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Accessibility of products and services

Accessibility of products and services

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2019/882 on the accessibility requirements for products and services

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

  • It aims to harmonise accessibility* requirements for certain products* and services so the EU’s internal market operates smoothly by eliminating and preventing any free-movement barriers that may exist because of divergent national legislation.
  • It aims to bring benefits to businesses, people with disabilities* and the elderly. Applying accessibility requirements will clarify the existing accessibility obligation in EU law, particularly in public procurement and structural funds.
  • It is known as the European accessibility act.

KEY POINTS

The legislation will apply from 28 June 2025 to the following.

  • Products:
    • computers and operating systems;
    • payment terminals and certain self-service terminals such as ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines, interactive self-service information terminals;
    • smartphones and other equipment for accessing telecommunication services;
    • TV equipment involving digital television services;
    • e-readers.
  • Services:
    • telephony services;
    • services to access audiovisual media services;
    • certain elements of air, bus, rail and water transport services such as websites, mobile services, electronic tickets, information;
    • consumer banking;
    • e-books;
    • e-commerce;
    • answer to emergency calls to the single European number ‘112’.

The legislation does not apply to:

  • pre-recorded time-based media, such as videos and slides or office file formats published before 28 June 2025;
  • online maps if essential information is provided in an accessible digital way;
  • websites and other forms of archive containing content not updated or edited after 28 June 2025;
  • microenterprises providing services.

Specific accessibility requirements apply to all products and services covered by the legislation, provided these do not alter their basic nature or impose a disproportionate burden on operators.

  • Products must:
    • be designed and produced to maximise their use by people with disabilities;
    • comply with detailed rules on information and instructions, user interface and functionality design, support services and packaging.
  • Services must:
    • provide information about the service, its accessibility features and facilities;
    • make websites and mobile devices easily accessible;
    • support systems, such as help desks, call centres and training to provide information on accessibility;
    • apply practices, policies and procedures to address the needs of people with disabilities. Specific rules apply to different services (electronic communications, audiovisual, air, bus, rail, water and urban transport, consumer banking, e-books, e-commerce and the answering to emergency 112 phone number).
  • EU countries may decide to require the compliance of the built environment where services are provided with accessibility requirements.
  • Annex II provides non-binding examples of how the various accessibility requirements may be met.

The legislation requires the following.

  • Manufacturers must:
    • design and manufacture products according to the directive, taking into account any subsequent changes in the harmonised standards;
    • draw up the necessary technical documentation, carry out the conformity procedure and keep the information for 5 years;
    • provide clear identification on their products and their own contact details;
    • accompany the product with easily understood instructions and safety information.
  • Importers must:
    • ensure the product has passed the conformity assessment procedure, has the necessary technical documentation, including instructions in a language users can easily understand, and bears the CE marking;
    • refuse to place on the market a product they believe does not meet the accessibility requirements and to inform the manufacturer and market surveillance authorities.
  • Service providers must:
    • design and provide services according to the directive;
    • make available to the public written and oral information easily accessible to people with disabilities on the service they offer and how this meets the accessibility requirements;
    • ensure procedures are in place to continue conforming with the accessibility requirements and take into account any changes.
  • Manufacturers, importers and distributors must act immediately if they discover the product no longer complies with the legislation.

EU countries must:

  • ensure all products and services covered by the legislation comply with its accessibility requirements;
  • on request supply the public with information on how companies implement the requirements;
  • implement and update procedures to:
    • check the compliance of services with the directive,
    • follow up complaints or reports on non-compliance,
    • verify that the company has remedied the failing;
  • provide ways, including legal action, to ensure compliance and penalties for any breach of the law.

The European Commission:

  • may adopt delegated and implementing acts to amend technical aspects of the directive;
  • may request the European standardisation organisations to draft harmonised standards on accessibility requirements or adopt technical specifications under certain conditions;
  • establishes a working group of representatives of authorities for market surveillance and services’ compliance and of stakeholders including disability organisations to:
    • promote exchange of information and best practice,
    • foster cooperation between authorities and stakeholders,
    • provide advice;
  • submits, by 28 June 2030 and every 5 years thereafter, a report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the application of the legislation.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has to become law in the EU countries by 28 June 2022. EU countries must apply the measures from 28 June 2025.

However, EU countries may:

  • delay compliance for the European emergency 112 number until 28 June 2027;
  • give service providers whose facilities were already lawfully in use by 28 June 2025 a further 5 years (until 28 June 2030);
  • allow self-service terminals to operate until the end of their economically useful life, but no longer than 20 years after entering service.

BACKGROUND

  • Over 80 million people in the EU live with some kind of disability. With an ageing society, the number is increasing.
  • The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights recognises and respects the right of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.
  • The directive defines people with disabilities in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has been ratified by all EU countries.

KEY TERMS

Accessibility: design of products, devices, services or environments to be used by people with disabilities on equal basis with others.
Products: a substance, preparation or good produced through a manufacturing process (other than food, feed, living plants and animals or products of human, plant and animal origin for future reproduction).
Person with disabilities: someone with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full, effective participation in society on equal basis with others.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services (OJ L 151, 7.6.2019, pp. 70-115)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (recast) (OJ L 321, 17.12.2018, pp. 36-214)

Decision No 768/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products, and repealing Council Decision 93/465/EEC (OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, pp. 82-128)

last update 10.09.2019

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