move towards the provision of government information and services through the Internet.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union has passed a directive (a regulation that can be compared to a law on the country level) making it compulsory for the 28 EU member states to make public-sector websites and mobile applications accessible by 2021. Directive (EU) 2016/2102 covers accessibility for all user groups and addresses four principles of accessibility:

  • Perceivability: That the information is presented in ways that the user can readily perceive
  • Operability: That the user interface and navigation must be operable
  • Understandability: That the information and operation must be comprehensible to the user
  • Robustness: That the content must be sufficiently robust to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user groups

The directive sets a minimum standard for web accessibility equivalent to WCAG 2.0 AA – The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Where it is not possible to make the website information accessible, or where it would Two officials signing the European Directive.create a disproportionate burden, the public-sector body must explain why this is the case in an accessibility statement on the website and provide accessible alternatives.
EU member states must bring into force the laws, regulations, and administrative provisions of the directive by September 2018, and ensure that all websites are compliant by September 2020 and all mobile applications by June 2021. Each member state must also periodically monitor the compliance of websites and mobile applications of their public-sector bodies, including sampling of websites and applications, and create a mechanism to correct any deficiencies.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

Directive (EU) 2016/2102 has the potential to support around 80 million persons with disabilities living within the EU who have a variety of access needs when obtaining public-sector information. Access to information will increase between 2018 and 2021 as the member states put into place required activities, such as promoting and facilitating web accessibility training programmes for stakeholders, and appointing an enforcement body to allow citizens to challenge authorities who do not fulfil the law.

The directive is available publicly on the EU website and can therefore act as a suitable template for other countries or regions around the world to help implement better e-accessibility features.

The costs related to the directive are the responsibility of each member state, which are required to provide the necessary resources for its implementation and monitoring.

A man using the accessibility tools whilst reading a document online.

CONTACT
FACTSHEET

Download factsheet as accessible pdf
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