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Document 52015SC0264

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT IMPACT ASSESSMENT Accompanying the document Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States as regards accessibility requirements for products and services

SWD/2015/0264 final - 2015/0278 (COD)

Brussels, 2.12.2015

SWD(2015) 264 final

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Accompanying the document

Proposal for a Directive

of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States as regards accessibility requirements for products and services

{COM(2015) 615 final}
{SWD(2015) 265 final}
{SWD(2015) 266 final}


COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Accompanying the document

Proposal for a Directive

of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States as regards accessibility requirements for products and services

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

1.Procedural issues and consultation of interested parties

1.1.Identification, Organisation and Timing

1.2.Consultation and expertise

2.Problem definition

2.1.Scene-setter

2.1.1.Accessibility in the European Disability Strategy

2.1.2.The issues of fragmentation and barriers in the internal market

2.2.Nature and scale of the problem

2.2.1.Some concrete examples of legislative divergence leading to market fragmentation

2.3.Current situation and evolution of the problem in the baseline scenario

2.4.Problem driver: uncoordinated Member State action

2.5.Effects of the problem - Who is affected?

2.5.1.Financial impacts on economic operators and public sector bodies

2.5.2.Social and quality of life impacts on consumers (i.e. disabled and elderly consumers)

3.The EU's right to act and EU added-value

3.1.Legal right to act

3.2.Impact on Fundamental Rights

3.3.Compliance with the principle of subsidiarity

3.4.Compliance with the principle of proportionality

3.5.Consistency with other EU policies

3.5.1.Consistency with the on-going standardisation processes

3.6.Consistency with international developments, in particular focusing on the US

4.Policy Objectives

4.1.Policy options

4.2.Discarded policy options

4.3.Retained policy options

4.4.Common elements of the legislative policy options

5.Impact Analysis

5.1.Overall approach of the economic analysis

5.2.Option 1: No new action at EU level (baseline scenario)

5.3.Option 2: EU Recommendation defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services

5.4.Option 3: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services - applicable to the Member States when they regulate on/require accessibility

5.5.Option 4: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services - immediately applicable to all Member States

5.6.Administrative burden

5.7.The case of SMEs and micro-enterprises

6.Comparison of Policy Options

7.Monitoring and evaluation arrangements

8.Indicators

9.Evaluation

Executive Summary Sheet

Impact assessment on Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to accessibility requirements of goods and services

A. Need for action

Why? What is the problem being addressed?

There is a divergence of national accessibility requirements related to goods and services placed and provided in the EU market and related to public procurement specifications, which leads to a fragmentation of the internal market. This divergence is increasing, due notably to the commitments assumed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which the EU and almost all its Member States are parties. The general nature of the UNCRPD's accessibility obligations leads both to diverging national implementation and further legal divergence, in the EU market especially for Computers and Operating Systems; Digital TV services and equipment; Telephony services and related terminal equipment; eBooks; Self-service terminals; eCommerce; Banking services (concerning ATMs, websites and built-environment); Passenger transport services - Air, Rail, Bus and Maritime (concerning ticketing and check-in machines, websites and built-environment); Hospitality services (concerning websites and built-environment ).

The legal divergence and related internal market problems in the area of public procurement and other EU law setting a general accessibility obligation are also expected to increase now that the current optional accessibility requirements have become compulsory with the entering into force of the revised Public Procurement Directives. Those laws do not specify accessibility and what it entails, leaving this aspect to sector-specific rules and consequently increase the risk of further fragmentation at national and even lower levels.

What is this initiative expected to achieve?

The general objectives of this initiative are to improve the functioning of the internal market of specific accessible goods and services, while facilitating the work for industry and serving the needs of consumers, as well as to contribute to the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The specific objectives are to lower barriers to cross-border trade and increase competition in the selected goods and services and in the area of public procurement, as well as to facilitate access by consumers with disabilities to a wider range of competitively priced accessible goods and services.

This will be achieved by (operational objectives) defining common EU accessibility requirements for selected goods and services and using the same requirements for public procurement, and by improving enforcement of accessibility requirements.

What is the value added of action at the EU level?

Member States’ action alone is not suitable to remove obstacles to the proper functioning of the internal market both as regards already existing barriers to trade and preventing new ones. Only action at the EU level can create a harmonised and coherent legal framework that will allow the free circulation of accessible goods and services in the internal market.

This initiative will contribute to a coherent and effective implementation of the UN Convention across the EU facilitating Member States' compliance with the above mentioned international commitments benefiting industry and consumers. This action at EU level would respect the principle of proportionality by leaving to Member States the freedom to define 'how to achieve common objectives', taking into account national circumstances with flexibility for 'when to do it'.

B. Solutions

What legislative and non-legislative policy options have been considered? Is there a preferred choice or not? Why?

An EU regulatory intervention leaving a certain margin of discretion to the Member States as to its implementation appears to be efficient to tackle the actual and upcoming problems of the functioning of the internal market. A Directive would be in line with the approach taken in previous Commission Communications and instruments and will ensure the free movement of the identified accessible goods and services without going beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

Discarded policy options were: (1) Horizontal framework at EU level applying to all goods and services by defining/imposing their accessibility requirements. (2) Accessibility requirements for all private sector websites. (3) Self- regulation by industry. (4) Voluntary European standardisation alone. (5) An EU Regulation setting common accessibility requirements for selected goods and services and in the area of public procurement.

The 4 following options have been retained for consideration:

Option 1: No further action at EU level (baseline scenario).

Option 2: EU Recommendation defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services, as well as in the area of public procurement.

Option 3: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services as well as in the area of public procurement - applicable to the Member States when they regulate on accessibility.

Option 4: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services, as well as in the area of public procurement – immediately applicable to all Member States. 

Who supports which option?

In a Eurobarometer survey on accessibility carried out in 2011, 97% of citizens agreed that people with disabilities should be able to participate fully in society and that the existing internal barriers make it very hard. In a public consultation, industry representatives strongly supported EU public procurement rules on accessibility. 60% of organisations declared that adoption of European accessibility standards in line with international standards would facilitate the supply of accessible goods and services. Legislation was considered the most relevant possible future measure (23%), followed by standards (22%), enforcement (13%), best practices (7%), certification schemes (7%), cooperation between public bodies (5%) and awareness raising campaigns (4%).

C. Impacts of the preferred option

What are the benefits of the preferred option?

Options 3 and 4 will best address the main drivers of the problem and consequently would improve the functioning of the internal market. The differences in the impacts of those two policy options mainly relate to the degree of effectiveness, the related costs savings, and their justification in line with the principle of proportionality. Option 3 appears to be the less costly and to be more proportional to the objectives. Option 4 would have the biggest impact for the harmonisation of the internal market and would have greater social impacts but it would also be more expensive. Both legal options would benefit from standards for their implementation.

The administrative burden will be higher for option 4 than for option 3 because it would cover Member States without current additional legislation on accessibility.

What are the costs of the preferred option?

Overall, both options 3 and 4 are expected to reduce costs for industry by eliminating and preventing the fragmentation of the internal market when Member States regulate accessibility. The costs for industry related to making/providing accessible goods and services, will be reduced because instead of following several different national sets of requirements they will be replaced by one EU set. Option 3 would bring savings of up to 50% of the cost estimated for the baseline scenario while option 4 would bring savings of up to 45%. The requirement to provide information about accessibility of the selected goods and services will however have additional administrative costs. In any case cost savings compared with the baseline scenario are much more important for both options. There are anticipated social and economic benefits resulting from improvements in the functioning of the internal market while environmental impacts are very small.

How will businesses, SMEs and micro-enterprises be affected?

The impacts on SMEs and micro-enterprises have been assessed through a specific consultation (“SME test”). The positive impact of the envisaged options on all economic operators is comparable irrespective of their size. With respect to micro and SMEs, these effects may even be more accentuated since the cost savings resulting from the enhanced legal clarity and common EU accessibility rules would make it much easier for them to follow and respect all accessibility requirements in the EU. As regards possible negative impacts, it did not appear in the impact assessment that the overall impact of this policy action would bring about significant costs increases for SMEs as well as other economic operators. Safeguard clauses will be used to ensure proportionality of the requirements for the companies, in particular SMEs and micro enterprises.

Will there be significant impacts on national budgets and administrations?

None expected.

Will there be other significant impacts?

By improving the functioning of the internal market of specific accessible goods and services, the integration into society of people with disabilities and older people will be facilitated increasing their active participation for example in terms of education and employment consequently reducing their risk of poverty. The proposal is expected to strengthen fundamental rights, including the right to human dignity, the rights of the elderly and the right to integration of persons with disabilities. By replacing several national accessibility requirements with a single set of EU requirements, the overall legislative landscape should be simplified. This will moreover reduce costs to industry in comparison with the baseline and therefore be beneficial for competitiveness.

D. Follow up

When will the policy be reviewed?

A review is to be performed five years after the entry into application of the Directive.

1.Procedural issues and consultation of interested parties

1.1.Identification, Organisation and Timing

Directorate-General for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (DG JUST) is the lead DG that prepared this Impact Assessment (IA). An Inter-Service Steering Group (ISSG) led by DG JUST was established in May 2011 with the following services of the Commission: DG ENTR, DG CNECT, DG EMPL, DG MARKT, DG MOVE, DG REGIO, DG SANCO, the Legal Service and the Secretariat-General. This Group met five times (May and July 2011; February and July 2012; 11 March 2013). In addition, DG JUST circulated a draft and later a complete version of the draft IA to the ISSG for comments before it was sent to the Impact Assessment Board (IAB). DG JUST also met bilaterally with various DGs to discuss the IA. The Impact Assessment Board (IAB) meeting took place on 15 May 2013.

The European Commission's Impact Assessment Board (IAB) examined this report and issued an opinion on 17 May 2013. After resubmission on 4 June 2013, a positive opinion was issued on 9 July 2013. The revised report takes on board the recommendations of the IAB and introduces the following main modifications and clarifications:

(1) Improved problem definition, which better explains the degree of market fragmentation and its potential to increase due to different accessibility requirements across Member States and their effect on consumers, in particular those with disabilities and elderly. Additional examples were provided adding evidence to substantiate the internal market problems deriving from the fragmentation. Additional information is provided on the Member States' obligations on accessibility under the UN Convention and its implications for the fragmentation of the internal market. Recent clarification from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to those obligations has been included.

(2) A clearer description of the choice of the priority goods and services considered has been included, together with a justification for a coherent horizontal approach complementing existent accessibility-related provisions in sector-specific and horizontal level EU legislation.

(3) The reasons to discard certain policy options have been strengthened and the design of the retained policy options has been complemented by providing additional details of their content and practical implementation. In particular, clarification on the voluntary role of European standards and their limited effect to prevent the divergence of national legislation. Further explanations have been provided to clarify the relation and the scope of the intended measures in comparison with the obligations arising from the UN Convention.

(4) The assessment of costs and benefits of the policy options for the Member States and for economic operators in the market has been revised and improved to better consider accessibility costs. The methodology used for the calculations has been further explained. Ranges have been used to better qualify the impacts. The justification for the inclusion of micro-enterprises in this initiative has been included. Finally, stakeholders' views have been more extensively referred to throughout the report.

(5) A better description of the measures to be taken and their respect for the proportionality principle has been included.

1.2.Consultation and expertise

A wide range of studies were used to prepare this IA. A full list of the consulted studies is provided in Annex 1. In particular this impact assessment made extensive use of the study carried out by Deloitte under contract JUST/2011/DISC/PR/0087 (“the Deloitte study”). This “study on the socio-economic impact of new measures to improve accessibility of goods 1 and services for people with disabilities” provided a general analysis of the situation of accessibility in the EU and some other key countries, as well as a detailed analysis of the accessibility legislation in nine Member States 2 that represent about 80% of the EU GDP and 77% of the EU population. The contractor carried out a significant number of interviews with economic operators in order to get data in particular about the costs of making their products accessible but they were not able to provide systematic costs information hence the need for the contractor to make estimations and approximations for the economic analysis. The IA also used work carried out by the Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED) 3 on accessibility legislation and enforcement in the EU. ANED carried out a survey on accessibility legislation in the (then) 27 Member States. Both studies together provide a comprehensive overview of the situation across the EU.

Consultations and meetings have been carried out during 2011 and 2012 with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from Member States (the High Level Group on Disability 4 ), industry, accessibility experts and European civil society organisations.

A Eurobarometer on accessibility was carried out in March 2012 and collected the views of 25 516 Europeans. 94% of respondents considered that more money should be spent on eliminating physical barriers for people with disabilities, in line with the results of a 2006 Eurobarometer 5 . Almost all respondents (97%) agree that people with disabilities should be able to participate fully in society and that the existing internal market barriers make it very hard for them to do so. Two-thirds of respondents say that they would buy, or pay more for goods and services if they were more accessible and better designed for all. Four out of five respondents agreed that having common rules on accessibility at EU-level would make it easier for companies to operate in another EU country, therefore boosting cross-border trade and enhancing competition.

A public consultation was held from 12.12.2011 to 29.02.2012. It was addressed to individuals (including people with disabilities and older people), as well as to public and private sector organisations in Member States, EFTA/EEA countries and candidate countries. There were 821 responses (648 citizens and 173 representatives of public and private sector organisations). When organisations were asked to explain to what extent they were confronted with different accessibility rules in different Member States, 54% stated that different Member States’ rules create barriers, whereas 28% stated that no barriers were found. The remaining 18% pointed out to different regional rules as a source of barriers. The built environment, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and transport were identified as the most problematic areas focusing on their use in some key services. Industry representatives indicated that EU action in this area should include a link to EU public procurement rules, because different accessibility requirements and legislation at different administration and sector levels hinders the functioning of the internal market. Legislation was considered the most relevant measure to address this (23%), followed by standards (22%), enforcement (13%), best practices (7%), certification schemes (7%), cooperation between public bodies (5%) and awareness raising campaigns (4%). 60% of organisations declared that adoption of European accessibility standards in line with international standards would facilitate industry supply of accessible goods and services. Between April and July 2012, an SME Panel survey was conducted through the Enterprise Europe Network, to identify problematic issues from industry’s perspective due to legal fragmentation concerning the regulation of accessibility of goods and services and market issues. The companies were asked to provide information about how accessibility is considered when providing goods and services, and estimates of the costs and benefits of accessible goods and services. The great majority of respondents were micro, small and medium enterprises.180 companies responded. The respondents generally regarded the extra costs of accessibility to be relatively low, at less than 5% of production costs. 55% of companies that provide accessible goods and services have increased their clientele as a result of improving the accessibility of their goods and services, and 39% have experienced increases in their financial benefits for this reason. Around 16% of the companies had to deal with accessibility rules in another Member State which were different from the ones from their own country. Although it should be noted that only 32% of them reported to operate in more than one Member State. Around 50% of the responding companies agree that they could more easily benefit from the internal market if accessibility requirements were harmonised at the EU level. They also identified a general lack of knowledge/information of the subject. 65% would favour EU rules containing general obligations to manufactures and service providers to provide accessible goods and services. 74% would find the adoption of European standards useful, setting out accessibility requirements. These measures are not seen as alternatives but as complementary, as they both contribute to improving the ability of SMEs to provide accessible goods and services.

Further details and findings from these consultations can be found in Annex 2 6 .

Finally, on 3 December 2013, on the occasion of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities, a High Level meeting "Growth and Accessibility" was organised by Vice-Presidents Reding and Tajani bringing together business CEOs representing key sectors relevant for the European Accessibility Act, namely ICT, transport, hospitality services, publishers and also representatives from European standardisation, disability and “ageing” organisations. The meeting provided additional input on possible measures to make goods and services more accessible in Europe. All participants supported the Commission's goal of improving accessibility of goods and services in the EU by applying an Internal Market logic and in line with the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There was general understanding of the market potential for innovation of harmonising accessibility for the different sectors but also a wish to avoid overregulation. It was also suggested to consider the experiences of other countries in this area, including the US and Japan.

2.Problem definition 

2.1.Scene-setter

2.1.1.Accessibility in the European Disability Strategy 

In line with Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (the UN Convention), the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (the Strategy) refers to ‘accessibility’ as meaning that people with disabilities 7 have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and systems (ICT), and other facilities and services open or provided to the public. 8 Detailed statistical information on persons with disabilities can be found in annex 3.

“Accessibility” is defined as the prevention or removal of barriers to the use of mainstream goods and services. It makes the design and functioning of mainstream goods and services “more usable” by most people including persons with disabilities and by others regardless of their ability or age. It is mostly preventive and proactive. The preferred approach to implement accessibility is the "Design for All" or Universal Design approach that aims at designing products, services and environments that are readily usable by most users without any modification. It builds on the flexibility of the user interface of products and their adaptability allowing for personal choices. It does not exclude the link with Assistive technologies

For example, EU bus legislation defines design characteristics of low platform buses to ensure their accessibility. The intention is that buses can be easily used by all passengers including persons using wheelchairs, travellers carrying suitcases or parents with children in prams using the same entrance facilitated by a ramp instead of having a separate lift only for disabled persons. It benefits industry as there is a wider EU level playing field and quicker boarding provides for time savings.

Accessibility following the "Design for all" approach is also an issue of public interest as it concerns the welfare of the general public while focusing on a growing part of the EU population namely disabled and older persons.

The Strategy also aims to facilitate the implementation of the UN Convention to which the EU became a Party on 22 January 2011 and which is the first legally binding international human rights instrument to which the EU and its Member States are Parties. The UN Convention has been ratified by 25 Member States while the remaining three Member States are finalising the ratification process. Member States have already some accessibility rules but need to adopt additional provisions on accessibility to fulfil the obligations under the Convention on accessibility to the physical environment, transportation, information and communication technologies and systems, and other facilities and services open or provided to the public. The European Policy Centre pointed out that "the Act has the potential to become an important additional tool in implementing the UNCRPD. The EU must not miss this opportunity" 9 .

By enabling disabled citizens to take up their place in society and fully exercise their rights, accessibility would also contribute to the Europe 2020 aims of improving education and employment as well as combating poverty and social exclusion. The public consultation confirmed this observation, as respondents extensively indicated that by improving access to goods and services, disabled people would automatically have a stronger involvement in society, taking part more actively of the public sphere. Stakeholders from both the industry side and the disabled people organisations side highlighted the strong impact that making Europe fully accessible would have on the ageing European population, namely on the cost of ageing falling over the national social security systems. The gap between persons with disabilities and the rest of the population on employment education and poverty risk must be closed to reach the headline targets. Persons with disabilities (aged 20 to 64) have an employment rate of 48 % versus those without disabilities that have an employment rate of 72%, only 26% of persons with disabilities (aged 30 to 39) are in tertiary education versus 38 % of those without disabilities and the poverty risk of person with disabilities (over 16 years old) is estimated around 30% versus 22% for those without disabilities. 10

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ('the Charter') includes a number of provisions which are relevant for persons with functional limitations, including persons with disabilities, in particular: the right to human dignity (Article 1 of the Charter), the right to integrity of the person (Article 3), the right to education (Article 14), the right to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work (Article 15), the rights of the elderly (Article 25), the right to integration of persons with disabilities (Article 26), and the freedom of movement and residence (Article 45).

In the Strategy, the Commission has proposed to use legislative and other instruments, such as standardisation, to foster accessibility. It states that the Commission will consider proposing a ‘European Accessibility Act’, which could include the development of specific standards 11 for particular sectors. The objective of such initiative would be to facilitate for companies operating in the internal market the development of accessible products and services by reducing costs related to fragmentation and barriers in the market.

2.1.2.The issues of fragmentation and barriers in the internal market

Currently, there is a divergence in national accessibility requirements related to goods and services placed on the market/provided in EU. 12 The national accessibility requirements that Member States have put in place differ both as regards coverage (in terms of to what and to whom they apply) and level of detail. Difference in coverage also means that for some goods or services, some Member States may have established detailed technical rules whereas in other Member States there are no such rules in place. As acknowledged by industry stakeholders, these differences among Member States have a negative impact, namely for those companies operating cross-border. Additional efforts are needed to comply with the different accessibility requirements.

Divergent accessibility requirements at national, or even at regional or local level, may require from manufacturers and services providers adaptation of goods and services on a case by case basis. These industry players have to learn several sets of rules if they want to trade cross-border within the EU, which constitutes a barrier to the smooth functioning of the internal market. Due to the related costs of learning the rules and adapting their goods and services to different national markets, these industry players lose competitiveness, leading sometimes to fewer ventures on exploring other markets. The Belgium (Flanders) SME Panel report states that "the area of accessibility is characterised by fragmentation" and that "(…) the (major) differences with regard to regulations make it difficult for SMEs to act in an export-oriented manner". They even mentioned that "There is even a suspicion that countries are creating specific legislation based on protectionist considerations."

To illustrate fragmentation at regional level reference can be made to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that in its Concluding observations on the initial report of Austria 13 , adopted by the Committee at its tenth session (2–13 September 2013), noted that "Austria has a federal system of government and is concerned that this has led to undue fragmentation of policy. This fragmentation can be seen (inter alia) in different accessibility standards (…) across the various Länder."

Cross-border trade is hampered in some cases by divergent legislation as some industry goods and services would not comply with national rules and would need to be adapted, thus increasing their prices (e.g. accessible ATMs 14 ), in other cases industry will not be able to sell its goods and services to public authorities (e.g. accessible computers), in other cases the goods and services will not work across borders (e.g. DTT receivers for audio description). Finally, customers will not be able to compare goods and services with transparent criteria (e.g. disabled people choosing the most accessible telecommunications service provider) hence leading to unfair competition.

In the future, the divergence in national accessibility requirements in the EU is expected to increase. The UN Convention obliges Member States to take measures to ensure accessibility. At this moment, not all areas covered by the UN Convention have been covered by national accessibility requirements or EU law. It is left to the Member States to further implement those obligations. Sometimes these are implemented at regional or local level. In any case, Member States have not been coordinating among themselves the implementation of the accessibility obligations in the UN Convention.

Accessibility is one of the General Principles of the Convention and is to be seen in conjunction with all the rights stated in the Convention. For example, when the Convention refers in Article 30 to the right to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, the principle of accessibility in Article 3 applies, since accessibility of cultural material and audiovisual programmes is a precondition to be able to enjoy that right.

Furthermore, specific obligations are described in the Convention. To ensure equal access to persons with disabilities, Article 9 of the Convention requires States Parties to take appropriate measures including the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility regarding, inter alia, buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces as well as information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

For the European Union, in accordance with Article 216(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), agreements concluded by the Union are binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States. Thus, pursuant to the conclusion by the European Union of the Convention, its provisions have become part of the EU legal order and EU secondary legislation is subject to the obligations deriving from the Convention. The European Court of Justice, when interpreting EU law, has already made use of the provisions of the Convention to define the concept of disability. 15

From the point of view of individual Member States, the entry into force of the Convention in their legal orders entails the need to ensure that national provisions on accessibility of goods and services are fully in line with the obligations of the Convention.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in a Communication on their "views" 16 on accessibility of banking card services provided by ATMs in Hungary ruled that, in order to comply with the UN Convention, it is necessary "to create a legislative framework with concrete, enforceable and time-bound benchmarks for monitoring (…)" the gradual implementation of accessibility. These "views" create "jurisprudence" in the implementation of the UN Convention. It clarifies that the obligations for implementation of Article 9 of the UN Convention on accessibility as well as the general principles concerning accessibility in Article 3, are of a binding legal nature and need to be properly enforced.

These "views" are confirmed in the recent General Comment on Article 9 of the UN Convention - Accessibility 17 adopted by the Committee in April 2014 that states that "State parties are obliged to adopt, promulgate and monitor national accessibility standards. State parties should undertake a comprehensive review of the laws on accessibility in order to identify, monitor and address gaps in legislation and its implementation". It further confirms the previous statements made in the Hungarian "views" mentioned above by indicating that "State parties should establish a legislative framework with specific, enforceable, time-bound benchmarks for monitoring and assessing the gradual modification and adjustment by private entities of their previously inaccessible services into accessible ones. State parties should also ensure that all newly procured goods and other services are fully accessible for persons with disabilities." These clarifications are needed to clarify the legal character of the obligations on accessibility under the Convention. Those obligations are on the results but do not really describe the way to achieve them. Hence this does not guarantee a uniform implementation of the accessibility obligations.

This line is continued by the UN Committee who in their “concluding observations” for Germany in May 2015 18 stated that “The Committee is concerned about the lack of binding obligations for private entities, particularly private media and websites, to avoid creating new barriers and to eliminate existing barriers relating to accessibility and about the inadequate implementation of regulations governing accessibility and universal design.” And recommended that the State party: “Introduce targeted and effective measures, such as obligations, monitoring mechanisms and effective penalties for infringement, to extend accessibility for persons with disabilities in all sectors and areas of life, including the private sector;” and “Encourage public and private broadcasting bodies to evaluate their work comprehensively regarding the implementation of the right to accessibility, especially with respect to the use of sign language.”

Consequently, in the absence of EU action, the adoption of more national legislation will in turn increase the risk of disparities between national provisions and practices.

The legal fragmentation and related internal market problems in the area of public procurement related to accessibility are also expected to exacerbate. Whereas accessibility was not obligatory in public procurement, following the adoption of the revised Public Procurement Directives it has become compulsory. 19 The revised Directives do however not specify what accessibility means, leaving this aspect to sector-specific rules 20 . When the new Directives enter into force, lack of accessibility requirements at the EU level will result in further fragmentation at national or local level.

Preventing the market fragmentation and eliminating all barriers to the movement of accessible goods and services as well as encouraging innovation and creativity in this area would also contribute to achievement of the EU long-term visions of a highly competitive social market economy, as presented in the Single Market Act I and II.

In addition, the European citizenship report 2010 21 highlighted the remaining obstacles that EU citizens with disabilities face when they move within their countries or to other Member States, regarding access, among others, to the built environment, to transportation, information and a range of goods and services. The legislative divergence and consequent market fragmentation brings a lot of uncertainty with regard to accessibility for the consumers.

All the EU institutions have repeatedly called for action to be undertaken in this regard. With more than 19 declarations issued by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee, the Commission has been urged to speed up the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention including the accessibility articles, whilst ensuring the active inclusion of disabled people in order to enhance the functioning of the internal market and to attain the Europe 2020 targets 22 . The contribution to the Europe 2020 goals is based on the fact that accessible goods and services contribute to: further participation in society of disabled persons, further mobility (travelling), daily activities (banking, shopping), access online information (computers, TV) and communications (telephones, access to education (eBooks, and computers), access to employment (travelling, computers, and telephones), leading to less risk of poverty.

The Commission reiterated its commitment to accessibility in its 2015 work programme 23 that stated: “The European Commission is committed to equality of opportunity for people with disabilities, in full respect of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities. This includes accessibility to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and systems (ICT) and other facilities/services.”

2.2.Nature and scale of the problem

In order to focus the scope of this initiative it was necessary to identify those goods and services that were relevant for accessibility and for which there are problems in the internal market. Having a concrete list of goods and services would allow for the identification of the various options to remove the problems and for the calculations of the impacts of those options. Covering all goods and services which are relevant for accessibility would be unnecessary as for some of them no evidence of internal market problems was established. Divergent national accessibility requirements exist for many goods and services, but especially in the areas of the built environment, transport and information and communication technologies as well as in public procurement 24 as, they also play a role as key enablers for the accessibility of services. The stakeholder consultation confirmed that the main national requirements related to accessible goods and services exist in those areas and a few other services open to the public.

To design an objective list, a step by step approach 25 has been undertaken. Firstly, a vast identification of possible relevant areas covered by the UN Convention and by EU legislation has been initiated. A list of 87 goods and services relevant for persons with disabilities and other persons with functional limitations was established mainly related to the 3 key enablers.

-    Information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems (31 goods and services);

-    Built (physical) environment (24 goods and services);

-    Transportation (14 goods and services); and

-    Other areas (18 goods and services).

In addition, respondents to the public consultation were asked which goods and services should be given priority in relation to accessibility for persons with disabilities and elderly. The respondents, both organisations 26 and citizens 27 (respective percentages indicated in brackets respectively), indicated the following areas/sectors as most important:

-Information and communication (39% and 16%),

-Transport and mobility (36% and 33%),

-Built environment (27% and 20%),

-Health (17% and 14%),

-Public services (16% and 9%),

-Education (14% and 12%),

-Other goods and services (12% and 11%),

-Culture and/or leisure (8% and 6%),

-Employment (5% and 6%),

-Integration in society (4% and 3%),

-Tourism (3% and 3%).

Other respondents declared that all sectors mentioned should be a priority (14% and 8% respectively), and that none of them should be given a priority (1% and 1%). The “other” category includes support services (5% and 2%), and other individual products.

Then, the next step of prioritisation and selection of goods and services entailed a quantitative and qualitative screening based respectively on:

-    the result of the EC public consultation to identify the goods and services deemed as most relevant by the public,

-    the review of existing national legislations to identify divergent requirements; and

-    interviews with accessibility experts and stakeholders to clarify priorities.

In this step, the list of 87 relevant goods and services was reduced to 23 (the list is provided in Annex 5) by keeping only those for which the analysis showed that the coverage of national legislation could lead to obstacles to the well-functioning of the internal market and after due consideration of EU competences.

This preliminary prioritisation was refined based on an in-depth analysis of the accessibility legislation in 9 EU Member States that cover about 80% of the EU GDP and 77% of the EU population. From the remaining 23 goods and services, the final list was extracted after:

-    the in-depth analysis and comparison of the divergent approaches of national accessibility legislation

-    considering the existence of technical accessibility requirements that would lead to problems in the internal market, and

-    clarifying the EU competences.

The final list of goods and services reflects the outcome of the criteria applied and the evidence that was gathered. The absence of evidence of problems for other relevant goods and services does not necessarily prove that no problem exists in relation to accessibility but they were retained from further consideration in this Impact Assessment, and priority was given to include those where gathered evidence justified immediately their selection.

A more detailed description of this screening process is provided in Annex 5. The following list shows the final priority goods and services that are considered in this impact assessment.

-Computers and Operating Systems;

-Digital TV services and equipment;

-Telephony services and related terminal equipment;

-eBooks;

-Self-service terminals including ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines;

-eCommerce;

-Banking services (concerning ATMs, built-environment and websites);

-Passenger transport services - Air, Rail, Bus and Maritime (concerning ticketing and check-in machines, built-environment 28 and websites);

-Hospitality services (concerning built-environment and websites).

Drawing on the various consultations and surveys carried out with interested parties, it emerges that the current patchwork of fragmented accessibility requirements for the priority goods and services across Member States results in barriers to the proper functioning of the internal market for accessible goods and services. In addition, the clarification of Member States' legal obligations under the UN Convention related to accessibility supports the forecast for additional barriers, as Member States will further develop their accessibility legislation.

A comprehensive overview of the legislation on accessibility in Member States is available online under the DOTCOM tool.  29 The information is structured around sectors like built-environment, transport and ICT.

The legal divergence of accessibility requirements has its consequences for the internal market and for the economic operators:

Firstly, the divergence of accessibility requirements already or potentially hinders the free movement of accessible goods and services. The economic operators who trade or envisage cross-border trading of products fulfilling the accessibility requirements of one Member State are at a disadvantage selling their products in other Member States. They need to find out about the accessibility requirements in other Member States and if they do not fulfil differing mandatory accessibility requirements they need to adapt their products 30 , or miss export opportunities.

The lack of legal certainty as to what requirements are practised in other Member States (including how the accessibility obligation is interpreted) also hinders free movement in the sense that the economic operator will often rather focus on the better known national markets instead of investing time and money to trade cross-border.

Secondly, the current fragmented accessibility requirements across Member States 31 is resulting in limited competition among EU industry on the market of accessible goods and services, which thereby tend to become national markets of more limited size 32 . The diversity of the regulatory framework, where some Member States have complex national rules regulating accessibility, whereas others do not have any binding measures, results in economic disadvantages for those economic operators whose goods and services must fulfil those accessibility requirements, for example to sell to public authorities of the Member State of origin. 33  

Thirdly, barriers to trade may also arise because of a lack of information concerning the goods and services which are potentially available, or the accessibility requirements to which goods or services must conform. If industry does not inform consumers of what they are able to purchase, or how they can purchase it, this makes it harder for providers of the relevant goods and services to enter the market in question. In practice, a lack of consumer information causes consumers to stick to what they know and to be reluctant to consider new products. This typically results in national markets remaining national, and established national suppliers of goods and services being protected from new entry by competitors from other countries. Consumer information is therefore a necessary part of opening markets and removing barriers to trade resulting from consumers’ reluctance or inability to purchase new or cross-border products or services.

The internal market problems/barriers for businesses would increase given the limited cross-border trade/sales of the accessible goods/services (which may also result in limited economies of scale), the costs related to adaptation of the relevant good/service, the lack of investment in accessibility of the goods/services, the difficulties to compete in the market and the difficulties in particular for SMEs to enter new markets 34 . A similar effect is expected on barriers for consumers related to limited cross-border consumption of the relevant good/service, i.e. disabled consumers may face higher costs. They will not be able to benefit as other consumers from the benefits of the internal market in terms of price, choice and quality.

2.2.1.Some concrete examples of legislative divergence leading to market fragmentation

The Deloitte study's report contains a detailed picture of the risk of market fragmentation for each of the sectors considered as Member States strengthen their accessibility rules to address the obligations enshrined in the UN Convention. In particular, legislation seems to be needed to ensure that private facilities and services opened to the public are accessible.

The examples provided in the report, based on evidence gathered from the industry and structured around the following three clusters, illustrate some of the problems that are faced by businesses:

Fragmentation of accessibility requirements in the areas of:

o    Self-service terminals;

o    Audiovisual media services; and

o    Built environment.

Cross-border trade in the areas of:

o    Ticketing machines;

o    Digital terrestrial television equipment;

o    Web-accessibility.

Lack of economies of scale in the areas of:

o    Ticketing machines;

o    ATMs.

Some of those concrete examples are further described below.

Websites

Whether in the transport, hospitality, banking or retail service, offering accessible services online to individuals with disabilities requires web-accessibility, i.e. websites have to be accessible to all people, no matter whether they have disabilities or not. Different approaches to web-accessibility of public sector websites have been taken in 13 EU Member States 35 . Some Member States have already extended their accessibility requirements for public sector websites to private sector websites. 36 If the rest of the Member States were also to do so, this would lead to a strongly fragmented regulatory landscape for private sector websites.

Self-Service Terminals (SSTs)

There are significant differences between the accessibility requirements for Self-Service Terminals (SSTs) (including ATMs) specified by legislation, standards and technical guidance documents across Europe. For instance, an SST with a height of operation of 1250 mm would be considered as accessible in France and Ireland, while it would be considered as inaccessible in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Norway and the UK. Similarly, an SST with a height of operation of 750 mm would be considered as accessible in the UK, while it would be assessed as inaccessible in Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Ireland and Spain. With regard to knee space provided below the SST in order to make the operating devices reachable (i.e. accessible) for wheelchair users, (diverging) technical requirements exist in Germany, France and the UK, while no requirements have been defined in the other countries within the scope of our analysis. Similar problems can be observed with regard to the minimum requirements for the access area in front of the SSTs as well as the degree of coverage of ICT-related accessibility issues. Leading SST manufacturers have reported that such regulatory differences in technical requirements lead to obstacles in the internal market and additional costs for accessibility because they have to familiarise with the diverging national accessibility requirements and adapt their products in order to be able to sell them in the different sub-markets within the internal market 37 .

Built environment

All EU Member States require some built environment elements, including those where some services are offered to the public, to be designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities. Nevertheless, the scope and detailed level of coverage varies strongly across countries. While some Member States have implemented specific accessibility requirements for transport facilities for example 38 , other Member States cover the accessibility of facilities with general requirements for buildings open to the public and for the external built environment (e.g. general rules for ramps, signage, manoeuvring spaces, etc.). Furthermore, the detailed technical specifications for the accessibility requirements vary across Member States. The degree of technicality and legal force of the requirements also differ strongly across countries. As a result, architectural designs that are exported to other countries have to be adapted to meet national codes and regulations, and consequently no single, standard design can be put to use across Europe. Due to Member States’ obligations under the UN Convention, it is likely that all EU Member States will maintain and further develop their technical accessibility requirements for the built environment by 2020, including those requirements that are relevant for the provision of accessible services (e.g. provisions for buildings open to the public, for the external built environment and specifically for transport). Convergence will potentially be fostered by currently on-going standardisation work at European level, under the Commission's standardisation request M/420 to European standardisation organisations, but this cannot be considered as sufficient. Indeed, the results of the first phase of M/420 identified a set of divergent standards on accessibility (in terms of scope and level of detail) along with various methods to assess conformity with those standards for the built environment. 39 In the absence of EU legislation, the standardisation work at European level is not binding on Member States, therefore there is no guarantee that European standards would be used in a harmonised manner all over the EU instead of national rules. Knowing that national accessibility requirements already exist in all Member States and considering that, as an annual average, 5% of the existing built environment is refurbished 40 , we can assume that in 10 years, half of the existing buildings will already be renewed according to the criteria of the related national legislation.

Computers

As regards computers, binding technical accessibility requirements can be identified in two EU Member States: Italy and Spain. Guidelines are in place in Ireland. As concerns the content of the technical accessibility requirements, the Italian and Spanish technical standards are different: while one is heavily inspired by the mandatory “Section 508 Standards” 41 of the US Rehabilitation Act, which is products-oriented, the other is more based on ISO standards, focusing on the functionality of the several hardware and software components. Section 508 contains technical requirements with regard to the accessibility of, among other things, operating systems 42 , desktop and portable computers 43 . The number of EU Member States that are likely to produce their own national requirements is expected to increase in the future given national action plans and commitments to accessibility, particularly in light of the signing and ratification of the UN Convention by Member States. Probably Member States will produce their own rules based on variations of these documents.

Since becoming compulsory in the US, Section 508 standards were adopted by the computer industry as the global de facto accessibility standards. Section 508 standards are in the process of being substantially reviewed and modernised (‘refreshed’) by the US Access Board 44 with references to various international technical standards. A draft version of the new “Section 508 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” 45 was first published in December 2011, with an additional revised draft version in 2015, and it is expected that the final rules will be published in 2016. There is no mechanism in the Spanish standard or the Italian legislation for these national requirements to be updated to keep pace with the new guidelines, setting the scene for fragmentation to occur between these national requirements and those in the reviewed Section 508.

The new Section 508 standards are a significant departure from the current standards. They are not structured according to types of ICT but around “characteristics” that are found in many different types of technology. This is due to the converging nature of technologies such as computers, smart phones and games consoles. The newer requirements differ greatly in content as well. New Section 508's requirements will be more explicit.

European standards are being developed in line with the revised Section 508 standards. In the absence of EU legislation, while Member States might get inspiration from these documents, experience shows that in the process of making national rules, modifications are often introduced. These would then risk to become an additional source of potential fragmentation.

2.3.Current situation and evolution of the problem in the baseline scenario

This section assesses for each priority good and service and for public procurement the current situation of regulatory fragmentation, its likely development by 2020 if no EU action is taken (baseline) and related problems in the internal market. It is important to note that EU funding from programmes like the European Structural and Investment Funds or the Connecting Europe Facility are often spent through public procurement. 46

The estimation of future regulatory fragmentation, of the market size at risk of fragmentation 47 , and of the costs for businesses to comply with the different national accessibility requirements in the baseline scenario are based on the results of the Deloitte study. The proportion of fragmented legislation found in the 9 Member States examined in detail in the study is used to extrapolate the situation in the EU. The results of the information collected by ANED in the (then) 27 Member States are used to validate these data.

The calculation of the costs in the baseline scenario are based on a set of basic assumptions, including market volume, proportion of cross-border trade and the additional costs of developing accessible goods and services. An assessment of the current market situation (2011) in monetary terms has been calculated applying either a “top-down” or a “bottom-up” approach. In the top-down approach, estimates of the costs of accessibility are derived from overall market turnover figures by assuming that the costs of accessibility account for a share of overall market turnover, while the bottom-up approach starts from data on the cost of making an individual good or service accessible. The assessment of the baseline scenario, i.e. cost related to no EU action by 2020, takes the same approach. It builds on the accessibility costs for 2011 multiplied by the share of cross-border trade and the larger number of Member States expected to legislate for accessibility as well as their GDP taking into account projected market growth. Account is also taken of the costs that firms will incur in adapting their products to meet different national accessibility requirements, and the costs of understanding these different requirements.

Detailed descriptions of the problems for each good and service can be found in Annex 6. For more details regarding the methodology, data sources and assumptions made please refer to Annex 7, based on the Deloitte study, which also includes a sensitivity analysis showing how varying the different assumptions influences the cost estimates.

Computers and Operating Systems

Current situation    
Computers
48 and their operating systems are a “platform” that enables the use of application software, peripheral devices and access to the Internet. They have a close relationship with other categories of goods such as peripheral equipment e.g. mice, keyboards, printers, photocopiers, assistive devices and application software such as word processors and spread sheets.

Computer accessibility refers to the use of a computer system by as many people as possible, regardless of their abilities or age. Software, hardware, or a combination of hardware and software are used to enable use of a computer by persons with a disability or impairments. Alternatives to visual input and provision of visual feedback, for example, in terms of voice and flexibility, and personalisation of interfaces like alternatives to keyboards, or the use of large fonts, high resolution displays, high-contrast themes and icons, supplemented with auditory feedback and screen magnifying software, allow not only disabled persons to use computers but benefit the large majority of working age population in terms of comfort of use, thereby having an impact on productivity 49 .

Available evidence suggests that the use of computers by persons with disabilities is 50% less than that of persons without disabilities. 50 In addition, information about the accessibility of computers and operating systems is not systematically provided: for instance, only 33% of the main computer manufacturers provide accessibility information. 51

Out of the sample of 9 Member States, currently 2 Member States, Italy and Spain, representing 21% of GDP of the EU-27, have accessibility requirements in place related to computer hardware and software. In addition, voluntary accessibility guidelines have been introduced for public procurers in Ireland. ANED identified existing requirements in 5 other EU Member States. Developments to adopt new legislation or accessibility requirements have been identified in two further Member States, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

The market for computers and operating systems is a global market. The legislation in Italy, while initially based on the “Section 508 Standards” of the US Rehabilitation Act, introduces some changes; in Spain it is based on ISO 9241-171 and EMC- 29136 standards, but contains additional elements or addresses some issues in a different way 52 .

Baseline
For the baseline scenario, the potential for additional fragmentation to occur in 2020 appears to be high. In light of the ratification of the UN Convention by Member States and the obligations of Article 9, the number of Member States likely to establish accessibility requirements for computers and operating systems is expected to increase. Member States introducing new accessibility requirements are likely to base them on the forthcoming revised US compulsory standards.
53 As in the case of Italy and Spain, it is expected that Member States will modify those requirements in the process of adapting them to become national rules, thereby increasing the fragmentation.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is conservatively estimated that 6 Member States will have adopted divergent accessibility requirements for computers and operating systems in the EU by 2020. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €84 500m.

Those requirements could be different with respect to the type of information on accessibility that needs to be made available and functionality requirements, such as requirements for connectors and ports configurations, commands and functionalities of the user interfaces, key board configurations, etc. are also expected to be different.

Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at €82m.

Industry representatives 54 have confirmed the risks of this future regulatory fragmentation. They called the market for accessibility of computers “uncertain”. This relates specifically to the uncertainty for industry of having different countries developing their own sets of accessibility requirements. They stated a “huge cost” would be incurred as a result of “the time lawyers have to take looking at the situation, new coordination with providers design testing, development etc.”; this cost would be passed onto the consumer.

Audiovisual media services 55 and Digital TV equipment 56

Current situation    
There are two aspects of audiovisual media where accessibility considerations arise for viewers with disabilities – the equipment and the services. Television is moving in the EU from analogue to digital and access services also move to second-screens. Due to convergence of technology, accessibility requirements can be now addressed more easily due to new possibilities offered by the connectivity of the devices to the Internet. Digital terrestrial television (DTT) equipment includes digital decoders such as set-top boxes and iDTV (integrated digital TVs) and the remote control needed to use these. Their user interface and circuitry to support access services is affected by divergent rules. The services concern
 the audio-visual content provided in broadcasting and on-demand services and navigation menus, notably technical aspects of access services such as font size and other aspects of how subtitles and menus presented to the user are rendered on-screen, and coding of audio description. It also concerns user interfaces on connected devices displaying web-based audiovisual media services.

Accessibility of DTT equipment concerns the configuration and usability of the hardware (screens, buttons, etc.) and software (menus, programme guides, pause/rewind/record functions, etc.). This equipment can sometimes be very difficult to use for people with sensory and physical disabilities. For example, people with vision impairments often find it difficult or impossible to see the labels on a remote control or to read on-screen text. They may require a remote control with clearly labelled buttons that can be distinguished by touch.

Accessibility of the service concerns mainly the availability of audiovisual content via alternative sensory channels, for example, using text or sign language, or audio description. Sign language is meant for people who are deaf and audio description for people who are vision impaired or blind. Captions and subtitles provide a written transcript of the dialogue and other important sounds contained in the programme. Audio description (sometimes referred to as video description) provides a spoken narration during pauses in the dialogue, describing important visual content such as moving objects, actions and facial expressions. Accessibility problems also concern the limited accessibility of EPGs (electronic programme guides) and navigation menus, and the availability of accessible information to facilitate complementarities with assistive services.

The main accessibility problems of DTT equipment are linked to the information provided about their accessibility, for example in the packaging, the lack of information about the instructions for use (of set-top boxes and remote controls), installation and maintenance, storage and disposal, limitations about the functionality of the good by providing functions aimed to address the needs of persons with functional limitations, limited accessibility of the remote controls, and the limited interfacing with assistive devices. According to studies, the current level of accessibility of DTT equipment is only 33% 57 .

Out of the sample of 9 Member States, for DTT equipment 8 Member States were found to have accessibility requirements representing 77% of the EU’s GDP for DTT equipment 58 . These requirements differ in scope and technical rules, those technical differences might limit the correct use of accessibility features when broadcasting the service outside the Member State. Annex 6 provides an overview of obligations, technical requirements, standards and guidelines with regard to the accessibility of DTT equipment in the selected 9 Member States.

While most national rules for DTT equipment relates to the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) family of standards, fragmentation relates to the selected components of the specifications of that family, the compression rules used, the technical rules for the support of subtitles and audio description sometimes using the circuitry of the receiver to mix the signals. Fragmentation also concerns, for example, the design of remote controls, sometimes requiring specific buttons for subtitles and audio and audio description.

As regards audiovisual media services, all 9 Member States in the sample have introduced some kind of accessibility requirements, representing 80% of the EU’s GDP,  59 with the nature, legal force and coverage of these varying considerably across the countries. These requirements typically take the form of target percentages of the broadcast programmes which need to be covered by accessibility services such as subtitling, audio description and sign language interpretation. Only two Member States have adopted specific rules for non-linear audiovisual media service providers.

While most countries have set legal targets for accessibility rates for both public and private broadcasters, Italy and Germany have only established contractual target agreements with public broadcasters. Target levels of broadcasting accessibility services vary between countries in both the quantities and types of broadcasting accessibility services to be provided. While required levels for subtitling are strong for most public broadcasters (from 80% upwards in most cases) these fall significantly for commercial broadcasters. Levels for the provision of audio description tend to be much lower. Coupled with this, the mechanisms for calculating a broadcaster’s achievement of these targets vary, with some broadcasters counting shows that have been imported from other networks and shows that are repeated after midnight with subtitles towards their targets. Other broadcasters such as the BBC in the UK have made significant efforts to subtitle most of their live broadcasting. With TV broadcasting being delivered in real time across the EU adaptation to the accessibility services would need to be made in order to comply with different national rules.

Baseline        
Given Member States’ commitment under Article 30 of the UN Convention to “take all appropriate measure[s] to ensure (…) access to television programmes in accessible formats” and the requirements in EU legislation 60 that oblige Member States to encourage media service providers to make their services gradually accessible to people with visual or hearing disabilities, it is likely that Member States will continue to increase accessibility obligations both on the DTT equipment and audiovisual media services.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that 24 Member States will have adopted accessibility requirements for audiovisual media services and digital TV equipment in the EU by 2020. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €2 400m (equipment) and €112 700m (services).

Those requirements could be different with respect to the type of information on accessibility that needs to be made available. Functionality requirements, such as the subtitles, signing and audio description, and the standards used for codifying and broadcasting those signals, as well as the remote control designs could also be expected to be different.

Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €7m (equipment) and €2 300m (services).

Telephony services and related terminal equipment

Current situation    
Telephony services are those that can support communications between two or more people over a distance by electronic means. The communication normally happens by voice but for some disabled persons the equivalent communication happens through the use of sign language via video and real time text or the combination of the three of them. To make those services accessible Member States have taken a number of measures including (i) the provision of accessible information, (ii) the accessibility of the directory enquiry service, (iii) the accessibility of the bills, (iv) the accessibility of public pay phones, (v) the provision of relay services, (vi) the availability of special tariffs for disabled persons, (vii) the provision of special terminal equipment, (viii) the adaptation of public pay phones to be accessible and (ix) the accessibility of emergency services
61 . The internal market issues related to these accessibility services as the equivalent of voice telephony also concerns the use of real time text and video separately or in combination with voice across Member States, whether directly on personal communications, via relay services, or, for example, when calling the European emergency number 112 from another Member State than the one where the telephony service was contracted. A person using real time text or SMS in one country for that purpose is not guaranteed the use of that technical solution in another country.

Examples of accessibility of telephony services

Accessible “voice” telephony for deaf persons has been achieved in some cases by the provision of video telephones that permit persons using sign language to communicate among themselves. In other cases this has been achieved by the provision of Real Time Text (RTT) permitting in addition those deaf and hard of hearing persons that are not sign language users to communicate directly among themselves, and also with persons without hearing difficulties. Usually RTT is provided as a separate service not connected to general voice telephony. The introduction of SMS (Short Message Service) has allowed some mainstreaming of written communication but cannot be considered equivalent to voice conversation. New messages systems provide new opportunities but their interoperability and their use in 112 calls remains an issue. Recent efforts, for example, related to the provision of 112 emergency services provide for the combination of coordinated video and RTT in solutions called “Total Conversation”. The term Total Conversation is defined by the ITU-T recommendation F.703 as “An audiovisual conversation service providing bidirectional symmetric real-time transfer of motion video, text and voice between users in two or more locations”. ITU-T does not refer to interoperability with relay services.

Terminal equipment is necessary in order to be able to effectively communicate using a telephony service 62 . Terminal equipment can be subdivided into fixed and mobile phones.

Examples of accessible terminals

Accessible terminals include both hardware and software aspects and relate to the provision of information about the accessibility features of the terminals, the accessibility of the design of their user interface, addressing issues related to the input, the output, the control functions, and the display. Other issues relate to interoperability with assistive devices in terms of connectivity and compatibility for example avoidance of interference for hearing aids. The accessibility features of terminals concerning text and video communication depends on the hardware configuration and the software available.

Unlike for voice communication, for real time text and video interoperability problems remain across Member States. This is the case for example in relation to specialist terminal equipment and related relay services. Furthermore, national rules on measures to be taken by operators differ on the scope, and technical solutions, for example, in relation to adapted public pay phones and access to emergency services. Operators need to develop different national solutions in the Member States and users of these services have difficulties to access them from another Member State.

The accessibility problems of the terminals (telephones) are linked to the packaging, including the accessibility information provided in it, the limited accessibility information about the instructions for use, installation and maintenance, limitations about the accessibility of their user interface and the functionality aimed to provide total conversation and the interfacing with assistive devices.

Following the revision of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications in 2011, 63 Member States are obliged to take special measures to ensure that disabled persons have affordable access to fixed telephony services, including emergency services, directory enquiry services and directories. In addition, several Member States like Spain and the UK are considering making mobile telephony and Internet access accessible for disabled people and some are taking measures to ensure that disabled users can benefit from a choice between providers of services.

Out of the sample of 9 Member States all have developed different legislation, technical rules, programmes and practices putting direct obligations on services providers that affect telephony services and equipment in a different way. A report of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) 64 concludes inter alia that “most significant differences exist with regard to telecommunications-related services to be provided by the operators in different Member States” 65 .

The differences in national accessibility requirements make it particularly difficult for SMEs, for examples those that want to provide solutions for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired persons or relay services, to be able to enter the market or compete with large established industry, for example, for the provision of total conversation solutions.

Out of the sample of 9 Member States there were no direct obligations placed on terminal manufacturers. The obligations on the provision of accessible terminals are imposed indirectly through obligations placed on telecommunication service providers. These obligations also differ in content and scope. Member States have very detailed and diverse technical requirements for public pay phones concerning their user interface and some design features. Several Member States require connection and access to the fixed network and services for users of relay services. In relation to access to emergency service Portugal requires accessibility of handsets for fixed telephony. Furthermore, Polish legislation contains a provision allowing "…to specify additional requirements for the adaptation and use by disabled persons" for terminal equipment placed on the market, while according to the MEAC Study the following Member States have some standards and guidelines concerning telephone devices: Germany Sweden, United Kingdom and Ireland, that has in addition some legal obligations 66 .

The recent proposal for a Regulation 67 laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent recognises the general fragmentation in the telecommunications market in the EU. It provides for a number of measures related to the single market for electronic communications like inter alia a single authorisation for operating in all 28 Member States (instead of 28 authorisations) and enhanced end-user protection and empowerment measures in the electronic communications sector. These provisions refer to inter alia transparency and publication of information and information requirements for contract, under which specific references to information for disabled end-users are contained. However, the proposal does not harmonise the existing specific provisions for persons with disabilities under the EU regulatory framework which would remain subject to national transposition and implementation measures, such as the relevant provisions focusing on the provision of information about measures taken to ensure equivalence in access and choice for disabled end-users and about more specific details of goods and services designed for disabled persons. The provision of accessible services and terminals will continue to depend on the accessibility requirements stemming from national rules.

 Baseline    
In the baseline scenario, the divergence in accessibility requirements for both telephony services and terminals is expected to increase by 2020. First, the UN Convention requires Member States to make communication technologies and systems accessible including electronic services and emergency services. Second, following the trend in the US, where regulations exist for services, networks and equipment placing obligations on operators and manufacturers and technical standards are being updated, national legislations are expected to address new technological developments and have implications for technical accessibility standards that would be divergent. As in the case of computers, in Europe efforts on standardisation in this area have happened within the request M/376 to develop a voluntary standard taking into account the foreseen changes in US legislation section 508. A standard is already published but being voluntary this cannot prevent Member States of taking divergent legislative measures. Third, the BEREC 2011 report notes that seven Member States have put in place obligations with respect to terminal equipment under Universal Service and that Article 23a of the 2009 Universal Service Directive is not specific regarding the measures that can or cannot be mandated by National Regulatory Authorities under it. National legislation is needed to comply with the accessibility requirements in the Universal Service Directive. In spite of certain enhancements proposed in the draft Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent
68 and further BEREC work on implementation for these rules, specific measures on disabled end-users at national level would continue to differ across Member States subject to national transposition and implementation measures. The rules related to emergency services (Emergency services and the single European emergency call number 112 under Article 26 USD) are likely to be strengthened by Member States to provide direct access to emergency services, as required by the same Directive, via text telephony, and video phone service with implications for divergent technical accessibility requirements for terminals. Fixed phones and public pay phones are becoming obsolete and are being replaced by mobile phones. Consequently, the implementation of the existing obligations of equal access to 112 cannot be conceived without ensuring the accessibility of mobile phone terminals. Hence it is expected that current accessibility obligations in Member State for fixed and public pay phones will evolve to cover more and more mobile phones.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is assumed that, in 2020, 20 Member States will have adopted additional accessibility requirements related to the above-mentioned telephony services. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €10 000m.

Regarding terminals it was estimated that 6 Member States will have adopted legislative accessibility requirements 69 . The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €75 200m.

The differences of those requirements could increase with respect to their content and scope for example, those related to the technical standards used for 'total conversation' affecting mobile devices and the relay services specific terminal equipment 70 as well as the technical solutions to be provided not solving interoperability problems and requiring the redesign /retrofitting of the accessibility solutions across Member States.

Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €60.5m (equipment) and about €1 000m (services).

eBooks

Current situation    
Electronic books, generally referred to “eBooks”, are books that are provided in digital form, consisting of text and/or images and which are readable on computers, mobile telephones or other electronic devices, such as dedicated eBook readers.

Making eBooks accessible includes mark-up of eBook as per its semantics (headings, pages, footnotes etc.) and then converting it for example to DAISY XML and DAISY text-only book. The work can start from unformatted electronic files using Word, TXT, HTML etc. The DAISY XML file can be used to create other accessible formats such as Braille and audio while the DAISY text-only book can be directly used for reading purposes.

In some cases problems also occur when copyright protection limits the end-user’s access rights to convert the eBook from text to speech and/or when the software/reader does not support this facility. Other accessibility problems include the limited accessible information about the functioning of the service and the accessibility characteristics of the publications themselves, including interoperability with assistive devices, and the limited accessible online related applications, including electronic information needed in the provision of the service.

Industry players interviewed for this impact assessment have pointed out the following challenges when operating in the EU internal market: technical problems related to the accessibility formats; a narrow and fragmented market; a costly, overly complicated and time-consuming process of acquiring information and knowledge on accessibility for SMEs; no specific guidance on accessibility; and rapidly changing requirements and technologies. Furthermore, several accessibility features would need to be considered to take into account consumers’ different abilities. For these reasons, many eBook industry players consider that the incentives are very limited to invest in accessible products, leading to fewer than one in three eBooks being accessible 71 .

Out of the 9 Member States from the Deloitte study, currently only Italy has adopted legal technical accessibility requirements for eBooks. These cover the structure, navigation features, use of images, graphs and tables, magnification features, content export and interoperability with reading devices and assistive technology 72 . In addition, 6 Member States have adopted copyright exemptions for disabled persons. While these do not impose direct accessibility obligations, they are likely to lead to the use of particular accessibility formats in practice that will probably differ among countries. ANED identified accessibility requirements on eBooks in five EU Member States in addition to Italy.

Baseline    
Considering these issues for the development of the baseline scenario by 2020 it is expected that more Member States will have adopted technical accessibility requirements for eBooks. This assumption is also based on Member States’ commitments under the UN Convention as well as the strong growth of the eBook market.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is assumed that new accessibility requirements will have emerged in 7 EU Member States by 2020. Those requirements are likely to differ from Member State to Member State, in terms of accessibility formats and the features to be covered. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €1 500m.

The divergent accessibility requirements would increase costs for businesses and consumers. Divergent accessibility requirements across countries would lead to obstacles in cross-border trade, notably a need for product adaptations for the different submarkets, thus leading to additional costs for businesses, which are estimated at €96m.

Self-service terminals

Current situation    
Self-service terminals (SSTs) are computerised telecommunications devices or electronic outlets that provide users with access to various operations in public spaces without assistance from personnel of the provider of the good/service. SSTs are commonly used in sectors such as banking (automatic teller machines - ATMs), and transport services (check-in machines and ticketing machines).

It is important that both the SSTs hardware and software are accessible. The main limitations in accessibility of SSTs are linked to limited accessibility of the user interface and limited interoperability with assistive devices, which even when existent, is very seldom consistent across the EU 73 .

The following accessibility problems have been highlighted both in the public consultation and by the other sources of information consulted: the height of the machine relative to users in a wheelchair; the lack of similarity of the display from one machine to another (inconsistent layout of keypads, number orientation, size and style of the keys, colour and contrast); the lack of audio output; the small print of the receipts issued by SSTs which makes them difficult to read, and poor general functionality. In addition, according to the public consultation, there needs to be a requirement for SSTs to use the already existing speech technology, as speech technology is seen as adding significant value to usability 74 .

Out of the sample of 9 Member States, 5 (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and UK) were found to have binding technical accessibility requirements for ATMs and 6 (Austria, Spain, France, Denmark, Germany, UK) for ticketing machines and for check-in machines. ANED identified at least six other Member States with legislative accessibility requirements in this area.

There are significant differences between the accessibility requirements for SSTs specified by legislation, standards and technical guidance documents across Europe. 75 These include issues such as the height of operation, the knee space or the access area in front of the SSTs. As a result, adaptations for the different national markets within the internal market are necessary. Interviewed SST manufacturers reported that the fragmentation and inconsistency of accessibility requirements across the EU prevent them from exploiting potential economies of scale of Europe-wide or worldwide standardised products. These differences also lead to additional costs because they have to familiarise themselves with the diverging national accessibility requirements and adapt their products in order to be able to sell them in the different national markets within the internal market.

Baseline    
In the baseline scenario these differences, both related to the physical setting, and the user interface, hardware and software are expected to increase by 2020 as Member States implement the UN Convention and introduce additional accessibility requirements for SSTs.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that in 2020, 15 Member States will have adopted legislative accessibility requirements for ATMs, and 18 Member States will have adopted legislative accessibility requirements for ticketing machines and check-in machines. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €71m for ATMs, at €6m for checking machines and €37m for ticketing machines.

Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €300 000 for ATMs, €30 000 for checking machines and €185 000 for ticketing machines.

Services' key enablers

The calculation of the impacts on the services below (namely eCommerce, banking, transport and hospitality services) for the online and the built environment components is based on a common assessment for private sector websites and architect services. This section contains a description of the current situation and baseline for these areas.

Current situation private sector websites    
Web accessibility means making websites usable by people regardless of their abilities. When websites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality either directly or by interoperable assistive solutions. Websites are nowadays an essential component of service delivery in several economic sectors. It is essential that several different components of web development and interaction work together in order for the web to be accessible to people with disabilities. These components
76 include: contents (information in a web page or web application), web browsers, media players and other “user agents”, assistive technology (e.g. screen readers, alternative keyboards, switches, scanning software, etc.), authoring tools and evaluation tools. This section concerns private sector websites from the perspective of businesses, meaning web developers.

The accessibility of private sector websites is low. The MEAC 2 study 77 found that 18% of websites were accessible. Current problems with accessibility of websites relate to the navigation and their structure, content presentation, text alternatives for graphics, and the user interface, for example, functionality available from the keyboard and compatibility with assistive devices.

In the sample of 9 Member States, currently only Spain, representing 9% of GDP, has mandatory accessibility requirements related to private sector websites that impose a national technical standard. In other countries like the UK service providers are required to make their websites accessible but without obliging a particular accessibility standard. Voluntary standards to promote web-accessibility among private businesses have also been identified in Italy and the United Kingdom. The ANED study identified requirements for private sector websites in five additional Member States (Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Netherlands and Slovenia).

Baseline for private sector websites    
When developing the baseline scenario, it is important to consider that the Commission has proposed to make public sector websites accessible
78 . Stakeholders in this area as well as users organisations consider the latter proposal an important step and suggest that similar requirements could be foreseen for companies offering services to the public (e.g. e-commerce websites). In the future, it is assumed that Member States will extend the accessibility requirements for public sector websites to private sector websites. In addition, it is expected that more Member States will adopt accessibility requirements for private sector services websites based on their obligations under the UN Convention.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is assumed that in 2020, 12 Member States will have adopted divergent accessibility requirements for private sector websites. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €214 500m.

It is expected that those requirements will be different with respect to the type of technical rules they follow given that national rules for public sector websites already differ in Member States.

Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for businesses, in the sectors considered under this exercise, to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €2 000m.

This information is used to calculate the costs related to website accessibility in the various services below and the related impacts in the various options.

Current situation for architect services    
Large architectural design companies regularly work across borders when a company wins a competition or is awarded a public procurement contract to design buildings in another Member State. Removing internal market barriers for architect services in relation to accessibility means that cross-border architect services are not impeded by divergent accessibility requirements related to the built environment. The built environments where the services are provided are an essential component of their accessibility. Consequently the legislative fragmentation concerning the design of accessible buildings has to be considered when assessing the problems of the accessibility of services. Currently, all Member States require built environment elements to be designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities but the detailed technical specifications for the accessibility requirements vary across Member States. There is no available statistical data in the EU regarding the percentage of the built environment that is accessible, however a Swiss study
79 assumes 30% of buildings to be generally accessible. Annex 6 provides examples of divergent technical accessibility requirements in the built environment with regard to ramps, doors, toilet room free space and staircases in 6 Member States.

Baseline for architect services    
Due to Member States’ obligations under the UN Convention, it is estimated that all EU Member States will maintain and further develop their technical accessibility requirements for the built environment by 2020. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at about €14 500m.

The differences in legislation and detailed technical accessibility requirements for the built environment lead to barriers for architectural design companies providing services across borders within the internal market 80 . Stakeholders pointed out that even for public buildings the divergence is quite significant and in some cases national legislation is inadequate. Businesses face extra costs every time they work on projects in other countries because they have to understand and comply with differing local regulations on accessibility and other technical areas. Accessibility requirements concerning issues such as entrances, corridors, stairways, placement of lifts, toilets and manoeuvring areas roughly affect 25% or more of the net space of buildings. The national requirements concerning these accessibility features diverge among Member States, sometimes, even at regional level 81 . Compliance with local requirements may require the hiring of local designers in order to operate swiftly enough during the design process, and to minimise the likelihood of expensive mistakes. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at €13m.

As noted above, the fragmentation of the legislative situation in the EU27 architect service market leads to additional costs for architect firms. Evidence from Germany suggests that architect fees are in the range of 10% to 13% of the total (monetary) building sum for new buildings and 15% to 18% for existing buildings 82 . Consequently, even if we only look to the architect fees, retrofitting to conform to accessibility rules appears to be more costly than building accessible from scratch. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the difference of costs of retrofitting according to criteria set out in a European Accessibility Act, instead of retrofitting according to national criteria, would reduce these costs.

eCommerce

Current situation    
eCommerce refers to retail services which are available online (independently of the existence or not of physical facilities).

Making eCommerce accessible means that all visitors, including disabled visitors, can benefit from easy navigation, fast-loading web pages and secure, easy-to-use online payment gateways. Website visitors should have the opportunity to browse a catalogue, search for goods and services, add items in their shopping carts, manage the shopping cart and then proceed to check-out in order to end their order. It is also important that the user is able to communicate with the e-shop management. Some retailers have developed their websites to fulfil accessibility guidelines and standards providing access to disabled consumers and are reporting an increase in revenues 83 .

Current problems with eCommerce accessibility mainly relates to the limited accessibility of the on-line related applications and information about the accessibility of the service. The current level of accessibility of eCommerce is estimated to be low using as a proxy the level of accessibility of private sector websites that concluded that only 3.9 % of the private sector websites tested complied with basic accessibility level. 84

Currently, from the 9 Member States in the Deloitte study only 1 Member State has adopted technical accessibility requirements for websites. The ANED study found that 2 additional Member States have legislation in place.

Baseline    
When developing the baseline scenario considering the coverage of accessibility of services including retail under national legislation and the shift toward online retail, the obligations Member States have under the UN Convention and the future mandatory accessibility obligations for public sector websites, which are likely to be extended to private sector websites, it is expected that the regulatory fragmentation will increase by 2020.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is assumed that in 2020, 12 Member States will have adopted divergent accessibility requirements related to eCommerce. Those requirements could be different with respect accessibility standards used for the related websites. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at about €4 500m.

The divergence in national accessibility requirements will lead to costs for business and for consumers who will not be able to benefit from lower prices and a larger offer of goods on-line. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €4 600m.

Banking services

Current situation    
Making banking services accessible means that three elements need to be accessible: (i) ATMs, (ii) on-line banking websites and (iii) the banking-related built environment. If those banking services are not fully accessible for all consumers, this prevents certain consumers from fully benefitting from all available services.

The current accessibility problems related to these elements are described above in the sections related to private sector websites, Self-service terminals and architect services. In summary regarding ATMs divergent rules exist for their design and usability as well as for the physical setting and surroundings.

Accessible online banking has implications for banks’ websites, information pages, and whether customers can manage their finances on-line. Divergent rules related to web accessibility requirements are reflected here.

The accessibility of the physical facilities (agencies /branches) is regulated through diverging building regulations and in some cases specific rules for banks are applied.

Currently, 11 Member States have adopted specific accessibility requirements for the built environment of banks. 85 ANED confirmed general obligations for the built environment of banks in 10 EU Member States.

Baseline    
The baseline in 2020 should be seen in light of the obligations of Member States under the UN Convention. Given the requirement in the UN Convention of “the equal right of persons with a disability to control their own financial affairs” it is likely that additional Member States will introduce additional technical accessibility requirements that will affect the provision of banking services in the EU.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that by 2020, 15 Member States are likely to have introduced technical accessibility requirements regarding ATMs. These countries are likely to develop requirements that may not be fully aligned with already existing requirements and create further differences regarding the user interface, design and physical characteristics. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €71m. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at €300 000.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that by 2020, 12 Member States may have introduced technical requirements for private sector websites and extend those to websites of businesses in the banking sector, as is already the case in Spain. This would lead to a fragmented regulatory landscape for online banking websites having to apply different technical accessibility standards. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €57m. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at €58m.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that by 2020, all Member States will have adopted technical accessibility requirements for the banking-related built environment by 2020. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation for the built environment including bank facilities is estimated at €2 200m. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at €17m.

Passenger transport services

Current situation    
EU legislation already regulates the right to assistance for person with disability in the various transport modes and accessibility to vehicles in the case of rail and busses. Beyond the vehicles, making transport (by air, railway, bus or maritime and inland waterways) services accessible means that three elements need to be accessible: (i) on-line transport websites, and (ii) the self-service terminals used for checking-in and selling of tickets and (iii) the transport-related built environment. If those transport services are not fully accessible for all consumers, certain consumers cannot fully benefit from all available services.

The current accessibility problems related to these three elements are described in the sections above on architect services, private sector websites, and self-service terminals.

Baseline    
It is expected that regulatory fragmentation for these 3 elements is likely to continue or increase by 2020, in particular because of the obligations of Member States under the UN Convention that requires State Parties to ensure accessibility to transportation.

Technical accessibility requirements for ticketing machines and check-in machines have been identified in 8 out of 9 Member States examined. Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that by 2020, 18 Member States are likely to have introduced technical accessibility requirements regarding ticketing machines and check-in machines. These countries are likely to develop requirements that may not be fully aligned with already existing requirements and create further differences in line with previous sections related to their user interface, design and physical characteristics. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at €43m for ticketing machines in the case of rail, bus and maritime transport and checking machines in the case of air transport. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated for ticketing machines at about €83 000 for each of rail and bus, €19 000 in the case of maritime transport, and €30 000 for check-in machines in the case of air transport.

Of the 9 Member States in the Deloitte study, 1 Member State has introduced accessibility requirements for private sector websites, which also cover transport services. Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that by 2020, 12 Member States may have introduced technical requirements for private sector websites and extend those to websites of businesses in the transport sector, as is already the case in Spain. This could lead to a fragmented regulatory landscape for online transport services’ websites. Websites operating across the EU would need to conform to different requirements related for example to the navigation and structure of pages. Under this scenario, the part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation for online transport services is about €580m for all the modes of transport together. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at €7.5m for air, €5m for rail, €556m for bus and €21m for maritime transport.

Currently, all Member States have specific accessibility requirements for the built environment of transport services, except for rail transport where EU rules are in place. In 2013 the Commission adopted a Directive (2013/9/EU) which amends Annex III to the Interoperability Directive (2008/57) by adding accessibility as an essential requirement. This means that various subsystems, among them the 'infrastructure' subsystem (including stations), must be accessible to persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility. Interoperability, in turn, can only be achieved at EU level; the Interoperability Directive states that "interoperability within the rail system in Community-wide scale, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States since no individual Member State is in a position to take the action needed in order to achieve such interoperability and can therefore be better achieved at Community level". The technical specification of interoperability relating to persons with reduced mobility (PRM TSI) 86 serves the purpose of harmonising provisions and permitting interoperability. The related positive assessment of the costs and benefits of having accessibility requirements in the built environment of the rail transport services is included in the Impact Assessment Report of the PRM TSI, conducted at the time of its revision and scope extension. 87 The assessed benefits of harmonisation point to a similar direction than the assessment done for other modes of transport under this report.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is estimated that all Member States will maintain diverging technical accessibility requirements for the transport-related built environment by 2020. This could lead to a strongly fragmented regulatory landscape. Differences would concern signaging and wayfinding, rest areas, sanitary facilities, gradients of ramps, counters design, alarm systems.

Under this scenario, the part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is €2 200m for the built environment, including transport facilities in all modes of transport except rail. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €38 000 for air, €6.5m for bus and €26 000 for maritime transport.

Hospitality services

Current situation    
Hospitality services focuses on accommodation services that refer to the provision, for a fee, of sheltered overnight accommodation and may include the provision of food services, fitness and leisure activities and/or green areas. It contains a series of elements which, when accessible, allow for a fully user-friendly hospitality service for all consumers. This section only covers two elements of hospitality services: websites and the built environment.

Accessibility problems for those two elements of hospitality services relate e.g. to the insufficient availability of (comparable and reliable) information concerning the accessibility of hospitality services, as well as problems in relation to the actual accessibility of the built environment and websites where hospitality services can be booked. 88

The market for accessible hospitality services is short in supply, i.e. many disabled persons and older persons in Europe who want to use accessible hospitality services (and have sufficient means to do so) face insufficient and inadequate market offerings and thus do not consume as much of these services as they would wish.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 90% of the tourism sector in Europe. Accessibility is a vastly misunderstood concept for the tourism sector and especially for SMEs, who have not taken full advantage of the business opportunity. Accessibility is often perceived as a physical issue and therefore as an obligation to carry out costly alterations to the built environment: taking down walls, installing lifts, ramps - mainly for wheelchairs users, despite the fact that wheelchairs users are a small percentage of people with disabilities and reduced mobility.

Research and stakeholders confirm that the main barrier for tourism accessibility is lack of information (inaccessible websites, unreliable information on accessibility features) and attitudinal barriers (e.g. lack of staff training), followed by inaccessible facilities and premises.

Examples of accessibility problems in hospitality services

An empirical study from Germany shows that almost half (47%) of disabled customers with activity limitations travelling have experienced difficulties in terms of accommodation. According to customers with disabilities, the greatest barrier is the accessibility of the facilities. Furthermore, it is reported that there is also a lack of (online) information about the accessibility of accommodation establishments. The lack of standardised assessment and recording criteria means that even the existing range of accessible facilities is unclear and cannot be reliably assessed. 89 The same study shows that 37% of persons with activity limitations have in the past decided not to undertake a trip due to the lack of accessible facilities, equipment or services. According to the same survey, 48% of persons with disabilities would travel more frequently if more accessible facilities were available.

It appears that only 5.6% of the total known stock of accommodation units in Europe was accessible for wheelchair use in 2005. In the large majority of countries, the provision of accessible websites for information and booking of hospitality services mainly depends on voluntary action by service providers. 90 Research indicates that hospitality services' SMEs that improved their information on accessible facilities had an average increase of 30% in their occupancy rates. 91

With regard to the actual implementation of accessible websites by hospitality service providers, a recent study 92 reports relatively low degrees of progress across Europe. As a result, online information and booking services for (accessible) hospitality services across Europe remain mostly inaccessible, despite the fact that there is some legislation and voluntary standards in some Member States.

Concerning the built environment, of the sample of 9 Member States, all have adopted general technical accessibility requirements for hospitality services and facilities. 16 additional EU Member States have been identified by ANED as having some legislation in this area. 14 Member States 93 have specific requirements for hotels. In 3 countries those requirements are mandated at regional level. The divergence in accessibility requirements concerns for example, the number of rooms that need to be accessible, and technical accessibility requirements that vary largely across the EU. A hospitality service with a total capacity of 50 guest rooms would need to have 3 accessible guest rooms in Austria and none in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. A hospitality service with a total capacity of 120 guest rooms would need to have 6 accessible guest rooms in UK and Ireland, 2 in Austria and France and none in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Accessibility labels and certification schemes while intended to foster market development are creating confusion as their requirements, criteria and process for obtaining the related certificates are different and there is no mutual recognition across Member States.

Baseline    
Currently only 1 Member State has adopted mandatory
web-accessibility requirements for private hospitality undertakings. Due to their obligations under the UN Convention and the future mandatory rules on public sector websites accessibility which may be extended to private sector websites, based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is assumed that 12 Member States will have introduced technical accessibility requirements for private sector websites providing hospitality services by 2020. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation for online information provision and booking of hospitality services is about €2 180m.

Concerning the built environment, given the already high level of existing technical accessibility requirements for hospitality facilities, and UN Convention requirements that State Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure equal access of disabled persons to facilities and services open or provided to the public both in urban and rural areas, it is likely that all EU Member States may adopt new or develop existing technical accessibility requirements for the built environment in hospitality services by 2020. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation for the built environment including hospitality services is €2 200m.

The regulatory fragmentation with regard to accessibility requirements for hospitality services and websites across the EU is not only an obstacle for disabled citizens intending to travel across borders, but also for businesses that intend to provide accessible hospitality services in different Member States. Understanding different sets of regulations and ensuring compliance with differing accessibility requirements comes with substantial additional costs. For instance, large hospitality undertakings that operate cross-border have to comply with different national accessibility requirements in building regulations when building/adapting their facilities for the provision of accessible hospitality services and when developing their websites to be used from other Member States. The regulatory fragmentation, for instance with regard to the minimum number of accessible rooms in a facility, impedes the use of standardised building plans and thus the realisation of economies of scale. 94

Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €2 226m for websites and €22m for the built environment.

Public procurement

Current situation    
The previous EU rules on public procurement
95 required that whenever possible the technical specifications should be defined so as to take into account accessibility criteria for people with disabilities or be designed for all users. Studies 96 show that 20% of contracting authorities refer to the promotion of accessibility and design for all as their socially relevant public procurement criterion. It is important also to note that EU funding from programmes like the Structural Funds or the Connecting Europe Facility are often spend through public procurement 97 .

The most relevant goods and services which are covered by the EU rules on public procurement would, similarly to all other goods and services, be those which are most relevant for the socio-economic integration of persons with disabilities into societies, i.e. the areas of built environment, ICT and transport (without however being limited to those areas). Accordingly, accessible goods and services covered by the EU rules on public procurement will include for instance contracts for construction of public buildings and the built environment in general, all transport-relevant contracts including means of transportation, the relevant built environment (stations), as well as accessible methods of purchasing tickets (websites and ticketing machines). In the area of ICT, the rules will cover public purchases of computers (software and hardware), other devices or services enabling accessible transfer of information (services enabling contact with public authorities’ emergency services and the relevant equipment, public on-line publications), as well as telephones or mobile phones. Annex 8 provides a list of goods and services which are subject to public procurement contracts and for which accessibility is most relevant.

Application of those accessibility rules in practice requires a certain level of knowledge about accessibility, including often complicated technical specifications, from the public sector bodies preparing the bids. In order to facilitate the task, some Member States have adopted specific accessibility requirements, or prepared toolkits, standards, or guidelines on the inclusion of accessibility into public procurement. 98 These national rules and toolkits vary considerably from one Member State to another, both in terms of scope and requirements. In some Member States (for instance, the Czech Republic, France and Portugal) there are no national rules or general practice which would specify technical accessibility requirements. Specification of the technical accessibility requirements is left to the individual contracting entities 99 which makes it even more difficult for potential bidders from other Member States to participate in cross-border public procurement. Annex 6 identifies different national approaches regarding accessibility in the area of public procurement.

Baseline    
In the future, this divergence is likely to increase. Firstly, there is a noticeable trend to include social aspects, including accessibility requirements, in national plans on strategic use of public procurement.
100 Secondly, the revised Public Procurement Directives make the inclusion of accessibility compulsory in calls for tenders. 101  

The Directives do not, however, specify what accessibility means, leaving this aspect to sector-specific rules 102 . When the new rules enter into force, by 18 April 2016, lack of accessibility requirements at the EU level will result in further fragmentation at national or local level. Member States, in order to fulfil the EU level obligation will further develop national rules defining accessibility in detailed for the use of public authorities. Similarly the new Structural Fund Regulations do not specify what accessibility means. The reinforcing of these obligations is also expected to lead to further divergent rules defining accessibility.

The number of contracting authorities who refer to the promotion of accessibility and design for all as their socially relevant public procurement criterion is expected to grow from 20% to 100% of national contracting authorities referring to accessibility. The share of public authorities that include accessibility/design-for-all requirements in their award criteria is expected to increase from 6.4% to 20% by 2020 due to Member States’ efforts within the aforementioned regulatory framework. Finally, the obligations of Member States under the UN Convention are also likely to further increase regulatory divergence in the area of accessibility requirements in public procurement.

Based on the current legislative situation described in Annex 6, it is assumed that all Member States will have developed cross-sector technical accessibility requirements and/or guidelines for public procurement by 2020. This will lead for example in divergent accessibility requirements related to computers, telephones, built environment, transport facilities. The part of the total market size that is at risk of fragmentation is estimated at about €2 400 000m 103 .

Different national accessibility requirements in public procurement result in practical obstacles for economic operators to participate in public procurement bids throughout the EU. They need to find out what accessibility in relation to particular public procurement calls means and possibly adapt their goods and services to those requirements. This may lead to numerous businesses focussing on regional markets only, e.g. the national public procurement market or markets in which the requirements are found to be rather similar, instead of increasing the market scope to the whole EU. The divergence in the existence of national toolkits or guidelines on public procurements adds to legal uncertainty about accessibility requirements and discourages cross-border participation in public procurement. Based on the methodology described in Annex 7, the cost for business to comply with those divergent national accessibility requirements is estimated at about €10 000m.

In the responses to the public consultation businesses referred to additional costs for the adaptation of products, as well as for the time needed to understand the different legislative requirements in the Member States. Different technical accessibility requirements not only lead to barriers for businesses that are already involved in public procurement processes, but market entrance by new businesses is deterred since the initial costs of understanding different requirements in a fragmented EU public procurement market might be too high, especially for SMEs. 104

A lack of cross-border competition through the introduction of differing accessibility standards for public procurement processes is also expected to put pressure on public budgets as less competition may take place.

2.4.Problem driver: uncoordinated Member State action

Divergence of national accessibility requirements across the EU impedes European industry from enjoying the full potential of the internal market. This divergence is driven either by lack of EU coordination of which goods and services should be accessible or, when EU law or International agreements prescribes at a general level that certain goods or services need to be accessible (for instance the UN Convention or the EU public procurement rules), it does not provide detailed rules on which accessibility requirements would actually apply. Currently, this is left mainly to the discretion of national authorities, which has resulted in the current patchwork of divergent accessibility requirements.

The few cases where EU legislation does harmonise accessibility rules, for example, in the area of lifts, low platform busses and rail, it has enlarged economies of scale and remove fragmentation in the market. Industry feedback has been supportive, for example in the cases of the lifts and the rail sectors, in their response to the European Accessibility Act as to the effect of enlarging and opening EU wide markets and providing a competitive edge 105 .

2.5.Effects of the problem - Who is affected?

There are two main types of effects of the internal market fragmentation problem: (i) firstly, financial impacts on economic operators and public sector bodies, which are assessed in details in the impact analysis section; (ii) secondly, social and quality of life impacts on consumers. As the core objective of this initiative relates to market issues, the impacts on the rights of disabled consumers are assessed in a broad qualitative manner. Those impacts serve as a basis for the social impacts assessment of the policy options.

2.5.1.Financial impacts on economic operators and public sector bodies

Economic operators acting on the EU market are directly affected by the problems. These are both producers and providers of the priority goods and services and the economic operators who participate or would like to participate in cross-border public procurement. Both categories overlap and will include inter alia manufacturers and distributors of ICT goods and services, websites designers, architects, banks, hotel owners, on-line retailers, transport providers.

The current situation, described in details above (§2.3), identifies internal market barriers preventing economies of scale and hindering the emergence of new and innovative accessible goods and services. These issues are expected to become more severe in future as Member States implement their obligations under the UN Convention.

Economic operators who would like to sell their products or provide their services in other Member States face additional costs related to possible adaptation of their product/service to the requirements of a particular national market. Some ICT industry representatives explained that adapting products to divergent accessibility requirements across all EU Member States would be prohibitively expensive and could lead to a decision of not complying with some sets of national legislation. Therefore, limiting the national markets they supply for or leaving it to enforcement bodies to question the compliance of their products. While economic operators face legal uncertainty regarding accessibility requirements, consumers face legal uncertainty regarding what accessible products they could find in the market. In addition, eventual costs of litigation for non-compliance with the national obligations 106 remain an issue. Such costs are time consuming and more burdensome for SMEs. The detailed effect of the impacts is assessed in the various policy options. The problems experienced by economic operators today as a result of legislative fragmentation also relate to lack of legal certainty at the level of the accessibility requirements. For example, websites from public transport or accommodation providers that want to offer their services in various EU Member States are subject to different requirements and consequently they would either to have different versions of the websites or take the risk to receive complaints on non-compliance with accessibility rules. They also relate to lack of economies of scale, for example accessibility requirements placed on economic operators are so different that those that operate in various Member States could not install the same accessible ATMs.

Furthermore, in the area of ICT the presence of European companies in trade fairs for new accessible products is very limited 107 (lack of innovation). In comparison to the US for instance, where economic operators benefit from a large economy of scale ensured by common accessibility rules at the federal level, the EU seems to be lagging behind in terms of competitiveness and innovation of accessible products. Indeed, the European markets currently suffer from a limited delivery of high quality and reasonably priced accessible goods and services despite the growing demand for such products.

In contrast, the European Lift Association 108 refers to the positive effect that common rules on accessibility have had in Europe to dismantle market barriers: "The lift, escalator & moving walk industry is very pleased with the specific European legislation covering our sector. (…) Not only has this double legislation harmonised the equipments themselves throughout Europe, but it has boosted the competitiveness of manufacturers & installers, large and small companies, by organising a level playing field, while favouring innovation. The linkage of the directives with a clear set of CEN standards is an excellent tool for making it possible for any manufacturer or component manufacturer in Europe to certify its products once and sell or install anywhere in the European Union and EEA."

Economic operators, and public authorities in the area of public procurement, suffer from a lack of legal certainty, as to how exactly to cover accessibility requirements and cannot fully benefit from the size of the internal market (lack of economies of scale). Indeed, due to divergence of national accessibility requirements, meeting accessibility features of one Member State may result in a limitation of the product to the market of that State 109 for example as those accessibility features may not work correctly with the services. The products produced for a limited number of consumers are more expensive since the operators cannot benefit from larger markets which would allow them to absorb the fixed costs of accessibility features.

2.5.2.Social and quality of life impacts on consumers (i.e. disabled and elderly consumers)

According to feedback from consumers, there seem to be insufficient accessible mainstream goods and services on the EU market 110 .

Disabled and elderly consumers and citizens at large are all 111 affected as they cannot benefit from innovative, good quality accessible products offered at competitive prices.

Policy responses to address the internal market fragmentation for specific goods and services and in the area of public procurement would positively affect consumers. It will indeed increase the everyday life autonomy for disabled and older people and as a consequence, would improve their social and quality of life.

For instance, disabled consumers cannot currently benefit for a genuine Internal Market for accessible mobile telecommunication devices and services. This initiative will allow them to call cross border with friends, family, and for work, either directly or using relay services.

Moreover, considering that one main barrier that people with disabilities and older people experience is the ability to move outside of their homes, the potential benefit of accessible transport, hospitality or the built environment has a direct impact on the possibility for their participation in society and being included in common activities that all citizens do. There are growing numbers of websites including online information and online booking and sometimes they are essential even to be able to access the service, given the lack of person-managed stations.

Detailed impacts on consumers per good and service are considered in Annex 7.

3.The EU's right to act and EU added-value

3.1.Legal right to act

The Union’s right to act in this field is mostly set out in Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Its first paragraph empowers the European Parliament and the Council to adopt measures for the approximation of the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States which have as their object the establishment and functioning of the internal market. Article 114, paragraph 3 TFEU stipulates that the Commission shall aim at ensuring a high level of health, safety, environmental and consumer protection in its proposals envisaged in paragraph 1 of Article 114. Article 169(2) b) also provides that measures adopted pursuant to Article 114 are one instrument for the Union to “contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, as well as to promoting their right to information, education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests.” More generally, Article 12 TFEU provides that “consumer protection requirements shall be taken into account in defining and implementing other Union policies and activities.”

According to Declaration n° 22 annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Conference of the Representatives of the Member States “agrees that, in drawing up measures under [Article 114 TFEU], the institutions of the Community shall take account of the needs of persons with a disability”. On the basis of Article 114 TFEU, the European Union has a right to act to improve the conditions for the establishment and functioning of the internal market concerning accessible goods and services. As explained above, the divergence of national legislation that exists now, and that will likely develop in the future, creates barriers to trade in the internal market. Article 114 of the Treaty allows for a harmonisation at the EU level of accessibility requirements, the differences in which have been identified as a key driver of the problem.

Article 114 TFEU allows the EU to take measures, not only to eliminate current obstacles to the establishment and functioning of the internal market but also to address barriers that dissuade economic operators from taking full advantage of the benefits of that market. The divergence of national and sometimes regional 112 and local legislation on accessibility of goods and services creates legal uncertainty and higher transactions costs. These dissuade businesses from venturing outside their domestic market and investing in new and more innovative accessible goods and services, and thus from taking full advantage of economies of scale of the internal market.

Moreover, according to Article 90 TFEU, which concerns transport by rail, road and inland waterway, the objectives of the Treaties shall “be pursued within the framework of a common transport policy.” Article 91 provides that, for the purpose of implementing Article 90, the European Union may adopt appropriate provisions. Likewise, Article 100 TFEU provides that the European Union may “lay down appropriate provisions for sea and air transport”.

3.2.Impact on Fundamental Rights 

An EU initiative which would facilitate the functioning of the internal market for accessible goods and services would have a positive impact on several rights recognised in the Charter. An EU initiative would directly or indirectly facilitate the exercise of the following rights: the right to human dignity (Article 1), the right to integrity of the person (Article 3), the right to education (Article 14), the right to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work (Article 15), the rights of the elderly (Article 25), the right to integration of persons with disabilities (Article 26), and the right to freedom of movement and residence (Article 45).

Regarding economic operators, an EU initiative would have a mixed impact on rights such as the freedom to conduct a business (Article 16) and the right to property (Article 17). First and foremost, by increasing the potential of the internal market through the elimination of obstacles to trade, the initiative would be beneficial for the exercise of those two rights. In some cases the initiative could also entail a limited restriction to the exercise of those rights with the adoption of new rules in some Member States. However, the restrictions resulting from these new rules would be justified and proportional and would result in an increase of the potential for intra-EU trade, from which the economic operators themselves would benefit. The new rules would also be justified with a view to promoting other fundamental rights, such as those mentioned above.

A detailed analysis of the impact of the different policy options on the concerned fundamental rights recognised by the Charter is carried out in the assessment of the impact of the policy options and in more detail in Annex 9.

3.3.Compliance with the principle of subsidiarity

Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level. According to Article 4(2) a) and g) of the TFEU, respectively, the areas of internal market and transport are areas of shared competence between the Union and the Member States.

(a) Necessity

There is a need for EU action, since Member States alone cannot tackle the problem. The problem does not concern only one or a few Member States. There are obstacles to the normal functioning of the internal market – both in the sense of present barriers to trade and in the sense of barriers to the development of the full potential of the internal market.

This problem is caused by the divergence of national legislations on accessibility requirements. The baseline scenario shows that this regulatory divergence will most likely increase. This is due notably to the entry into force of the UN Convention, as well as the general character of its provisions, which are open to different interpretations when they are implemented at national level. Therefore, the problem will not be solved if it is dealt with only at Member State level. Furthermore new EU legislation requiring accessibility in general terms without providing a definition like in the case of the Public Procurement Directives will have a similar effect.

By their very nature and origin, the obstacles to the functioning of the internal market, which are caused by divergence of national legislation, can only be tackled effectively through a common approach at EU level. Only a coherent legal framework will allow the free flow of accessible goods and services in the internal market.

Less evidence was found to illustrate internal market barriers in the area of the built environment, particularly when it comes to immovable goods. Construction products, as goods circulating freely in the market, are already regulated by EU law. 113 This impact assessment looked at the built environment from the perspective of cross-border architect services. The assessment of the impact for the built environment is restricted to those services where this element is an essential part of the service and only to the part of the built environment which is open to the public.

Action at EU level would respect the principle of subsidiarity by focusing only on those goods and services for which there is clear evidence of a significant internal market problem – either because different national requirements create obstacles to trade, or because they fall under the remit of EU public procurement directives which, as described above, do not define accessibility in detail.

(b) EU added value

Action at the EU level is the most efficient way of addressing the main problem: obstacles to the proper functioning of the internal market. EU action will add value to national accessibility legislation by creating rules that will ensure the free movement of accessible goods and services in the internal market. This could not be done by the Member States acting alone.

Ensuring free movement of accessible goods and services will have positive economic effects. The proposed rules, by creating a level playing field for economic operators and preventing fragmentation of the internal market, will create legal certainty and offer economic operators an expanded market in which to sell their goods and services. As a further benefit, persons with functional limitations, including persons with disabilities, will benefit from more choice of accessible goods and services and from lower prices.

3.4.Compliance with the principle of proportionality 

Under the principle of proportionality, the content and form of EU action shall not exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives provided for in the Treaties, and alternative options would not be capable of achieving the intended aim. All policy options will therefore be assessed on their compliance with the proportionality principle and options that would not be in line with this principle will be discarded.

Any future EU initiative will be designed to respect fully the principle of proportionality and, in line with the approach of minimum harmonisation, the means it uses will be tailored to achieve the objective of ensuring the proper functioning of the internal market, but no more than that. A future EU instrument should set common objectives and general rules, while leaving freedom to Member States to define how to achieve those objectives, taking into account national circumstances. Member States should accept goods and services exported from another Member State, therefore ensuring the free movement of those goods and services.

In this line of thinking, the EU initiative would also establish a proportionate implementation schedule, with a gradual approach. This would ensure the attainment of the objectives of the initiative without going beyond what is necessary for that purpose. Finally, rules for monitoring compliance with future EU accessibility requirements should be the least burdensome and be based on those normally used in internal market harmonisation legislation. 114

3.5.Consistency with other EU policies 

A future EU initiative on improving the internal market in the area of accessible goods and services would apply without prejudice to existing and future EU legislation on accessibility. By defining requirements for accessibility, it would rather complement the general accessibility obligation in EU legislation, such as in the fields of public procurement or the European Structural and Investment funds.

There are several EU legislative acts which include rules aimed at increasing access to goods and services by persons with disabilities or persons with functional limitations (see annex 10 for a full list). Usually, these acts are not providing rules on accessibility as such and neither are they meant to address exclusively the situation of these persons, but within a general legal framework dealing with a certain technical area, they include specific rules which have a positive impact for these persons. Many of these legislative acts have an internal legal market basis 115 . The EU initiative would not apply within the remit of these acts where they provide more detailed requirements.

In other cases, EU legislation addresses only the situation of persons with disabilities with a focus on a specific area focusing on an assistive approach. This is the case of the Passenger Rights Regulations on the rights of persons with reduced mobility in various modes of transport that focus on the provision of assistance 116 . Their scope of application will not be affected by this proposal. The rules of this EU initiative would only complement that legislation.

For example: this EU accessibility proposal would require websites selling passenger transport services to be accessible. Regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air 117 establishes the duty of airports and air carriers to provide assistance to those persons when they travel by air. The two Directives would not overlap, since their remit of application is different, but they would complement each other.

Other legal acts require accessibility but they do not define its meaning and content. The EU legislation on public procurement, with an Internal Market legal base, contained non-compulsory provisions to take accessibility into account in calls for tenders. The Commission revised this legislation and made this provision mandatory, making accessibility compulsory in technical specifications 118 . According to the adopted revised Directives, when contracting authorities decide to award contracts based on the most economically advantageous tender, the latter could be identified based upon criteria which include accessibility and design for all users. The current European Structural and Investment Funds Regulation requires accessibility to be taken into account as regards the content of each operational programme, the activities of the monitoring committee, and the annual implementation reports to be submitted by Member States to the Commission 119 . Its Annex XI also establishes that there should be a mechanism ensuring effective implementation of the UN Convention. These mentioned EU legislation provisions on public procurement and on the structural and investment funds are among the current horizontal regulation at EU-level addressing issues relating to accessibility. This EU initiative would define what accessibility is and, as a consequence, would give normative content to the accessibility requirements of these instruments.

The 2008 proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation 120 which would extend the protection from discrimination beyond employment, applying to social protection, education and access to goods and services, refers to accessibility of goods and services for disabled persons, without however specifying or imposing any detailed accessibility requirements in relation to such goods and services. As this proposal aims to eliminate discrimination, it is based on Article 19 TFEU. It is currently still under discussion in the Council.

This EU accessibility initiative will have a different objective, that of improving the functioning of the internal market. It will therefore apply without prejudice to this legislative proposal based on Article 19 TFEU.

The proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites 121 lays down accessibility requirements for a set of websites offering essential services to citizens. It is currently under discussion by the co-legislators. This intended EU proposal on improving the functioning of the internal market, by requiring private sector websites in some sectors to be accessible would have a different scope which will not overlap with that of the current proposal. However, to avoid contracting authorities having to implement different accessibility specifications depending on the type of website, the accessibility requirements for websites would be identical. This would be done by aligning the accessibility requirements of this EU initiative to those laid down in the proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites.

This future EU initiative, subject of this impact assessment, would also be consistent with the existing acquis on protection of consumer rights. Its provisions would be carefully tailored not to overlap with rules of the existing consumer rights legislation and to take them into account.

Finally the sectors covered by this impact assessment may be subject to other existing EU legislation dealing with other issues like protection of health, environmental protection or energy consumption since essential requirements of different directives need to be applied simultaneously in order to cover all relevant public interests 122 . The advantage of covering areas of public interest, like accessibility, in horizontal legislation relates to the coherence across sectors and consistency across legal instruments. From an accessibility policy perspective, the benefits of ensuring consistency between the obligations placed on the supply and the demand side (obligations to buy accessible enshrined in the public procurement directives and obligations to manufacturers and service providers to place in the market accessible goods and services) and across legal instruments (for example those related to sectoral legislation referring to characteristics of the web) will bring consistency in the internal market and will facilitate the establishment of a level playing field. Furthermore it brings clarity to stakeholders about the way to implement the related policy objective.

3.5.1.Consistency with the on-going standardisation processes

A number of accessibility standards are under development following standardisation requests to the European standardisation organisations by the Commission. In the requests it is required to align the development of standards to global developments and to ensure participation of relevant stakeholders from the industry as well as the consumer side. The standards under the requests relevant to accessibility are at different stages: M/376 (2005) on ICT resulted in the publication of the European standard EN 301549 (2014); M/420 (2007) on built environment and M/473 (2010) on mainstreaming accessibility following a "Design for all" approach in European standards are still under execution and it will still take three to six years before standards are available. The standards develop to respond to those requests will be based as much as possible on functional requirements and will avoid prescribing details on technical solutions in order to be future-proof. This is particularly relevant for fast changing technological areas as in the case of M/376. In this case, in line with developments in the US, the standard is organised around functional components or features of products to address the fast evolution in this sector. For example, contrary to previous standards, including the old US ones, instead of having sections for computers, telephones, or ATMs, it is organised in sections concerning for example elements of hardware input and output, elements of software such as user interface and controls, and others like two way voice communications.

However, the availability of international accessibility standards and the development of European standards based on those have not prevented Member States from drafting different national standards or adopting national legislation divergent from those international rules.

So the European standards to be developed to respond to these Commission requests could be used in this initiative as a basis to set harmonised standards which could provide presumption of conformity with accessibility requirements. This is the case in the adopted Proposal for a Directive on ‘the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites’. 123  

3.6.Consistency with international developments, in particular focusing on the US

At international level, the attention paid to disability and particularly to accessibility has got an important boost due to the UN Convention. By July 2015, it has been ratified by 157 countries while 159 have signed it.

At a global level it is the US accessibility legislation that has had a larger impact on goods and services. This is widely recognised by policy makers, industry and consumers 124 . The US has probably the widest framework of accessibility legislation in the world, often with detailed compulsory standards and rules 125 . Beyond the built environment, transport, hospitality and accommodation services, banking and ATMs, the US has comprehensive rules on ICT focusing on telecommunication and broadcasting services including terminals. Recently adopted legislation covers new technological developments like IP based communications, including for emergency services, and video.

Furthermore the US continues to develop and adopt new accessibility legislation following the technological developments. The US Office of Regulatory Affairs 126 under the General services administrations has announced the publication by the Department of Justice of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for June 2015 covering Accessibility of Web Information and Services of Public Accommodations with a focus on private entities of all types that are providing goods and services to the public through websites that operate as places of public accommodation including ecommerce. 127

On the type of measures related to accessibility, the US has a combination of direct obligations for manufactures and services providers, obligations to public authorities to purchase accessible and a clear antidiscrimination framework with an explicit link to certain accessibility obligations.

In the public consultation and in various public events, the ICT industry in particular has expressed its interest in harmonised accessibility standards, given the global character of some products and services. This interest is also seen in the work under standardisation request M/376 128  where an effort is made to ensure coherence between US rules and European standards. This future EU initiative on accessibility, subject of this IA, could set a framework where accessibility standards developed with a global view could help to create a transatlantic market.

4.Policy Objectives

The policy response to address the internal market fragmentation for specific goods and services and in the area of public procurement needs to meet the following general objectives:

I. To improve the functioning of the internal market for specific accessible goods and services, while serving the needs of industry and consumers.

II. To contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 Strategy with the aim of turning Europe into a “smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and cohesion” as well as to the implementation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

In order to meet those general objectives, the following specific objectives have been identified:

III. To lower and prevent barriers to cross-border trade in the selected goods and services and in the area of public procurement.

IV. To increase competition among industry in the selected goods and services and in the area of public procurement.

V. To facilitate access by consumers with disabilities to a wider range of competitively priced accessible goods and services

The operational objectives would be:

To define common accessibility requirements for selected goods and services and for EU public procurement goods and services.

To improve enforcement of accessibility requirements.

4.1.Policy options

This section gives an overview of the policy options which have been discarded and those which have been retained to address the problem and meet the objectives set out above.

4.2.Discarded policy options

Several policy options have been discarded at an early stage of the impact assessment process, as being either unrealistic, unable to meet the objectives or disproportionate.

1.Horizontal framework at EU level applying to all relevant goods and services by defining/imposing their accessibility requirements

Such an EU level framework would meet the objective of improving the functioning of the internal market of accessible goods and services and improve competition on the market. It would however go beyond what is necessary. As was shown in the problem definition, internal market problems exist in particular in relation to the goods and services that emerged from the screening process. Covering all relevant accessible goods and services by EU requirements would therefore not be proportionate. Furthermore, in terms of Fundamental Rights such a general rule on accessibility for all goods and services might have a disproportionate impact on businesses in light of Article 16 & 17 of the Charter on freedom to conduct a business and property rights, without having a sufficient positive impact on disabled persons in light of Article 26 of the Charter.

0.Setting accessibility requirements for all private sector websites

This option was considered to complement the recent Commission proposal regulating accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites. Defining accessibility requirements for all private sector websites would help to improve the functioning of the internal market. It would, however, go beyond what is necessary to meet these objectives, as it would cover not only those websites which are the most relevant from the accessibility viewpoint and give rise to obstacles in the internal market, but all websites, including those which are less relevant. Furthermore, it would not address other goods and services for which internal market problems have been identified and it would not be sufficient to address other essential components of services identified in the problem definition.

1. Self-regulation by industry

Setting common accessibility requirements for particular goods and services through self-regulation by the industry is the least interventionist and least onerous option for economic operators. However, current practice shows that self-regulation by the industry is not capable of solving internal market problems because it lacks EU-wide scope and dimension. Furthermore voluntary procurement accessibility practices have been unable to remove differences and create healthy competition among economic operators across the EU 129 . The European Commission has fostered industry voluntary steps to improve accessibility for example by supporting dialogues including with representative organisations of persons with disabilities and through policy developments. While some positive initiatives have been undertaken by industry, these efforts have been insufficient to tackle the problems identified particularly in terms of market fragmentation and responses. In particular in the area of ICT the Commission already indicated in 2005 that "It will include an evaluation of the outcome of the approaches proposed, following the principles of Better Regulation and, subject to full impact assessment, the Commission may consider additional measures, including new legislation if deemed necessary". After trying for some time, there is no indication that progress based only on industry self-regulation will achieve the general objectives or the specific objectives of lowering and preventing barriers and increasing competition in this area and in particular the operational objective of improving enforcement of accessibility requirements 130 . The on-going work for developing European wide voluntary accessibility standards has been the result of the Commission’s standardisation requests to the European standardisation organisations, 131 they have not been initiated by the industry, even if afterwards their development is led by it. Stakeholders from the consumers' side (namely disabled people organisations) support this view that industry alone has not progressed in this field at a rhythm that would meet consumers' needs, self-regulation has failed. Therefore, they claim that only legislative options would be viable to address the issue. EU legislative action is needed and would ensure a functioning market of accessible goods and services.

2.Voluntary European standardisation alone

Voluntary European standardisation is already on-going and – once sufficient amount of accessibility standards are available - could support some approximation of national rules and standards and contribute to meeting the objectives of better functioning of the internal market. This option as a self-standing option was however discarded at an early stage because of its non-binding nature. As proven by on-going activities it is unrealistic to consider that it could overcome the internal market barriers that have been identified in relation to the selected goods and services and in the area of public procurement. Current standardisation work under standardisation requests M/420 and M/376 132 could not tackle on their own those challenges. The voluntary European standards under development in those requests will not remove current legislative divergences in the Member States. In addition, their development is a fairly lengthy process, which is taking on average 10 years between the Commission standardisation request and the publication of the European standard. Standardisation is mainly an industry driven exercise, meaning that societal and public needs are considered in standardisation mainly upon request to support public policy or legislation and usually when they support short-term market needs. Market needs for common European standards are rather weak as long as accessibility legislation remains under national competence. Voluntary standards alone are not enforceable and their possibility to bring consistency in a sector is often overruled by national legislation. Furthermore, accessibility standards at international level already exist for some time and could have been used by governments and industry as unique reference points to remove fragmentation. For example, despite the Commission’s efforts to "informally" harmonise web accessibility around the W3C guidelines, Member States have modified and adopted divergent versions under national rules. 133 There is no indication showing that this pattern is changing hence it is considered that voluntary European standards alone are not sufficient or adequate to tackle the problems at stake. In addition, the US had "voluntary standards" in procurement for some years but it was the reinforcing of the related legislation in that area, making the accessibility standards compulsory, what significantly shifted the attention of industry towards accessibility.

European standards are "voluntary" by nature. The Member States have encoded their accessibility obligations in legislation and sometimes use national standards even when some international and European standards were available. Increasing the availability of European standards will only have an effect on the harmonisation of national competing standards (which also often are voluntary) but it will not affect existing compulsory provisions in law.

This option is not considered effective to remove legislative fragmentation and the resulting internal market barriers. When Member States legislate on accessibility to fulfil their obligations under the UN Convention, there is no certainty that they will do so using voluntary European standards, most probably increasing divergence of accessibility legislation with a negative impact in the internal market. Furthermore Member States will not be obliged to ensure free circulation of accessible goods and services. This will increase legal uncertainty for industry. In summary, this option was considered clearly insufficient to guarantee the functioning of the internal market. In addition, this option is likely to be rejected by consumers as it will not represent a significant advance from the current situation and it will be insufficient to fulfil the legal obligations under the UN Convention. The "voluntary" nature of the option might be welcome by industry but it might also be criticised as it will not be able to remove or prevent fragmentation introduced by national rules that are indicated to be a problem in the various consultations.

3.An EU Regulation setting common accessibility requirements for selected goods and services and in the area of public procurement

A Regulation would impose uniform accessibility requirements in all Member States. It was discarded because it was considered disproportionate and less aligned with the principle of subsidiarity. It would create unnecessary burden for those Member States who already have accessibility requirements in line with what would be imposed at EU level but yet having different form or method. A Regulation would also require including detailed technical requirements and that would be too rigid to cater for the flexibility needed for innovation purposes. The referred flexibility was also advised by some industry stakeholders who highlighted that it would be important that any regulatory approach drives innovation, supports interaction both horizontally and vertically across the supply chain and allows widening accessibility by improving the accessibility of specific products but also allows niche products and specialisation to occur to meet specific, complex needs.

4.3.Retained policy options

Four policy options have been retained for further analysis. All these options have some common elements which are described in detail below. Here the essence of their difference is summarised:

Option 1: No further action at EU level (baseline scenario). The baseline has been described in detail for each good and service in the problem definition above, setting out the projected accessibility legislative situation in the Member States by 2020 (given that it will be the end of the action plan of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and a major turning point for the achievement of European policy goals set in the Europe 2020 Strategy).

This projected development of divergent accessibility legislation until 2020 in the Member States is based on existing indications in the EU and the commitments under the UN Convention.

Option 2: EU Recommendation defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services, as well as in the area of public procurement. This would have the same scope as the Directive described in option 3, but would not have binding force.

Option 3: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services as well as in the area of public procurement - applicable to the Member States when they regulate on accessibility.

Under this option, Member States are not obliged to regulate accessibility but when they do or have already done so, they have to follow EU rules in order to ensure coherence in the internal market and avoid the risks that different national standards would impose unnecessary costs on business. All Member States have to ensure the free circulation of accessible goods and services even when they do not regulate accessibility.

The Directive would identify essential accessibility requirements applicable to a specific list of goods and services. These requirements could be further specified by voluntary European harmonised standards and implementing measures. The same accessibility requirements would also apply to EU legislation that requires the accessibility of goods and services, without defining how it is achieved. This is for instance the case in public procurement, where there is a general obligation in the revised public procurement Directives to buy accessible goods and services. The scope of the accessibility obligations under the section related to public procurement is defined by the scope of the public procurement Directives and they only apply above the thresholds identified therein. Nevertheless, some of the goods and services identified for obligations to manufacturers and services providers are in the scope of these Directives. Similarly, these accessibility requirements would also apply under the use of European Structural and Investment Funds.

Option 4: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services, as well as in the area of public procurement - immediately applicable to all Member States.

The difference between option 4 and 3 is that option 4 requires those Member States that have not yet regulated on accessibility to introduce new legislation on accessibility in accordance with the EU rules proposed, without allowing for a gradual implementation. It simultaneously harmonises accessibility rules across all Member States.

4.4.Common elements of the legislative policy options

It results from the preliminary screening that the scope of an EU initiative should focus on the selected priority areas, where obstacles to the functioning of the internal market were evidenced and where an effective prevention of new barriers would be maximised. Industry stakeholders agree that a coherent and clear initiative bringing together what has already been developed on accessibility in the Member States and in EU wide standards would be well advised.

Concerning the form of the EU intervention, a regulatory intervention leaving a certain margin of discretion to the Member States as to its implementation appears to be more efficient to tackle the actual and upcoming problems of the functioning of the internal market. A directive, in particular, would ensure an unobstructed movement of accessible goods and services without going beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective. The choice of a 'directive is consistent with the objective of reducing market fragmentation. A directive is a legal instrument which has an inherent flexibility. However, the Directive would not only oblige Member State to regulate on accessibility requirements to their own economic operators. It would also contain a free movement clause. Under the Directive, Member States would have to ensure that they don’t obstruct the free circulation of accessible goods and services coming from other Member States in case they comply with the accessibility requirements of the Directive. Therefore, the free movement of goods and services can be attained with an instrument that is flexible and respects the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality. A directive would also ensure the respect of the freedom to conduct a business and property rights enshrined in the Charter while having a positive impact on the rights of persons with disabilities as mentioned in its Article 26.

In line with the Commission Communication “Towards a Single Market Act” 134 and the Communication “A strategic vision for European standards: Moving forward to enhance and accelerate the sustainable growth of the European economy by 2020” 135 , legally binding measures aiming to improve the proper functioning of the internal market of specific accessible goods and services (also in the area of public procurement) will follow the “New Approach” to legislation, designed to prevent the creation of technical barriers to trade. They will also make use of the "Global Approach" using light models for conformity assessment. 136

Industry stakeholders see the advantages of harmonising accessibility requirements in public procurement as it will drive market provision of suitable solutions.

A legally binding measure should also follow the new regulatory Framework (more often called New Legislative Framework – NLF), 137 which is a general measure of the internal market in order to reinforce its application and enforcement. By following the NLF, a legally binding measure would:

Define mandatory essential accessibility requirements;

presume conformity with voluntary harmonised standards that are adopted in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1025/2015 by the European standardisation organisations and that will contain the more detailed technical specifications;

establish common conformity assessment of goods and services covered by the legally binding measure;

include common rules on market surveillance; and

include rules on CE marking.

In line with these approaches, legislative harmonisation is limited to “essential requirements” that goods and services in the market must meet if they are to benefit from free movement within the EU.

This means that the general accessibility requirements (“essential requirements”) will be defined at EU level aiming to be in line with the provisions of the UN Convention. Those essential requirements will be composed of two elements: (i) requirements to make the specific good or service accessible and (ii) requirements to provide accessible information related to the functionality or use of the specific good or service.

Regarding the accessibility of the goods, the essential requirements would concern certain general aspects of their design, as well as some general aspects of their functionality.

As far as design of goods are concerned, the requirements would potentially relate to the information on the use of the good provided in the good itself; the packaging of the good including the information provided in it; or the good’s instructions for use. As far as the functionality of goods is concerned, the requirements could potentially include aspects related to the user interface of the good; the functionality of the good itself and the interfacing of the good with assistive devices.

Regarding the accessibility of services, the essential requirements would concern the information provided about the functioning of the service and about its accessibility characteristics and facilities; the on-line related applications; the information to facilitate complementarities with assistive services; specific aspects of the built environment where the service is provided; and the products used to provide a service.

Moreover, it should be noted that not all of the abovementioned aspects would concern all goods and services covered by the directive, but the essential requirements would apply to them only when relevant for their accessibility and when EU action would be most appropriate.

The requirements of the directive would aim to facilitate the implementation of the UN Convention by Member States and the EU.

The Convention focuses on establishing the general objective to be attained: accessibility. In addition, it sets out in a very general manner the material scope of the application of such objective. The scope of the accessibility obligations of the Convention is defined in its Article 9(1) as including “physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas”.

The directive provides a way to attain such an objective. The directive, having a more limited scope, can detail easier the accessibility requirements to be respected.

The directive would affect existing laws, regulations and administrative provisions in Member States in a two-fold manner. First, Member States that do not yet have legislation on accessibility would have to comply with the requirements set out in the directive when they would adopt their legislation – according to the transposition schedule. Secondly, Member States that have already adopted legislation on accessibility would – again according to the transposition schedule provided in the directive – have to verify that their existing legislation complies with the directive. They would have to change it only if necessary. In addition all Member States will have to ensure the free movement of goods and services that conform to those accessibility requirements.

Compliance with a “harmonised standard”, the reference of which has been published in the Official Journal, provides presumption of conformity with essential requirements of the Directive covered by the standard. However, use of harmonised standards is still voluntary and industry may use any other technical solution to demonstrate that its good or service meets the essential requirements. Harmonised standards are a kind of benchmark but other solutions that fulfil the essential requirements are acceptable. Member States that currently have legislation in line with the UN Convention that would cover issues under the scope of the legal act are allowed to maintain it as long as it fulfils the essential accessibility requirements of the directive and does not contradict them.

Different stakeholders support the combination of these instruments, meaning the adoption of common European standards and legislation on accessibility as this combination would allow for more competitiveness in a broader market and a greater efficiency in resource use. Stakeholders have advised that legal requirements and voluntary standards should be developed with the involvement of experts, practitioners and people with disabilities themselves. Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 guarantees directly that European standardisation process is inclusive and covers also participation of societal stakeholders.

A proportionality clause would be provided in order to avoid that economic operators are subject to fundamentally altering their good or service or to a disproportionate burden. The EU initiative would establish that the compliance with accessibility requirements could not impose a disproportionate burden for the economic operators concerned. A set of criteria would be established to determine in practice the meaning of the concept of disproportionate burden. The first entity to examine whether or not there is a disproportionate burden according to the rules transposing the directive will be the economic operator concerned. The latter will make such an examination notably when performing its “internal production control”, which is the type of conformity assessment procedure to be used in the directive (see below footnote 113) and the lightest administrative requirement. Such assessment will be then potentially subject to the control of administrative authorities and of the courts, as in other cases of application of internal market legislation.

Regarding the timing for the implementation of the EU initiative, a gradual approach would be adopted. There would be different deadlines for the implementation of the different aspects or set of rules of the legal instrument. Shorter deadlines could be provided for certain aspects of the instrument, such as rules on public procurement, where there is more experience with the related procedures and the relevant rules are already in force, in any case. As far as the obligations of economic operators are concerned, the deadlines could depend on the life cycle of the relevant goods and services. For example, there would be longer transition periods regarding the built environment which is necessary for the provision of a service and shorter ones for goods with a short life cycle.

The implementation of the legally binding instrument would also rely on the use of implementing acts, which would be adopted when necessary to ensure uniform conditions for implementation of certain provisions of the instrument, for example in the absence of harmonised standards. These implementing acts would be adopted in accordance with the so-called “examination procedure” referred to in Article 5 of Regulation 182/2011. For these purposes, the Commission would be assisted by a committee within the meaning of that Regulation. Whenever the implementing acts would be likely to have significant impacts, they would involve the preparation of an Impact Assessment.

Conformity assessment procedures will be established in line with existing practices 138 . Proportionality considerations point out to the selection for economic operators of the "self-declaration" that the products satisfy the legal requirements as most suitable conformity assessment procedure for the type of essential requirements that relate to accessibility. In fact this module also represents a practical approach for the use of the "proportionality clause" included in the legal act, since the economic operators would also declare whether the good or service concerned satisfies the essential accessibility requirements, after taking into account that clause.

As mentioned above, in line with internal market legislation, a legally binding instrument will contain a clause guaranteeing that all goods and services fulfilling essential accessibility requirements set up by the legally binding instrument will be accepted on the market of other Member States, independently of whether the host Member States imposes its own accessibility requirements or not. Industry Stakeholders also highlighted the importance of respecting the principle of free movement of goods inside the EU.

As shown by the Impact assessment accompanying the Commission proposal for a Regulation on European standardisation, 139 the mere existence of standards is trade-enhancing because of their cost-decreasing effect and the reduction of information asymmetries between the supply and the demand sides, especially in the case of cross-border transactions. Several econometric studies 140 have established a clear connection at a macroeconomic level between standardisation in the economy, productivity growth, trade and overall economic growth. Standards have an important role to play in supporting the competitiveness of European businesses in the global market. Referencing of standards in public procurement can be an important means of fostering innovation while providing public authorities with the tools needed to fulfil their tasks.

Finally, it may be noted that the EU legally binding instrument would be in line with legislation of the most advanced countries and EU trade partners, including the United States. US legislation, as mentioned above in section 3.6, covers a wide range of goods and services and includes obligations for manufactures and services providers and for public authorities to purchase accessible. Other countries outside the EU with relevant accessibility legislation are Canada and Australia. In Canada, the province of Ontario has recently developed very comprehensive accessibility legislation in terms of scope and requirements.

5.Impact Analysis

5.1.Overall approach of the economic analysis

Based on a set of basic assumptions, including market volume, proportion of cross-border trade and shares of development costs an assessment of the current market situation (2011) in monetary terms has been calculated. “Top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches have been applied. In the top-down approach (applied to the cases of Computers and operating systems, Terminal manufacturing, DTT equipment, Broadcasting services, Self-service terminals as well as Public procurement), estimates of the costs of accessibility are derived from high-level market turnover figures and the shares of accessibility costs, while the bottom-up approach (applied in the cases of websites, architect services, eBooks, and Telecom services) starts from data on the cost of accessibility for an individual good or service. It varies slightly from case to case depending on the detail of the data available for that case.

A three step-logic lies behind the top-down approach:

Step 1: Estimate the total cost of accessibility assuming that one set of requirements is applied to the EU

"One-off" development costs (= capital expenditure (CAPEX)) and current ongoing costs (operational expenses (OPEX)) are summed up in order to arrive at the current total cost of accessibility (based on one set of requirements in the EU). For each good and service, these are calculated by assuming that they are a share of overall market turnover multiplied by an estimated fraction of development costs and an assumed share of accessibility costs.

Step 2: Estimate the costs to ensure accessibility of goods/services sold across borders

Now, in order to calculate costs to ensure the accessibility of a good or service when sold across borders the [total costs of accessibility] is multiplied by

the [(assumed) proportion of turnover stemming from cross-border trade] (different requirements are only relevant for goods/services that are traded across borders)

the [number of countries that are expected to have legislation in place by 2020] (in order to take account of the fact that EU Member States’ legislation may impose different requirements on goods and services and, hence, costs are incurred several times by manufacturers and providers)

the [respective share of EU GDP these countries account for] ( to value the cost figures for the size of the market at risk of fragmentation)

a [correction factor], to account for the degree of similarity or difference between national accessibility requirements, ranging from 0% for identical requirements, to 100% for totally different national accessibility requirements

The costs of accessibility for Member States which already have some requirements in place, will only constitute a share of the costs, linked to the correction factor, which have to be incurred by those states which will not have put respective legislation in place at all or only to a lesser extent. This is the case since it is unlikely that the accessibility requirements already put in place in a Member State would be totally different from the ones required by this EU initiative.

In the same vein, especially for Member States which already have some legislation in place containing accessibility requirements, the costs of making their goods and services accessible according to one common set of rules, is considerably less also in comparison to the initial one-off and on-going costs of making the good accessible, since the correction factor numerically depicts the fact that the added accessibility costs will almost always constitute only a fraction of these initial costs.

As the correction factor is a key variable both in determining the costs of fragmentation in the baseline scenario, and of the relative benefits of reducing or eliminating fragmentation in the different policy options, a sensitivity analysis has been performed to assess how changing the correction factor affects the relative reduction in costs of fragmentation that is expected to result from each of the policy options. The table below shows the values of the correction factor for each good and service determined according to expert judgment, and the values used for the sensitivity analysis.

Step 3: Estimate of the costs for understanding different accessibility requirements across borders

The costs that are estimated as part of Step 2 reflect a product-related cost element, i.e. costs for the physical adaptation of the product or various production processes in order to comply with national requirements. An additional assumed share of [Cost to ensure accessibility of good/service sold across borders] is added in this step 3: extra costs take into account the organisational costs for identifying, reading and analysing national accessibility requirements in other countries.

For the differences in methodology concerning the cases where the bottom-up approach is applied please refer to the detailed methodology in Annex 7.

Finally, the expected impacts (costs and benefits) of the three mentioned policy options have been assessed compared to the Baseline Scenario in monetary terms in each of the tables below. 

As with all projections, the results of these calculations depend on the assumptions on which they are based. Accordingly, the estimates presented below for each policy option should be understood as indications of the possible scale of the effects that could be expected to be observed under each of the policy options, rather than as precise forecasts. The relative ranking of the options that emerges from these calculations is consistent with the ranking based on a qualitative assessment.

Each of the retained policy options has been assessed for its effectiveness and efficiency in meeting the policy objectives, as well as in relation to its economic, social and environmental impacts. The assessment of effectiveness and efficiency takes account of how the option would affect cross-border trade and competition among industry in the area of selected goods and services as well as in the area of public procurement. Economic impacts are reported in terms of the costs to businesses of meeting different national accessibility requirements in the baseline scenario, and of the changes to those costs under each of the policy options. Social impacts mostly relate to effects on disabled and elderly consumers. Impacts on fundamental rights are assessed as part of all assessment criteria. Environmental impacts, other than those related to greater trade and transport of goods across borders, are assessed as being minimal.

Other than the economic impacts, impacts are rated on a scale from 0 to 5 in terms of the expected changes compared to the baseline. Thus, Policy option 1 (Baseline scenario) has been rated 0. A rating of 0 for the other policy options implies that they would not result in any major change compared to the status quo. For economic impacts the figures represent savings from the baseline scenario. A scale that allows also negative values has been used to reflect those cases of the policy options where instead of savings, additional costs are foreseen 141 .

For details regarding the methodology, data sources and assumptions made please refer to annex 7 and the Deloitte study, which also includes a series of calculations showing how varying the different assumptions influences the cost estimates.

5.2.Option 1: No new action at EU level (baseline scenario)

Figures in this baseline scenario represent the associated costs for business of producing accessible products in a fragmented internal market in 2020 in the Member States. These costs provide also a rough estimate of the implementation of the obligations under the Convention by Member States in an uncoordinated manner. The total annual costs are estimated to be about €20 billion. The cost of the baseline scenario is the sum of the cost to ensure accessibility of the relevant goods/services sold across borders in 2020 and the costs of understanding different accessibility requirements across borders in 2020. In this option, the overall costs to business for each good or service are influenced by the additional production costs incurred in making the good or service accessible; the number of Member States that are assumed to have legislated for accessibility of the selected good or service by 2020; the extent to which these national requirements differ from one another, and the costs that firms incur in understanding these differences; the overall size of the market affected by these different requirements; and the share of intra-EU trade in the good or service (if firms produce only for their “home” market, the existence of differing national standards does not give rise to additional costs for them). These elements are specific to each good and service and costs are therefore estimated separately for each one. Because of the uncertainty inherent in projecting not only market developments, but also Member States’ legislative intentions these estimates should be regarded as indicators of the likely scale of costs that businesses will incur, rather than precise forecasts.

As explained above, the calculations of costs are based on a conservative estimate of the number of Member States expected to have regulated by 2020. In the absence of EU action, these costs will continue to increase every year as Member States will develop accessibility legislation to implement the UN Convention. It is estimated that, the hypothetical case of waiting until all Member States would have developed divergent legislation for the goods and services covered would raise significantly the cost figure to more than €30 billion annually. Industry will be confronted with an even more fragmented market as time passes. Industry representatives have expressed their concerns about the increase of national legislation and indicated their preference for substituting them by EU rules.

As explained above in point 3.5 there are already several instruments of secondary EU law which either (a) include specific rules to facilitate the access to goods and services by these persons within a general legal framework dealing with a certain technical area, or (b) address the situation of persons with disabilities on a specific area but focusing on an assistive approach, or require accessibility without defining its meaning and content. As mentioned above, the advantage of having a horizontal EU legal instrument on accessibility is that it ensures the coherence and consistency across different sectors and legal instruments – notably in the obligations placed on the supply and the demand side (to buy accessible according to the public procurement directives and produce and provide accessible goods and services).

The percentages behind the cost figures indicate the maximum or minimum range of costs for the respective good/service when the sensitivity analysis as explained above is applied 142 , i.e. when the value of the correction factor is changed.

 

[1] Self-services terminals are included on their own as goods and also broken down in relation to their respective services (banking and passenger transport), meaning that the amounts are repeated in the table.

5.3.Option 2: EU Recommendation defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services

Figures under this option represent savings compared to the baseline scenario resulting from the introduction of an EU Recommendation that will remove some of the divergent legislation in the Member States.

In this case, some fragmentation remains as the Recommendation would not be binding. The size of the market covered by accessibility requirements is unchanged, but firms have to meet fewer differing standards. The number of differing national requirements, specific for each case, is replaced by a single EU requirement in those Member States applying the Recommendation. Thus the number of different requirements is now the number of Member States that are assumed to have accessibility requirements in place minus the number of these that adopt the EU recommendation +1 (to account for the fact that you have to make the good accessible in your own state as well). Note that this adjustment will also have the effect of lowering the calculated costs of understanding the different national rules. Therefore, the savings are equal to the costs of making goods and services accessible on the markets covered by requirements times the reduction in the number of different requirements, adjusted by a correction factor to take into account the overlap among the requirements.

The total savings estimated are about €4 billion, or 20 % of the cost of the baseline scenario. Under option 2, it is likely that only some Member States would implement the Recommendation. In this situation, firms would face the costs of understanding and meeting different accessibility requirements for each of the Member States with national legislation in place that did not implement the Recommendation, plus the cost of understanding and meeting the requirements of the Recommendation in the Member States that did implement it.

The percentages behind the savings figure indicate the maximum or minimum range of savings 143 for the respective good/service when the sensitivity analysis as explained above is applied, i.e. when the value of the correction factor is changed. The figures in the last column depict the amount of savings of policy option 2 compared to the baseline scenario per good or service.

[1] Self-services terminals are included on their own as goods and also broken down in relation to their respective services (banking and passenger transport), meaning that the amounts are repeated in the table.

In general, the score of this option shows that in terms of effectiveness and efficiency it has limitations on the capacity to achieve the policy objectives as not all Member States will adopt and follow the Recommendation. Consequently, only some fragmentation of the market would be removed and societal groups would only reap the benefits of the market to some extent. In this scenario, the possibility for disabled citizens to take up their place in society and fully exercise their rights is not satisfactorily and extensively guaranteed. Disabled and older people will benefit from improved access to goods and services in the limited number of countries that would adopt the recommendation. The slight variations of the scores provided to the different goods and services are linked to the current existent of divergent legislation and the likelihood that Member States will follow one set of rules. This option would not oblige Member States and public authorities to enter into any costs given the nature of the initiative. Environmental impacts are very small. In conclusion, this policy option is unlikely to have any major social and environmental impacts. A detailed analysis of these impacts per good and service is included in Annex 7.

5.4.Option 3:EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services - applicable to the Member States when they regulate on accessibility

Under option 3, Member States that have regulated or once they regulate on accessibility for one or more of the selected goods and services would be required to adopt common European common requirements. Firms would have to meet only a single set of accessibility requirements in those Member States and they would no longer incur costs researching and understanding different national laws. Compliant goods and services would circulate freely in all Member States. The decision on when to regulate on accessibility is left to the discretion of Member States. It is assumed that Member States would gradually do so to comply with their obligations under the UN Convention.

Compared to the baseline, the costs of fragmentation due to different national requirements are eliminated completely in those Member States that regulate on accessibility. Firms would face costs of making goods and services accessible in those Member States. Therefore the figures below show what are the expected savings from the cost calculated for the baseline scenario 144 .

The percentages behind the savings figure indicate the maximum or minimum range of savings for the respective good/service when the sensitivity analysis as explained above is applied, i.e. when the value of the correction factor is changed. The figures in the last column depict the amount of savings of policy option 3 compared to the baseline scenario per good or service.

The total savings are estimated at about €10 billion, or 50% of the cost of the baseline scenario.

[1] Self-services terminals are included on their own as goods and also broken down in relation to their respective services (banking and passenger transport), meaning that the amounts are repeated in the table.

The levels of effectiveness and efficiency in this option will be higher than in the previous option as Member States that have current legislation will have to follow EU rules removing the market fragmentation created by those existing rules and ensuring the free circulation of accessible goods and services in the EU. This will be reflected in a simplification of the obligations for industry. Member States and public authorities are not expected to experience significant additional costs other than those already deriving from the implementation of the accessibility provisions in the UN Convention, given the intended coherence between those and the essential accessibility requirements in this initiative. However, some minor costs might be incurred in relation to reporting obligations and market surveillance. Disabled and older people will benefit from harmonised accessibility requirements across the Member States which should lead to greater availability and choice of accessible allowing for example to compare goods and services. Nevertheless, given that those benefits would be limited to those countries where accessibility requirements are in place, it would not result in a total elimination of barriers for disabled and older consumers. The social positive impact is significant but limited. The environmental impact will also be similar as for policy option 2, but the scale of the impacts is likely to be larger in line with the expected increased number of countries concerned. A detailed analysis of these impacts per good and service is included in Annex 7.

5.5.Option 4: EU Directive defining common accessibility requirements for the selected goods and services - immediately applicable to all Member States 

Under this option, uniform accessibility requirements would be introduced for each of the selected goods and services across the entire single market. As under option 3, removing divergent legislation in those Member States that regulate on accessibility would reduce business costs, as firms would have to meet only a single set of accessibility requirements and they would no longer incur costs researching and understanding different national laws. However, all Member States would now have to regulate the accessibility of the selected goods and services, and this would impose costs on firms in the Member States who are not expected to have accessibility requirements immediately. Nevertheless, under option 4 the total savings are estimated at about €9 billion, representing 45% of the cost of the baseline scenario. Under this option Member States and public authorities who have regulated on accessibility, similarly to option 3, are also not expected to experience significant additional costs. However, those Member States that have not regulated on accessibility would have to incur the costs of doing so following the time schedule of this initiative. Like in the previous option, some minor costs might be incurred in relation to reporting obligations and market surveillance.

The percentages behind the savings figure indicate the maximum or minimum range of savings for the respective good/service when the sensitivity analysis as explained above is applied, 145 i.e. when the value of the correction factor is changed. The figures in the last column depict the amount of savings of policy option 4 compared to the baseline scenario per good or service.

[1] Self-services terminals are included on their own as goods and also broken down in relation to their respective services (banking and passenger transport), meaning that the amounts are repeated in the table.

This option scores the highest for effectiveness as it harmonises the accessibility requirements across the EU, but is also less efficient than the previous one. Effectiveness is high as Member States that currently do not regulate accessibility will have to do so after adoption. This, in turn, makes the option less efficient as it relies on additional efforts in Member States that currently do not legislate on accessibility. However, the impact on social groups is expected to be the highest as also Member States currently without accessibility obligations will have to introduce them. Guaranteeing access to goods and services for disabled people in the whole EU would allow them to have a strong involvement in society, to take part more actively in the public sphere and to fully exercise their rights. Enabling accessibility to disabled citizens would directly contribute to the Europe 2020 aim of improving education and employment as well as combating poverty and social exclusion. Environmental impacts remain limited. A detailed analysis of these impacts per good and service is included in Annex 7.

Table: Comparison of the policy options by sector in terms of economic impacts:

Policy option 2

Policy option 3

Policy option 4

Computers and Operating Systems

1

3

-2

Digital Television equipment

2

3

3

Audiovisual media services

2

4

4

Telephony service

2

4

4

Related terminal mobile equipment

1

3

-2

eBooks

1

3

2

Self-Service Terminals

1

5

4

eCommerce

0

3

1

Banking services

Websites

0

3

1

ATMs

2

5

4

Built-environment

1

3

3

Air Transport Services

Websites

0

3

1

SSTs

1

5

4

Built-environment

1

3

3

Railway Transport Services

Websites

0

3

1

SSTs

2

5

4

Bus Transport Services

Websites

0

3

1

SSTs

1

5

4

Built-environment

1

3

3

Maritime and Inland Waterway Transport Services

Websites

0

3

1

SSTs

1

5

4

Built-environment

1

3

3

Hospitality Services

Websites

0

3

1

Built-environment

1

3

3

Public Procurement

2

4

4

Average for ALL goods and services

1

4

2

5.6.Administrative burden

Under policy options 2, 3 and 4, firms will be obliged to provide information about the accessibility of the relevant goods and services. It is assumed that this is a task that firms will only have to perform once. This burden related to the cost of providing information on accessibility either to the customer or to the surveillance authorities. The drafting of information concerning the accessibility of the good / service is assumed to take one eight-hour working day. At an average wage per hour of €18 this gives an administrative burden of €144 per company and good and service. As shown in the table, for some particular goods and services, is estimated at €1 440. Depending on the likely burden, this corresponds to between one and ten working days.

Under option 4, all companies producing the relevant good or service on the EU market would have to provide this information. This gives an upper bound for the cost of the administrative burden that would result from this proposal; under options 2 and 3 firms would only incur this cost if they wished to sell in those Member States that regulated the accessibility of the different goods and services (and under option 2, on the condition that those Member States implemented the Recommendation). The figures in the table below contain estimates for each of the policy options. It is important to note that for options 2 and 3 the number of companies are an approximation as the calculations assume that the share of the companies that would have to meet the information requirements equals the share of EU GDP of the Member States that implement the recommendation or directive, respectively. Based on these assumptions, the administrative burden is highest in option 4 followed by option 3 and then by option 2.

Administrative burden: Costs per policy option for the provision of accessible information

Cost per business

No. of businesses

% of businesses covered by the obligation 146

Total admin burden per option

Rating Admin burden (Higher score = less burden)

Computers and Operating Systems

PO2: Recommendation

1 440 EUR / company

39 companies

21.0%

11 800 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

33.6%

18 900 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

56 200 EUR

1

Digital Television

PO2: Recommendation

144 EUR / company

4 companies

76.6%

441 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

96.3%

555 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

576 EUR

2

Audiovisual media services

PO2: Recommendation

144 EUR / company

1.7 200 stations

0.12 main European commercial TV groups

80.0%

1.829 440 EUR

0.1 382 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

96.8%%

1.1 003 622 EUR

0.1 673 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

1.1 036 800 EUR

0.1 728 EUR

2

Telephony services

PO2: Recommendation

1 440 EUR / company

Approx. 81 companies, assuming at least three operators per EU Member State

23.5%

27 410 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

43.6%

50 855 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

116 640 EUR

1

Related terminal mobile equipment

PO2: Recommendation

1 440 EUR / company

Approx. 40 companies of which 6 are global key market players and 34 operate in specific regional markets only

23.5%

13 536 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

43.6%

25 114 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

57 600 EUR

1

eBooks

PO2: Recommendation

144 EUR / company

70 companies

11%

1 119 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

77%

7 762 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

10 080 EUR

2

Self-Service Terminals

These goods are traded on a B2B basis, meaning that there are no direct obligations to the manufacturer related to the information provision to the public. Therefore, the policy options are not expected to result in any administrative burden.

eCommerce

PO2: Recommendation

144 EUR / company

533 310 companies

15%

1 1865 100 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

65 522 900 EUR

3

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

76 796 600 EUR

2

Banking services

PO2: Recommendation

144 EUR / company

6 825 companies

15%

152 334 EUR

4

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

838 328 EUR

2

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

982 800 EUR

1

Air Transport Services

PO2: Recommendation

144

872 companies

15%

19 463 EUR

5

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

107 110 EUR

2

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

125 568 EUR

1

Railway Transport Services

PO2: Recommendation

144

536 companies

15%

11 964 EUR

5

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

65 838 EUR

2

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

77 184 EUR

1

Bus Transport Services

PO2: Recommendation

144

65 000 companies

15%

1 446 100 EUR

5

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

7 986 000 EUR

2

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

9 360 000 EUR

1

Maritime and Inland Waterway Transport Services

PO2: Recommendation

144

2 498 companies

15%

55 755 EUR

5

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

306 834 EUR

2

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

359 712 EUR

1

Hospitality Services

PO2: Recommendation

144

260 000 companies

15%

5 616 000 EUR

5

PO3: Directive (partial coverage)

85%

31 824 000 EUR

2

PO4: Directive (full coverage)

100%

37 440 000 EUR

1

5.7.The case of SMEs and micro-enterprises

Annex 11 contains a specific assessment of the impacts on SMEs and micro-enterprises (“SME test”). Because of their size and limited resources, differences in national accessibility requirements are expected to cause disproportionate problems for SMEs. Thus, SMEs in particular would be expected to benefit from the elimination of this fragmentation through the creation of a single set of requirements, even more than larger economic operators. Therefore SMEs are included in the scope of application of the policy action under consideration. Potential benefits (cost savings) are expected to be higher than potential accessibility-related costs for all economic operators (noting that more than 90% of enterprises in the EU are in fact micros). Also, they would have their possibilities of cross-border trade facilitated.

According to the results of the SME Panel 147 , the extra costs related to accessibility are not significant for the majority of SMEs, there is confidence on the positive effects that would result from having common rules, and no differentiated treatment was requested. Their exclusion would have a counter-productive effect and would further contribute to maintaining the problem. This is also due to the impossibility of treating differently goods and services that should circulate freely in the single market, depending on which business produces/provides them. In any case, safeguard clauses, considering proportionality and avoiding fundamental alteration of the good or service, would be foreseen for all companies and lighter requirements for specific provisions, namely with regard to administrative requirements, will be considered for SMEs and more specifically for micro-enterprises whenever possible. When taking implementing measures, the effect on SMEs and micro-enterprises will be taken into account to ensure that they will not be negatively affected.

6.Comparison of Policy Options

Table: Overview of the impact of policy options

Effectiveness

Efficiency

Economic Impacts

Environmental Impacts

Social Impacts

Admin. burden

Objectives

Average for all impacts

PO 1

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

---

PO 2

1

1

1

0

1

4

II

1

PO 3

3

3

4

0

2

3

I; II; III; IV, V

2.5

PO 4

4

2

2

0

3

1

I; II; III; IV, V

2

The impacts of the different policy options compared above lead to the assessment of the suitability of these options to achieve the general and the specific objectives indicated in the related section, as shown also in the table.

Out of the policy options considered, policy option 2 would insufficiently address the objectives; in particular, it would not eliminate fragmentation in the single market.

Policy options 3 and 4 will best address the main drivers of the problem and consequently would improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible goods and services. Both options will have positive impacts on fundamental rights. While policy option 2 would achieve the same impacts as policy option 3 if all the Member States that regulate accessibility were to implement the Recommendation, this outcome seems unlikely to occur in practice.

A comparison of the consequences of policy options 3 and 4 points out differences mainly on the degree of effectiveness, the related costs savings and their consistency with the principle of proportionality. By preventing the emergence of different national requirements for accessibility of the priority goods and services, policy option 3 generates greater savings for business compared to the baseline and is more proportionate regarding the objectives. It would remove existing fragmentation in the internal market and facilitate Member States’ implementation of their obligations under the UN Convention, by providing a common set of accessibility requirements. This common set of requirements would moreover prevent possible future fragmentation. At the same time, it would not affect the timing plans of Member States to implement the UN Convention and would not affect the way in which they choose to implement its provisions in relation to goods and services that are not covered by the proposal. It would give rise to a certain amount of additional administrative burden, but this is relatively minor compared to the costs that the options would help to avoid.

Policy option 4 gives rise to fewer savings than policy option 3, as it would require all Member States to take action once the proposal becomes applicable. It would therefore be more intrusive on national intentions to implement the requirements of the UN Convention as it leaves limited margin for a gradual implementation. However, by harmonising legal provisions on accessibility for the selected goods and services it would be most effective in guaranteeing the smooth functioning of the internal market. By ensuring the availability of accessible goods and services throughout the EU, it would also have greater social benefits concerning the integration and participation of disabled and older people in society.

The administrative burden is also expected to be higher for policy option 4 than for policy option 3, as it will cover all Member States and therefore all firms in the relevant sectors, regardless of whether they wish to sell across borders.

In conclusion, both options will address the policy objectives in terms of removing and preventing the emergence of new barriers to the smooth functioning of the internal market. However, policy option 3 respects better the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, while the choice of policy option 4 will depend on whether the increased cost would be justified by its wider social benefits and greater degree of effectiveness. Policy option 3 would give Member States a framework to facilitate their action, without unduly interfering in the national timetable for implementing the provisions of the UN Convention.

It is important to note that calculations, both for cost and for savings at EU level, are highly dependent on the number of Member States that are assumed to have legislated in 2020. For both options 3 and 4 the higher the number of Member States that have national rules on accessibility, the higher the costs of fragmentation and the higher the savings made by removing that fragmentation. In other words, the costs savings in options 3 and 4 tend to converge when the number of Member States regulating on accessibility is high. In reverse, under option 4, if many Member States have not introduced legislation, the costs for making accessibility compulsory in those countries would be higher.

However, it is plausible to assume that, after 2020, more Member States than those assumed in the baseline scenario (2020) would have voluntarily introduced accessibility legislation to comply with the UN Convention. Meaning, that there will be a future point in time when the costs foreseen for the option 4 would become savings. The increase in Member States' accessibility rules will completely change the cost benefit balance. For example if it is assumed that every year one additional Member State will adopt accessibility legislation, the above mentioned negative figures become savings respectively approximately four and five years after 2020.

Computers → + 6 m€ in the year 2024 (savings)

Telephones → + 3 m€ in the year 2025 (savings) [telephony services equipment]

In any case, as indicated in the section explaining the impact of the correction factor, for an individual Member State it will in general be less costly to adapt existing national legislation to EU rules than to introduce those rules from scratch. Similarly, for industry already producing goods or delivering services according to a particular national rule, it would be cheaper to make their newly produced or delivered goods and services in conformity with EU accessibility requirements than it would be for those industries that deliver non-accessible goods and services to have their new products in conformity with those accessibility EU rules.

7.Monitoring and evaluation arrangements

In case of any policy option based on a legally binding measure at EU level (options 3 & 4), in addition to the reporting on the transposition, Member States shall monitor the conformity of goods and services concerned with the accessibility requirements regularly via market surveillance mechanisms. Member States are free to design their methodologies but exchange of information is expected.

Concerning the transposition of an EU Directive, in order to ensure that it would be transposed and implemented in an appropriate manner, the Commission would put in place a series of actions.

First, as soon as possible after the adoption of the proposal, in order to guide Member States, it would (a) provide a contact point for Member States to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the proposed legislation (e.g. a functional mailbox) and (b) update DG Employment’s website with relevant information on the new Directive.

Secondly, in order to ensure the smooth transposition of the Directive in all Member States within the deadline provided, the Commission will consider actions such as (a) holding meetings with Member States to monitor the implementation process; (b) focusing on problems emerging during the preparation of the national measures; (c) spreading best practices amongst all Member States.

In particular, in order to ensure smooth implementation of the duties imposed on economic operators, and to address potential risks linked to this element of the proposed Directive, the Commission will consider the following actions: (a) organise meetings with businesses representatives in order to promote the benefits that the new accessibility requirements could have on business reputation and turnover; (b) provide guidance on the implementation of the relevant rules on duties of economic operators; and (c) promote mutual learning and exchange of best practices between Member States on the implementation of the relevant provisions by exchanging information in the meetings with Member States on the implementation process.

Thirdly, once the deadline for the transposition has expired, the Commission would analyse how Member States have transposed the Directive into their national legal orders and consider whether infringement procedures against them are necessary.

Regarding infringement procedures, it should be noted that while the Recommendation of option 2 will only have to be transposed by those Member States that decide to apply it, all Member States would have to transpose the Directive. This is the case both in options 3 and 4. In option 3, the Directive would apply to all Member States regarding the rules on accessibility in public procurement and the free movement clause providing that all goods and services that fulfil the accessibility requirements laid down in the Directive have to be accepted in the market of other Member States. In option 4, the Directive would also apply to all Member States regarding the obligations of economic operators to ensure the accessibility of goods and services.

Given the flexibility inherent in this form of EU legal instrument, in order to avoid the risk that the initiative results in little harmonisation, in the infringement procedures the Commission would concentrate on verifying that the main objective of the Directive, the free movement of goods and services in the internal market, is ensured.

Therefore, priority would be given to the control of national transposition of the accessibility requirements provided for by the Directive, as well as to the clear and explicit inclusion in the national law of rules transposing the free movement clause of the Directive. While this exercise would necessarily cover all Member States equally, the infringement analysis should be particularly careful regarding Member States with less experience in accessibility matters.

8.Indicators

A number of key indicators to monitor the impacts of this proposal have been identified aiming at addressing the general and specific objectives of this action. The availability of sources of data to populate the indicators has been considered also as one of the criteria for selection of indicators:

   Number of goods for which a technical file for CE marking is prepared that includes    accessibility;

   Number of public calls for tender with reference to accessibility and EU level    accessibility requirements;

   Number of complaints on goods and services because they do not comply with    accessibility requirements;

   Number of court cases on accessibility problems for the concerned goods and    services;

   Availability of EU level accessibility standards providing presumption of conformity;

   Number of new EU legal Acts that make reference to the European Accessibility Act to define accessibility.

Potential sources for these indicators include:

   Files in the national market surveillance authorities;

   TED database;

   Market surveillance authorities' complaints files;

   Disability, ageing and other consumer organisations;

   Equality bodies reports;

   European Ombudsman;

   ANED reports;

   European standardisation organisations;

   Eur-Lex;

   Indicators on disability gap on Europe 2020 targets based on Eurostat data (both LFS and SILC);

   Eurostat EHSIS (European Health and Social Integration Survey);

   Feedback from the Member States via the Disability High level group.

9.Evaluation

Concerning the monitoring of the implementation of the Directive and of the background situation, the Commission will consider the following actions: (a) address issues relating to different aspects of the Directive (including changes in the market structure; changes in the relevance of the goods and services for accessibility and the availability of accessible goods and services in the market) in meetings with Member States; (b) meet with a group of experts for mutual learning and exchange of best practices on the implementation process; (c) cooperate with industry umbrella organisations; and (d) consult consumer’s and disabled people’s organisations.

Five years after the entry into application of the Directive, and thereafter every five years, the Commission will publish a report on its implementation. This report would be partly based on the information gathered by the Commission from Member States, as well as economic stakeholders, social partners and relevant non-governmental organisations, including organisations of persons with disabilities.

This report on the implementation of the Directive would also carry out an evaluation of its impact. This evaluation would include an assessment of:

   Actual effects and coherence – effectiveness of the administrative apparatus (costs);

   Potential improvements & lessons learnt, including regarding the scope of the proposal; and sustainability;

   Use of Commission requested harmonised standards adopted by European standardisation organisations to provide presumption of conformity;

   Use of the European Accessibility Act to support other legal acts where accessibility is used but not defined.

(1)  Please note that in this document the term 'good' is used indistinctively with the term 'product' meaning that it has gone through a manufacturing process, not including food, feed, living plants and animals.
(2) France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom.
(3) www.disability-europe.net /
(4)  Register of Commission Expert Groups: http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupDetail&groupID=1259&NewSearch=1&NewSearch=1  
(5) http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_345_en.pdf
(6) Furthermore an SME angle has been address in the relevant sections.
(7) 1 in 6 people in the EU has a disability that ranges from mild to severe, making around 80 million people who are often prevented from taking part fully in society and the economy because of barriers they face (Eurostat-SILC). It is expected that by 2020, there will be 120 million people with disabilities in the EU.
(8) The international standard ISO 9241-171:2008 defines accessibility as “usability of a product, service, environment or facility by people with the widest range of capabilities”.
(9)  European Policy Centre (EPC), Policy Brief, March 2013: http://www.epc.eu/documents/uploads/pub_3393_the_accessibility_act.pdf .
(10)  Source: EU-SILC 2012.
(11) The current Commission requested standardisation work on accessibility is based on functional requirements avoiding technical details that could hinder innovation.
(12) It should be noted that for the purpose of this impact assessment, focus is placed on mainstream goods and services provided on the internal market in general (i.e. not assistive goods and services that are developed specifically for disabled or older persons) and the extent to which there are sufficiently accessible for people with different abilities and needs.
(13)  CRPD/C/AUT/CO/1
(14)  For further information on the examples, see section 2.3 organised per good and service.
(15)  Joint cases on disability discrimination C-335/11 Ring and C-337/11 Skouboe Werge, judgment 11 April 2013, not yet reported, paragraphs 37 and 38. It also stated clearly that the provisions of the Convention are an integral part of the EU legal order, idem, paragraphs 28 to 30.
(16)   http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Jurisprudence.aspx
(17)   http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/GC.aspx  
(18)   http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G15/096/31/PDF/G1509631.pdf?OpenElement  
(19) Proposal for a Directive on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors – replacing the “Utilities Directive” COM (2011) 895 final and Proposal for a Directive on public procurement replacing the “Classical Directive” COM (2011) 896 final. The provisions related to accessibility requirements received the support of the European Parliament and the Council and remained in the final version.
(20) Article 54 and recitals 45 to 47 of the proposed Directive on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors – replacing the “Utilities Directive”.
(21) COM (2010) 603.
(22) An overview of the gap between persons and disabilities and the rest of the population for the EU 2020 headline targets is provided in Annex 4.
(23)  COM(2014) 910 Commission Work Programme 2015 - A New Start.
(24) DOTCOM tool accessibility section at http://www.disability-europe.net/dotcom  
(25) See annex 5 for a detailed description of the process.
(26)  Note that the questionnaire categorised as “organisations” the following stakeholders: industry, NGOs and public bodies.
(27)  As mentioned in section 1.2., out of the 821 responses, 648 were from citizens and 173 from organisations).
(28) Built-environment is assessed in this report for all transport modes, with the exception of rail as an assessment justifying accessibility has already been carried out for the PRM TSI. For further information and considerations on the accessibility of the rail built environment, please consult the most recent Impact Assessment Report of the PRM TSI, conducted at the time of its revision and scope extension - ERA-REP-101-EEV, 05.08.2013.
(29)   http://www.disability-europe.net/dotcom
(30) For example this was pointed out in the ATMIA (ATM industry association) answer to the public consultation.
(31) See report of standardisation request M/420 from the European commission to CEN, CENELEC in support of European accessibility requirements for public procurement in the built environment, section 3.3.4 Inventory findings and related tables. ftp://ftp.cen.eu/CEN/Sectors/Accessibility/ReportAccessibilityBuiltEnvironment%20Final.pdf  
(32) Accessibility legislation exists in the US at Federal level providing their industry with a competitive advantage.
(33) Even non-binding technical specifications at national level can hinder the proper functioning of the internal market in case the nature of a product and/or a structure of the market require interoperability between certain goods and services. This is a common scenario in the area of accessibility, where goods and services operate in “chains” (for example, in order to benefit from accessible broadcasting services, relevant accessible TV sets are required or accessible web sites require accessible computer hardware and software and interoperability with assistive technology). If the technical specifications ensuring interoperability are set at the national or local levels, the economic operators from other Member States may in practice have difficulties entering such markets.
(34)  According to the replies to the SME Panel, the most important obstacles to the provision of goods and services accessible by European SMEs are lack of information and guidelines on accessibility, lack of knowledge of accessibility, and complexity of legislation.
(35)  Technosite, NOVA and CNIPA (2010) Study on Monitoring eAccessibility –MeAC2. Report on implementation and interpretation of WCAG 2.0. Available at http://www.eaccessibility-monitoring.eu/descargas/MeAC2_Report_on_implementation_and_interpretation_of_WCAG_2_0.docx
(36)  Study on Assessing and Promoting E-Accessibility: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/study-assessing-and-promoting-e-accessibility.
(37)  Interview with accessibility experts of a leading ATM manufacturer; See also ATMIA contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation in view of a European Accessibility Act
(38)  These countries include, according to the M/420 report, AT, BE, CY, DK, FI, GR, IE, LU, ES, SE, and the UK.
(39)  CEN, CENELEC and AENOR (2011): Final Joint Report - CEN/BT WG 207 (PT A and PT B) – Phase I: Inventory, analysis and feasibility of European and International accessibility standards in the built environment, ftp://ftp.cen.eu/CEN/Sectors/Accessibility/ReportAccessibilityBuiltEnvironment%20Final.pdf  
(40)  Taking the conservative estimate provided in the Deloitte study.
(41)   http://www.section508.gov/docs/Section%20508%20Standards%20Guide.pdf
(42)  subpart B – section 1194.21, see http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.26.htm  
(43)  subpart B – section 1194.26 , see http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.26.htm  
(44)   http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/update-index.htm
(45)   http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/refresh/draft-rule.htm  
(46) The related Regulations also require accessibility to be observed when spending the funds, a measure to support further accessibility.
(47)  The market at risk of fragmentation for each good and service and for public procurement is calculated by multiplying the market turnover in 2020 by the share of GDP (%) of the Member States concerned.
(48) Computers are electronic devices that process information, designed for a broad range of home and office applications like web browsing, email, word processing, gaming, etc. Computer hardware is split up into desktop-PCs and portable PCs, which can in turn be split up into laptops and tablets. Computers are electronic devices that process information, designed for a broad range of home and office applications like web browsing, email, word processing, gaming, etc. Computer hardware is split up into desktop-PCs and portable PCs, which can in turn be split up into laptops and tablets.
(49) See Microsoft Forrester report: http://www.microsoft.com/enable/research/phase2.aspx  
(50) Eurobarometer(2002), Flash Eurobarometer 135 – Internet and the public at large available at http://europa.eu.int/public_opinion /flash/fl135_en.pdf  
(51) Measuring progress of eAccessibility in Europe (MeAC) study (2011).
(52) Differences relate to user interface elements, icons, menus, connections ports, keyboard requirements and alternatives to link with assistive devices.
(53) Under revision by the US Access Board and expected by the end 2013 http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/update-index.htm   http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/update-index.htm
(54) Deloitte study.
(55)  Audiovisual media services as defined in Article 1(1)(a) of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive referred to in Annex III Section I.
(56)  Digital TV equipment is part of the audiovisual media equipment next to other devices used to assess audiovisual media services, such as mobile and smart devices, computers, laptops and tablets. Smart and mobile devices are covered by Telephony equipment and computers (PCs, laptops, notebooks and tablets) are covered by computer hardware dealt with in other parts of this Impact Assessment.
(57) MeAC study – Measuring progress of eAccessibility in Europe (2011).
(58) France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and UK.
(59) France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal Spain and UK.
(60) AVMSD – Audiovisual Media Services Directive - Directive COM/2010/13.
(61) Concerning the provision of accessibility to the 112 emergency number some Member States have put the obligations to provide accessibility using alternative numbers, use of faxes, use of SMS or video and/or the use of Real Time Text services and devices. Some Member States require a combination of those.
(62) In Spain the take-up rate by people with disabilities is in line with or even higher than the take-up rate for the general population. More specifically, the take-up rates were as high as 98.4% for hearing impaired people, 91.6% for visually impaired people and 89.4% for people with a physical impairment (compared to a mobile telephone uptake of 89.0% for the general population in Spain). However, senior people with disabilities had a low uptake of 24.7% compared to the 58.0% reported by Eurostat for the general population aged 65-74. DG INFSO - Study on the Internal Market for assistive ICT - Final report, 2008. 
(63) http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/telecoms-rules
(64) The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) - Ensuring equivalence in access and choice for disabled end-users BEREC Report.
(65)  Please note that BEREC adopted further work on this for the work programme for 2014.
(66) In addition, Spain has introduced provisions about accessible telephone directorates via the internet. Royal Decree 424/2005: specifies “specify the range of universal service, imposing obligations on the designated operator with regard to accessibility, such as those that guarantee the existence of an adequate supply of special terminals, technologically up to date, adapted to the different types of disabilities and giving them adequate public exposure;In the UK, the 2003 Communications Act further stipulates that OFCOM has the power to take steps towards the development of domestic electronic communications apparatus capable of being used with ease and without modification by the widest possible range of individuals (including those with disabilities). The ‘General Conditions of Entitlement’ published by Oftel on 22 July 2003 requires that all providers of publicly available telephone services or public telephone networks implement special measures for end users with disabilities, such as “to provide particular groups of disabled customers with inter alia (ii) access to text relay services which include particular facilities". In doing so, providers will have to support the technical solutions used in the UK.
(67)  COM(2013) 627 final
(68)  COM(2013) 627 final
(69) Spain, Ireland, UK, France, Poland, Portugal.
(70) It is important to note that in the US the current standard for real time text is based on the obsolete TTY protocol and that new technical standards are being selected to update the legislation. Interoperability is required with TTYs but not with solutions used in Europe.
(71) MeAC (2011).
(72) See annex 6 on problem definition for further detail.
(73) In the US a standard connector exists in ATMs so that a blind person can plug a headset and use the ATM to make transactions.
(74) Technosite. Accessible personalised Services in PDTs for All (work in progress). 2012
(75) Annex 6 provides an overview of identified obligations in legislation, related technical accessibility requirements and standards/guidelines of a mandatory or voluntary nature in both selected EU and non-EU countries.
(76) http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/components.php  
(77) MeAC (2011).
(78) COM (2021) 721. The information and calculations in Annex 7 have been as much as possible aligned to the impact assessment accompanying this proposal.
(79)  By the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich: http://www.hindernisfreibauen.ch/kosten_d.php  
(80) CEN/CENELEC/AENOR final report under standardisation request M/420 states that “The existence of the large number of national, regional and even local current standards analysed by the project team implies both fragmentation in the internal market as well as barriers to the professionals willing to work in the different member states.”
(81) See M/420 final report and further information on the national divergence of accessibility requirements regarding placement of lifts in annex 6.
(82)  http://www.aknw.de/bauherren/planen-und-bauen/architektenhonorar/
(83) See One Voice report Accessible ICT Benefit to Business and Consumers references to web accessibility investments and revenues increase in page 34 http://www.onevoiceict.org/sites/default/files/Accessible%20ICT%20-%20Benefits%20to%20Business%20and%20Society.pdf
(84) Assessment of the Status of eAccessibility in Europe - Meac 2007.
(85) CEN/CENELEC/AENOR final report under standardisation request M/420.
(86)  Decision 2008/164/EC.
(87)  ERA-REP-101-EEV, 05.08.2013.
(88) With regard to barriers faced by disabled consumers when using websites, please see the private sector websites section.
(89) BMWi (2004), p. 25. http://www.bmwi.de/English/Redaktion/Pdf/economic-impulses-of-accessible-tourism-for-all-526,property=pdf,bereich=bmwi,sprache=en,rwb=true.pdf
(90) OSSATE accessibility market and stakeholder analysis.
(91)  Study on the mapping and performance check of the supply of accessible tourism services in the European Union (2015); http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/tourism/offer/accessible/index_en.htm  
(92) ENAT (2012): Reaching All Customers: How do European NTOs Compare on Online Accessibility?, http://www.accessibletourism.org/resources/enter2012-helsingborg_enat_final_.pdf  
(93) Standardisation request M/420 final report phase 1 describes the coverage.
(94) Another consequence of the regulatory fragmentation with regard to the built environment of hospitality facilities is that architects cannot easily provide their services across borders because they need to familiarise with different national (accessibility) requirements. This issue is further discussed in the section on services' key enablers.
(95) Directive 2004/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors – the “Classical Directive” - Article 34; Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts – the “Utilities Directive” – Article 23.
(96) Strategic Use of Public Procurement in Europe – Final Report to the European Commission MARKT/2010/02/C by Adelphi – pages IX- X off executive summary.
(97) The related Regulations also require accessibility to be observed when spending of the funds making public funding to support to accessibility.
(98) Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have specific accessibility rules for the procurement of accessible computer hardware and software, whereas Ireland, the UK and Denmark have developed toolkits and guidelines for procurers containing technical accessibility rules.
(99) See Adelphi Study - Use of Public Procurement in Europe – Final Report to the European Commission MARKT/2010/02/C.
(100) Adelphi Study on Strategic Use of Public Procurement in Europe (2010) for DG MARKT.
(101) Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC (the “Classical Directive”); Directive 2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17/EC (the “Utilities Directive”); and Directive 2014/23/EU on the award of concession contracts.
(102) Article 60 and recitals 100 to 104 of the Directive 2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors
(103) This figure includes all public procurement in the EU as it is assumed that Member States will not introduce different accessibility rules for national public procurement below the threshold of the EU Public Procurement Directives.
(104) This argument was made by an industry player from Sweden responding to the public consultation.
(105) Joint statement of CER (European Voice of Railway) on the European Accessibility Act and European Lift association presentations and input to the consultations of the European Accessibility Act as sent to the EC.
(106) See response to public consultation in annex 2.
(107) See for example list of exhibitors at CSUN conferences https://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/2013/rebooking/index.php/public/exhibitors/
(108)  European Lift Association (ELA) – Letter to the Commission - 2013
(109) For example accessibility requirements for TV set-top boxes in annex 6.
(110) See examples in the EDF Freedom guide.  http://cms.horus.be/files/99909/MediaArchive/library/Freedom%20Guide.pdf
(111) For example subtitles benefit not only deaf persons but also those that are learning foreign languages and help children to learn spelling. Accessible websites are easy to access in mobile devices, Ramps and lifts in buildings benefit travellers with luggage and parents with children.
(112) This particularly applies to the built environment in Federal States. See M/420 final report: ftp://ftp.cen.eu/CEN/Sectors/Accessibility/ReportAccessibilityBuiltEnvironment%20Final.pdf
(113)  Council Directive 89/106/EEC on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to construction products; and Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products.
(114) See Annex II of Decision 768/2008 on the marketing of products, OJ L 218 of 13.8.2008.
(115) See for instance, Directive 95/16/EC of 29 June 1995 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to lifts, OJ L 213, 7.9.1995, p. 1, as amended.
(116) See for instance, Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 1. Similar Regulations have recently entered into force for rail, bus and coach and maritime.
(117)  Idem.
(118) Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC (the “Classical Directive”); Directive 2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17/EC (the “Utilities Directive”); and Directive 2014/23/EU on the award of concession contracts.
(119) Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
(120) COM (2008) 426.
(121) COM(2012) 721 final.
(122)  See European Commission Guide to the implementation of Directives based in the new Approach and the Global Approach. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/single-market-goods/files/blue-guide/guidepublic_en.pdf
(123)  COM (2012) 721 final
(124)   http://www.epc.eu/documents/uploads/pub_3393_the_accessibility_act.pdf  "The US has done a lot of work on accessibility and already has a large market for accessible products and services. The EU and the US should work to ensure that a future free-trade agreement helps to remove trade barriers to accessible goods and services. There are great possibilities for cooperation especially with regard to eAccessibility."RNIB – reply to the Public Consultation "There is robust and unquestionable evidence from the United States which demonstrates that public procurement can be a very effective lever to increase accessibility. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act created a level playing field and triggered major improvements in accessibility features in a wide range of ICT products. The European Union should follow suit and use public procurement as a powerful lever for change."
(125) Section 255 of Telecoms Act, Communications and Video Accessibility Act, Section 508 of Rehabilitation act, Air carriers act, ADA, Vote Act.
(126)   http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201210&RIN=1190-AA61
(127)  The referred Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) has not yet been published. https://www.federalregister.gov/regulations/1190-AA61/nondiscrimination-on-the-basis-of-disability-accessibility-of-web-information-and-services-of-public  
(128) http://www.mandate376.eu/
(129) See information on national procurement toolkits and their differences in terms of accessibility requirements.
(130)  This conclusion is reinforced by the recent introduction by the US of additional accessibility legislation in this area i.e. VCAA. Despite the already existing comprehensive framework the US continues increasing the laws in this field.
(131)  M/376, M/420, M/473 and COM (2005) 425.
(132) These two standardisation requests are issued by the Commission to the European standardisation organisations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI inviting the development of European standards for accessibility of ICT and the built environment.
(133)  COM (2003)650 final, COM (2007) 738
(134) COM(2010) 608.
(135) COM(2011) 311 final of 1.6.2011.
(136)  See page 8 of Guide to the implementation of directives based on the New approach and the Global approach.
(137) Regulation 7565/2008 and Decision768/2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products.
(138)  Decision 768/ 2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products. Idem, Annex II, which envisages also, as alternatives, other more demanding procedures such as “Internal production control plus supervised product testing”, “EC-type examination”, “Conformity to type based on internal production control”, “Conformity to type based on quality assurance of the production process”, or “Conformity to type based on product quality assurance”. The procedure that would be used in the EU initiative on accessibility (“internal production control”) would be the least burdensome among them all.
(139) SEC(2011) 671final of 1.6.2011.
(140)   http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/standardisation-policy/policy-review/index_en.htm  
(141) In those cases figures appear with a negative sign.
(142)  The figures are always presented from low to high
(143) The figures are always presented from low to high.
(144) The figures are always presented from low to high.
(145) The figures are always presented from low to high.
(146) These percentages represent the GDP of the Member States that implement the recommendation/have legislation in place.
(147)  See annex 11 for more detailed information.
Top

Brussels, 2.12.2015

SWD(2015) 264 final

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Accompanying the document

Proposal for a Directive

of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States as regards the accessibility requirements for products and services

{COM(2015) 615 final}
{SWD(2015) 265 final}
{SWD(2015) 266 final}


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Annex 1: List of consulted studies

Annex 2: Results of the stakeholder consultations

Annex 3: Details on number of people with disabilities in the EU

Annex 4: Europe 2020 headline targets and disability

Annex 5: Screening process

Annex 6: Problem definition: examples of divergent accessibility requirements

1.Computers and Operating Systems

2.Digital TV services and equipment

3.Telephony services and related terminal equipment

4.eBooks

5.Private sector websites

6.Architect services

7.Self-service terminals including ATMs

8.eCommerce

9.Banking services

10.Passenger transport services

11.Hospitality services

12.Public Procurement

1.Annex 1: List of consulted studies

Study on the socio-economic impact of new measures to improve accessibility of goods and services for people with disabilities; led by Deloitte in partnership with Technosite, for the European Commission, DG Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Unit D.3 'Rights of persons with disabilities';

ANED report on enforcement of accessibility; 2012;

Study on Economic Assessment for Improving eAccessibility Services and Products; led by Technosite in partnership with Tech4i2, AbilityNet and NOVA, in collaboration with The Blanck Group, for the European Commission, DG Information Society and Media, Unit H.3 'ICT for inclusion';

MeAC - Measuring Progress of eAccessibility in Europe - Assessment of the Status of eAccessibility in Europe; study conducted by empirica and the Work Research Centre in cooperation with the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, the Royal National Institute for Blind People and eWORX S.A; October 2007;

Electronic communications services: Ensuring equivalence in access and choice for disabled end-users; BEREC Report; February 2011;

Final Joint Report "Inventory, analysis and feasibility of European and International accessibility standards in the built environment"; produced by Project Team A & Project Team B under CEN/BTWG 207 “Accessibility in the built environment” and CENELEC/BTWG 101-5 “Usability and safety of electrical products with reference to people with special needs” as the CEN and CENELEC response to Phase I of Mandate M/420 on Public requirement the built environment; November 2011;

Elaborating metrics for the accessibility of buildings; Nikkos Sakkas and Julian Perez; 2005;

Impact assessment of possible EU initiatives in the freedom of movement for workers, DG EMPL: Study to analyse and assess the socio-economic and environmental impact of possible EU initiatives in the area of freedom of movement of workers, in particular with regard to the enforcement of the current EU provisions (in particular Article 45 TFEU); International Experts, Bendikte Akre;

Exploring the synergy between promoting active participation in work and in society and social, health and long-term care strategies; led by the Centre for European Social and Economic Policy (CESEP) Asbl in partnership with BBJ Consult AG and CREPP ULg; 2008;

European Commission/DG Enterprise, Ex post evaluation of EC legislation and its burden on Business, 2004-2005. Estimation of regulatory burdens incurred in business when complying with EC legislation. The study covered eight EU Member States and regulation in four different areas; Rambøll Management;

International Study on the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities; ZERO PROJECT Report 2012; Michael Fembek, Tom Butcher, Ingrid Heindorf and Caroline Wallner-Mikl in cooperation with more than 100 experts from NGOs, foundations, academics and persons with disabilities; November 2011;

Reasonable Accommodation and Accessibility Obligations: Towards a More Unified European approach?; 11 European Anti-Discrimination Law review 11-21; Anna Lawson, University of Leeds (UK); 2011;

Secondary analysis of existing data on disabled people’s use and experiences of public transport in Great Britain; Debbie Jolly; Mark Priestley; Bryn Matthews;, University of Leeds (UK), Centre for Disability studies; 2007;

Breaking new ground: the implications of ratifications of the EU convention on rights of persons with disabilities for the European community - The UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. European and Scandinavian perspectives, international Studies in human rights; Martinus Nijhoff Publishers; Oddny Mjöll Arnadottir and Gerhard Quinn; 2009;

Strategic Use of Public Procurement in Europe, Final Report to the European Commission, DG Internal Market and Services; led by Adelphi in cooperation with Belmont, Innovation & Sustainability and the Research Center for Law and Management of Public Procurement, University of Munich; 2010;

Economic Impact of accessible Tourism for all - the case of Germany; Peter Neumann; In: Newsletter of Design for all institute of India, Vol-1, Number-4/2006;

Stadtplanung für Menschen mit Behinderungen. Ergebnisse eines gemeinsamen Forschungsprojektes von Stadsplanern und sozialgeographen am beispiel der stadt Münster (Urban planning for people with disabilities. Results of a joint research project by urban planners and spatial sociologists on the city of Münster); Arbeitsberichte der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Angewandte Geographie Münster, Heft 28; Peter Neumann and Martin Korda; 1997;

Ökonomische impulse eines barrierefreien Tourismus für Alle. Langfasung einer studie im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und arbeit (Economic impulses of accessible Tourism for All; Long version of a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour); Münstersche Geographische Arbeiten, Band 47; Peter Neuman & Paul Reuber; 2004;

Projecting the Economic Impacts of Improved Accessibility in Ontario; commissioned by the Government of Ontario, Canada; prepared by three collaborating research bodies: the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) and the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity (ICP); 2010;

Regulatory Assessment of the Final Revised Accessibility Guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act; prepared by the Access Board; USA, July 2004;

Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards Economic Assessment; prepared by the EOP Foundation, Washington, D.C.; USA, November 2000;

Initial Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Proposed Revised Regulations Implementing Titles II And III of the ADA, Including Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design; prepared by HDR HLB DECISION ECONOMICS INC.; USA, May 9, 2008;

Universal design and standardization - Norwegian visions (Universell utforming og standardisering - norske visjoner); Paper presented on the World Standards Day 2010 Conference in Stockholm 2010-10-14;

Universal Design. Societal Consequences of the Introduction of obligatory Standards for the Web (Universell utforming. Samfunnsmessige konsekvenser ved innføring av pliktige standarder for web); Report to the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI); Standards Norway, Lysaker2010;

Standards for self-service ICT solutions (automats) to be covered by the new Discrimination and Accessibility Act etc. (Standarder for selvbetjente IKT-løsninger (automater) som skal omfattes av ny lov om diskriminering og tilgjengelighet m.v.) Report to the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform; Standards Norway, Lysaker 2009;

Report on obligatory universal design in the field of ICT in basic and higher education. (Utredning om plikt til universell utforming av /KT/ grunnopplæring og videregående opplæring); Report made for the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training; Standards Norway, Lysaker 2009;

Universal design in the field of services; Report from survey of specifications, guidelines and standards (Universell utforming på tjenesteområdet. Rapport fra kartlegging av spesifikasjoner, retningslinjer og standarder).; Standards Norway, Lysaker 2009;

Experiences of European Countries in Assistive Technology distribution systems (Erfaringer fra andre land); Chapter in public report (NOU) on Assistive Technology distribution system in Norway; Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion, Oslo 2009;

A cost effeciency approach to universal access for public transport for disabled people; Nelson and Stambrook, Social Research in Transport (SORT) Clearinghouse; Lyche and Hervik, More Research Molde; 2001, Norway;

Cost and benefit analyses of Universal design in public buildings; in Kooperation with Vista Utredning AS and WSP Analyse & Strategi; Norwegian ministry for local government and regional development; 2010-2011;

Universal design of ICT of self-service machines (Norway); Analyse & Strategi, in partnership with Vista Analyse;

Public transport users valuing measures for universal design (Norway) (Kollektivtrafikanters verdsetting av tiltak for universell utforming); Analyse & Strategi in collaboration with the Institute of Transport Economics; Secondary Analysis of Existing Data on Disabled People's Use of public Transport, Disability Rights Commission. (Principal applicant); 2006;

Evaluation of special transport service for disabled people; Municipality of Oslo; Rambøll Management; 2007-2008;

Norwegian document that quantifies the benefits of DFA (further reference to be added);

Television Accessibility; International Expert, Guido Gybels; Representing EBU at IEC meeting Oct 2011, Melbourne Australia;

European Institutions consulted documents:

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe; SEC(2010) 1323; SEC(2010) 1324;

Commission Staff Working Document; Initial plan to implement the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020; List of actions 2010-2015; COM(2010) 636;

Commission Staff Working Document; Impact Assessment accompanying the document 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites'; SWD(2012) 401 final;

Commission Staff Working Paper; Impact Assessment accompanying the document 'Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Common European Sales Law'; SEC(2011) 1165 final;

2009 Ageing Report: Underlying Assumptions and Projection Methodologies for the EU-27 Member States (2007-2060); Joint Report prepared by the European Commission (DG ECFIN) and the Economic Policy Committee (AWG); European Economy 7; 2008;

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Towards a Single Market Act - For a highly competitive social market economy; 50 proposals for improving our work, business and exchanges with one another; COM(2010) 608 final;

Commission Staff Working Paper; Impact Assessment accompanying the document 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Public Procurement 'and the 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal sectors'; COM(2011) 896 final; SEC(2011) 1586 final;

Commission Staff Working Paper; Guide to the application of the European Union rules on state aid, public procurement and the internal market to services of general economic interest, and in particular to social services of general interest; SEC(2010) 1545 final.

2.Annex 2: Results of the stakeholder consultations

Further to the main highlights already included in section '1.2. Consultation and expertise' of the Impact Assessment Report, this annex contains some more information and findings from the three main external consultations that have been conducted with a view of a European Accessibility Act. They are:

1.Eurobarometer on Accessibility (2012);

0.Public Consultation on Accessibility (2012); and

1.SME Panel (2012). Information on this panel is included in Annex 11 on SMEs.

1. Eurobarometer on Accessibility (2012)

Introduction

The interviews were carried out by telephone (fixed-line and mobile phone) between the 15th and the 17th of March 2012 with nationally representative samples of EU citizens (aged 15 and older) living in the 27 Member States. The target sample size in most countries was 1,000 interviews; in total, 25,516 interviews were conducted. Statistical results were weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies.

The summary of the analysis is presented along the following topics:

Profile of people with disabilities and the difficulties of accessibility they are facing in their daily life

Perception of improved accessibility of goods and services and benefits in removing barriers

How to improve and guarantee accessibility

Profile of people with disabilities and the difficulties of accessibility they are facing in their daily life

Almost three in ten Europeans (29%) say that they or someone in their household has a longstanding illness or health problem, which has lasted, or was expected to last, for 6 months or more.

Overall 29% of respondents say that they or a member of their household has been limited in some way, with one in eight (12%) describing this as severe limitation and 17% saying that it has limited them but not severely.

It is mobility issues that cause the most difficulty amongst EU citizens that say that they or a member of their household have a longstanding illness or health problem.

Nearly two in five respondents (38%) who say that they or a member of their household have a longstanding illness or health problem have experienced difficulties using the sidewalk or crossing the street with a traffic light. The same proportion (38%) say that they have experienced difficulties entering into a building or an open public space, while more than a third (36%) have experienced difficulties taking a taxi, bus, train or flight.

BASE = Respondents who say that they or someone in their household have any longstanding illness or health problem (n=7403)

Around a quarter of those who say that they or a member of their household have a longstanding illness or health problem have experienced difficulties using a computer of telephone (26%) or when buying a product or service they needed (online purchasing included) (24%).

Fewer than one in five respondents (18%) who say that they or a member of their household have a longstanding illness or health problem has experienced difficulties voting in an election.

Just under one in five respondents (19%) who say that they or a member of their household have a longstanding illness or health problem has experienced difficulties using official authorities’ websites, while slightly fewer (17%) have experienced difficulties using commercial websites.

Perception of improved accessibility of goods and services and benefits in removing barriers

Almost all respondents (97%) agree that people with disabilities should be able to participate fully in society like people without disabilities (i.e. they should be able to go to school, get a job, access shops and supermarkets, go on holidays etc.). Eight in ten respondents (80%) totally agree with this statement.

Overall more than nine in ten respondents (93%) agree that barriers make it difficult for people with disabilities, with two in three (66%) saying that they ‘totally agree’ and 27% saying that they ‘tend to agree’.

7 in 10 Europeans believe better accessibility of goods and services would very much improve the lives of people with disabilities, the elderly and others with accessibility issues (72% say this when asked just about people with disabilities and the elderly and 69% say this when asked about people with disabilities, the elderly and others such as pregnant women and those travelling with luggage).

47% of Europeans believe better accessibility of goods and services would very much improve opportunities for industry to sell products to people with disabilities and the elderly.

Two thirds (66%) of respondents say that they would buy, or pay, more for products if they were more accessible and better designed for all, with specific reference to the inclusion of people with disabilities and the elderly.

How to improve and guarantee accessibility

86% of Europeans agree that having similar accessibility solutions across Europe would enable them to travel, study and work in another EU country. Countries with the highest level of agreement with this statement are Malta (96%), Italy (94%), Ireland (93%), Lithuania (92%) and Greece (92%).

96% of Europeans agree that when public authorities provide goods and services they should be obliged to ensure that they are also accessible to people with disabilities.

94% of Europeans agree that more money should be spent on eliminating physical obstacles which make the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly difficult.

93% of Europeans agree that manufacturers and service providers should be required to ensure accessibility of the goods and services that they sell.

85% of Europeans agree that it should be possible to complain and go to court to seek sanctions against manufacturers and service providers who do not comply with binding measures to improve accessibility.

Across Europe as a whole, 48% agree that ‘existing rules on accessibility are sufficient to ensure them a good access to goods and services’ (14% totally agree and 34% tend to agree) whilst 47% disagree (15% totally disagree and 32% tend to disagree).

There is a difference of 46 percentage points between the country with the highest and lowest level of agreement (combined totally agree and tend to agree). In the UK seven in ten (70%) agree that existing rules are adequate while in the country with the lowest level of agreement, Greece, around a quarter (24%) agree. Other countries that have high levels of agreement with this statement overall are Sweden (66%), Luxembourg (61%), the Netherlands (59%) and Finland (58%).

78% of Europeans think that having common rules on accessibility in the EU will make it easier for companies to operate in another EU country.

There is a difference of 27 percentage points between the country with the highest and lowest level of positive response. The highest proportion saying yes overall is 90% and was recorded in Ireland. The lowest is 63% and was recorded in both the Czech Republic and Estonia.


2. Public Consultation on Accessibility (2012)

Introduction

Aiming to gather stakeholder views as input for the impact assessment of the measures to improve the accessibility of goods and services in the internal market, the “Public consultation with a view to a European Accessibility Act” (open from 12 December 2011 to 29 February 2012) was addressed to all citizens (including people with disabilities and older people), as well as to public and private sector organisations. The geographic scope covered includes EU Member States, EFTA/EEA countries and candidate countries to the enlargement of the EU.

The objective of the analysis was also to detect the goods and services prioritised by respondents to be rendered accessible, problems related to the internal market, as well as the potential measures to be taken in order to improve the current situation regarding accessibility and the functioning of the internal market for accessible goods and services.

In total, 2956 respondents accessed the public consultation online and an additional 42 responses were submitted in other formats. A high percentage of respondents merely accessed the survey and left the survey without completing the core questions of the questionnaire. Due to this factor, it was necessary to filter the data in order to analyse the valid responses. The sample of valid responses consists of 821 responses - 648 citizens (79%) and 173 representatives of organisations (21%).

The summary of the analysis is presented along the following topics:

Current situation in the Member States and possible measures, from both a citizens’ and organisations’ perspective;

Barriers, priority areas for an accessibility act and impacts from a citizens’ perspective;

Barriers, customers, costs and benefits, and measures from an organisations’ perspective;

Prioritised goods and services.

Current situation in the Member States and possible measures

From the citizens’ perspective

Citizens indicated three areas as the most problematic (ranked from the poorest to the highest accessibility perceived):

Transport: Accessibility in the transport area was also perceived as low as 40% of the respondents stating so. An equal percentage did not answer the question and only 10% considered accessibility in the Transport sector as medium or high in both.

Information and communication: In line with respondents’ opinions on the Built environment, the ICT accessibility level was considered low by 35% of citizens, whereas 9% and 10% defined it as medium or high, respectively. When looking at the country distribution, it is worth mentioning that the poorest perception of accessibility can be found in Belgium (79%) and Italy (88%). On the other hand, Germany and the United Kingdom showed the highest perception of accessibility (25% in both countries).

Built environment: Most citizens that provided a scale of the accessibility level in the built environment ranked it low (29%), whereas others ranked it as medium (9%) or high (10%). Per country analysed (only those having a minimum of 15 responses), more than half of respondents considered it low, particularly in Italy (82%) and Belgium (62%).

In line with the answers to above mentioned question, the three most relevant areas presenting many accessibility barriers for citizens are presented below, ranked in order of importance 1 : Transport is again the most important, whereas the built environment is considered more priority than information and communication:

Transport and mobility (33%)

Built environment (20%)

Information and communication, including ICT (16%)

Health (14%)

Education (12%)

Other goods and services (11%)

Public services (9%)

Culture and/or leisure (6%)

Employment (6%)

Integration in society (3%)

Tourism (3%)

Scope and efficiency of legislations as perceived by citizens and organisations.

Most citizens ranked badly in terms of efficiency (34%) and scope (29%). Organisations’ perception of current legislation show an equal split (19% good and 19% bad) and the efficiency of the legislation is judged to be bad by most organisations (24%) while 19% deem the efficiency to be good. Therefore, particularly among citizens there is a clear perception that the legislation is part of the reason why there is a problem with regards to accessibility, it being bad in scope and inefficient.

Concerning the possible actions that can be undertaken, several respondents outlined possible policy measures and best practices that could be taken in order to improve accessibility levels.

The main transversal items found in citizens’ responses are the following:

Legislation: When asked about essential provisions on existing national or foreign accessibility legislations, 16% of citizens cited international legislations such as the public procurement law of the US and some legal requirements on accessibility in Australia regarding consumer information on accessibility features for electronic devices.

Standards: Some citizens considered essential that public authorities unify standards so that there is a comprehensive and coherent standard norm that can be referenced by different legislations and markets. It is important to remark that the lack of unified standards was considered to be a barrier; whereas also the counter part was mentioned: unified international standards are needed to foster accessibility.

Enforcement and control mechanisms: More than one third of the citizens (35%) mentioned the lack of enforcement as a general problem concerning accessibility. These questions referred to what the respondents considered essential on accessibility legislation and important measures to be acknowledged by authorities. As above, the lack of enforcement is seen both as a barrier and a measure (i.e. the need of effective legislative enforcement).

Fines: In line with the need of enforcement and control mechanisms, many citizens highlighted the importance of fines in order to implement legislation successfully.

Universal design: This concept, linked to the UNCRPD, was the third most important policy measure for citizens.

Cooperation between public bodies: Respondents ranked the cooperation among the four layers of government (EU 54%, national authorities, 48%, regional authorities 33% and local authorities 35%). The main concern declared was the actual integration and cooperation of different government levels so that accessibility is effectively accomplished.

Other citizens assigned to the EU a core important role, indicating that it should:

-Provide a common framework to support and harmonise legislation for disabled people across the EU that is reasonably enforceable;

-Set a standards across all countries, especially on transit and transport across the EU for disabled passengers;

-Set common practices on wheelchair policy and resource booking at the time of booking travel.;

-Set an equal policy for assistance dogs (registered) to travel.

Other specific roles or initiatives identified in the public consultation include:

Awareness campaigns: Within the policy and legal measures acknowledged as important by citizens, it is worth mentioning the need of awareness campaigns focused not only on the topic of accessibility, but also on disability.

Information: Even though not too many citizens commented on this item, some of them seemed very concerned about the lack of information relating to accessibility for businesses, citizens and disabled organisations themselves, especially regarding the question about the role that SMEs could play. Citizens declared that SMEs are very important facilitators in providing improved accessibility. Specific measures and assistance maybe be required, as costs involved in changing systems and procedures, training staff, and providing equipment could be difficult for smaller businesses to meet.

Training: With less importance for citizens than for organisations, training was suggested as a policy and legal measure for the improvement of accessibility (5%). Moreover, some responses fostered the idea that special training for SME´s staff on how to deliver and facilitate service to disable people was needed.

Financial/Tax incentives: The role of financial incentives was suggested as a relevant policy measure in order to foster accessibility (9%). Since many respondents argued that accessibility represents an important financial burden for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), incentives in the form of funds, subsidies or tax exemptions were suggested.

UNCRPD implementation: The importance of the UNCRPD implementation was remarked by citizens as an important measure that public authorities as well as market operators should foster.

Understanding people with disabilities’ needs: A relevant number of citizens (27%) responded that people with disabilities should have an active role on the policy making process for public measures regarding accessibility as well as in the co-design phase of goods and services in private corporations. This was also marked as a suggestion for public authorities and market operators in order to improve accessibility of goods and services.

Public procurement: Even though citizens did not mention public procurement as often as organisations did, this resort is a possible option since it can assure accessibility at least in public sector services. For some citizens, this is a starting point for the development and accomplishment of accessibility. This aspect was mentioned also within the group of suggestions for public authorities and market operations.

Research, Development and innovation: Regarding existing national or foreign accessibility provisions, citizens remarked the importance of innovation and new research supported by government funds that can generate new solutions for improving accessibility. They linked it to the financial incentives measure. Within those citizens suggesting to encourage R&D and innovation, a significant number mentioned the importance of SMEs developing new accessible solutions



From the organisations’ perspective

Conclusions from the organisations’ perspective are presented below, including a breakdown per type of organisation when possible 2 .

In line with responses received by citizens, three areas were pointed out by organisations as the most problematic, although ranked differently:

Transport: About one in every four organisations responding mentioned transport as a sector with low accessibility, whereas 10% considered it high and 8% medium.

Industries from the rail sector noted that Denmark set aside dedicated funding to improve accessibility, which may contribute to improve the current situation.

Goods mentioned by NGOs respondents regarding the transport sector include trains, buses, and coaches.

ICT: In the ICT area, 23% of the organisations mentioned this sector’s accessibility as low, whereas only 10% marked it as high and 8% as medium. There were a number of goods and services mentioned by the industry, including enlarged teletext internet services, and broadcasting accessibility requirements. On a communication and training level, it was noted that people with disabilities require a number of communication channels in order to precisely receive the products they need, and that staff working at stores should be trained to familiarise themselves with these needs.

Goods listed by NGOs as important included basic ICT equipment, mobile phones, assistive products, Internet Protocol television (IPTV), Video on Demand (VoD) services and internet TV protocols.

Built environment: Some organisations (17%) perceived accessibility to be low in the built environment, whereas others considered it medium (13%) and high (7%) respectively. Industry respondents pointed out the lack of standards on accessibility in place to guarantee that people with disabilities are supported to fully participate in society. Responses from NGOs towards the built environment did point out the current state of affairs of accessibility legislation in countries such as Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic. Additionally, it was highlighted that local authorities in the UK volunteer to cooperate with civic initiatives on subsequent adaptations (physical barrier elimination) of buildings in use. Other topics discussed were access to (public) buildings, museums and exhibitions and prisons, access and use of urbanised public spaces and buildings, to name a few.

Concerning the priority areas, the top three priorities are the same as indicated above, although information and communication was considered the most important area, followed by built environment and transport (which was indicated as the most problematic):

Information and communication (39%)

Built environment (37%)

Transport (36%)

Health (17%)

Public services (16%)

Education (14%)

Other goods and services (12%)

Culture and/or leisure (8%)

Employment (5%)

Integration in society (4%)

Tourism (3%)

Again, the underlying reasons for the current problems identified by organisation in relation to the legislation from the point of view of organisations have been analysed. The perceptions seem to be divided regarding the scope of legislation (19% considers it good and 19% considers it bad). Similarly, efficiency of the legislation is judged as bad by 24% organisations in contrast to 19% who deem the efficiency to be good. Therefore, it can be concluded that there is no consensus about the current legislation, however there is an indication that organisations consider the lack of efficiency as a reason for identified problems with regard to accessibility.

The number of organisations’ responses received per country impeded to examine the influence of the country variable; however, some responses provided more insights about the issues causing problems in the sectors prioritised above:

ICT: Organisations responding about the scope and efficiency of legislation regarding ICT stated that the efficiency can represent a barrier.

Barriers pointed out in the field of ICT by NGOs include:

lack of including the needs of people with disabilities in the design stage of technology development;

basic ICT equipment not having inbuilt accessibility features;

expensive specialist assistive/accessible ICT equipment;

information being inaccessible;

difficulties accessing travel information;

lack of awareness campaigns to inform professionals and public authorities;

high price of assistive technologies.

NGOs had an overarching agreement that access to information is the key element to being an active member of society. Without access to information, blind and partially sighted people are not able to access goods and services, they may not even know that these are available; so it is of paramount importance to address this issue.

Built environment: Some elements were mentioned as important, such as the lack of lifts and ramps in public places and shops. The main physical barriers mentioned by the industry were footpaths, parking, inaccessible buildings, signage on footpaths that impede movement, deliveries on footpaths, and also that pathways in supermarkets could be too narrow for wheelchair users, for example.

Transport: Organisations that indicated barriers in Transport accessibility mostly pointed out the poor efficiency of the existing legislation. NGOs noted a lack of enforcement of accessibility measures, giving examples such as lack of universality on accessible trains and buses. Difficulties accessing travel information and the behaviour of drivers and other transport staff cause many of the problems people experience when travelling. Public bodies participating declared that the main barrier was the information at bus stops being accessible visually and also in audio form, also noting that people with disabilities should pay lower fees for public transportation services.

Concerning the possible actions or policy measures that could be undertaken to tackle these issues, perceptions of respondents have been identified within different questions posed in the public consultation.

Legislation: For organisations, restrictive legislation is the most important policy and legal measure, mentioned by the 36% of them. Some organisations noted international legislation for diverse topics such as fines or public procurement laws from a variety of countries such as the United States, Australia and Republic of Korea. International legislation was also mentioned when respondents were asked about essential provisions to take into account from existing legislations.

Standards: When asked about what market operators should do to improve accessibility, one of the top five suggestions was working on unifying and integrating common standards so that the general rule complying standardisation for accessibility is simple and solid. In many cases, an explicit reference to international standards was made 3 .

Enforcement and control mechanisms: Organisations considered that actual control, monitoring and even monetary penalties are necessary for the enforcement of accessibility. Respondents made reference to these mechanisms as a measure for public authorities (35%). A number of industry respondents stated that standardisation efforts should be voluntary, industry-led, transparent and open to all stakeholders, especially people with disabilities. The general consensus of NGOs is that enforcement is key to maintaining beneficial accessibility legislation.

Fines: Organisations often mentioned the need for more fines in order to enforce accessibility. Although enforcement of accessibility legislation was deemed important, no further information was specified by industries, NGOs and public bodies.

Universal design: The third most popular policy and legal measure perceived to improve accessibility was universal design. One in every four organisations explained the importance of this concept when cutting costs, gaining new clients and improving accessibility. The use of universal design and design for all was a frequent suggestion found throughout NGOs responses.

Cooperation between public bodies: Organisations considered that effective cooperation between the four levels of governance is essential highlighting the aspect that cooperation with disabled people and their representatives should be included in structures on those levels.

Awareness campaigns: Organisations, similarly to citizens, pointed out awareness campaigns as a policy measure to promote accessibility (13%).

NGOs considered awareness as important, as it can be used to help the integration of people with disabilities and at the same time enrich those who have not experienced disability so far. Awareness campaigns can also help shift the general regard that people with disabilities are in need of help, towards a view of them being active citizens who demand respect for their specific needs 4 .

Public bodies noted that there is a growing need for awareness on the behalf of non-disabled people to train them in matters of accessibility.

Information: Within the response for specific measures aimed for SMEs, respondents considered that fluid information to and from SMEs had to be improved (9%).

Training: Doubling the percentage of respondents compared to citizens, organisations (11%) responded highlighting training as an item for policy and legal measures; it is mostly interpreted as staff training on accessibility as well as on disability in general. A few respondents expressed some concern about the need of training for SME's staff and managers when dealing with accessibility as well as disability.

Training staff working in public services were declared important by many industries. People who deliver transport services need to be trained in how to support a person with a disability to access transport services to ensure equality for all.

NGOs also emphasised training staff who are dealing with the public, in various topics including sign language, design for all and accessibility. It was pointed out as especially important to train staff in the transport and health sectors.

When respondents spoke of persons with disabilities receiving training themselves, digital literacy for people with disabilities was consider crucial in order to join the labour market and to enhance personal independence within their communities.

Training was a subject discussed in depth by public bodies’ respondents. It was stated that the training of product development experts should include “accessibility” and “design-for-all” themes.

Financial /Tax incentives: The role of financial and tax incentives were acknowledged as a measure for improving accessibility for some organisation respondents: fiscal incentives as well as specific funds will enhance a proper and fair accessibility implementation. SMEs were identified as problematic for improving accessibility due primarily to the financial burden that sometimes represent some adaptations. One of the solutions given by respondents was to endow SMEs with financial and tax incentives from public programmes (10%).

Industry respondents suggested miscellaneous measures such as:

European and national film subsidy programs could, for example, foster the promotion of subtitling and / or audio description in their programmes.

The European Commission should support Member States in developing national plans including dedicated funding on transport. The funding must be on a sector by sector basis that supports the Commission’s goals on a Europe-wide basis.

In a brief way, one industry stated that there is a need for fiscal incentives in order to face technical challenges presented by accessibility.

Economic incentives including tax reductions could be designed that market retailers develop original, accessible solutions.

The notion that public authorities should create incentives for market operators in order to make accessibility more attractive to them was emphasised throughout NGOs responses. Many respondents found tax incentives pertinent for companies which include design for all when manufacturing goods aimed at assisting persons with disabilities. One respondent proposed the exemption of customs duties on all assistive technology equipment, as well as relevant IT software. This call is similar to the tax exemption for cars adapted for drivers with motor disabilities that is already in place, however if implemented in the future it would include people with non-motor disabilities.

Finally, public bodies stated that the federal/national governments could develop financial incentives for the creation of barrier-free access to or barrier-free equipment of hospitals.

UNCRPD implementation: One in four organisations stated that legislation that public authorities should successfully implement the UNCRPD.

Both industry and public bodies' respondents stated that the German Federal Government presented an action plan to implement the UNCRPD which recently passed through the parliament. Germany alone created a National Action Plan (NAP), of over 200 projects and activities, highlighting the overall strategy of implementing the Convention and showing that inclusion is a process that should include all areas of life for people with disabilities.

Understanding people with disabilities’ needs: Organisations expressed that market operators and public authorities should listen to people with disabilities and their organisations (40% of respondents), suggesting that stable communication channels should be constructed for a fluid dialogue. Similarly to the “awareness campaigns” section above, user feedback from people with disabilities was stated to be of a great value for industries’ future product developments. A few industries participate in regular outreach and “gain useful insights” through exchanges with the disability community in order to understand needs and create product design.

NGOs mentioned some measures:

Both public authorities and market operators should involve persons with intellectual disabilities and their representative organisations (whether at local, regional or national level) in their initiatives aiming at improving accessibility.

Experts with disabilities should be invited to take part as consultants in all stages of the development process.

Crucial needs of people with disabilities should be included at the design stage of technology development.

Market operators must be aware of end users’ needs, understand the benefits of including design for all and discover the potential business opportunities the disability segment offers.

Public sector organisations expressed to rely very much on NGOs of disabled people/relatives in order to have feedback from policy created and implemented.

Public procurement: A suggestion by some organisations (16%) was that public authorities should strongly include accessibility on their tender requirements for public procurement.

Research, development and innovation: Research, development and innovation linked with public funding for new solutions in accessibility were proven to be an essential aspect reported by respondents. Moreover, this measure is essential for SMEs in order to facilitating competitive advantages through innovation.

Industry respondents indicated that the EU research framework programme should ensure accessibility as a precondition for funding.

Barriers, priority areas for an accessibility act and impacts from a citizens’ perspective

Concerning barriers perceived by citizens, the same three areas remain the most cited in relation to accessibility barriers for citizens. Presented below and ranked in order of importance, specific types of barriers mentioned per area are highlighted:

Built environment: Concerning barriers perceived in this sector, answers were focused on architectural barriers (such as lack of lifts, absence or inappropriately designed ramps, inaccessible entrances to public places and high curbs) and on the lack of enforcement of accessibility measures.

Information and communication: The lack of unified standards across Europe is considered the most important barrier in the Information and communication sector, followed by lack of appropriate information in public places (e.g. streets and transport stations signs, braille signing or signing interpretation for the deaf).

Transport: Regarding the barriers perceived, access to public transport was considered to be the most important issue, mainly trains and buses, stating that not all routes are accessible, creating uncertainty and a feeling of lack of freedom of movement among citizens.

On a separate note, a pointed out in the Built environment and ICT sectors, lack of enforcement and standards represent an important general barrier for citizens.

Sectors and areas considered by citizens as most important (in order of importance) are:

Built environment

Information and communication, including ICT

Transport and mobility

Health

Culture

Education

Employment

Participation in society

Tourism

When citizens were asked about the impacts of an increased availability of accessible goods and services, they explicitly pointed out that the main effects would be found in the areas of:

Participation in Society

Built environment

Transport & Mobility

Information and communication

Starting with 'participation in society', it is extensively believed that by improving access to goods and services, disabled people will automatically have a stronger involvement in society, taking part more actively of the public sphere. This would improve quality of life as well as independent living. The impact expected for the built environment normally refers to retailing, buildings and toilets. Concerning the impact of measures improving accessibility in transport, it is linked with a better mobility within and around cities. Regarding the impact on Information and communication, the main importance was given to websites and online transactions, media and self-service terminals such as vending machines.

Respondents from the UK also mentioned an increased choice and affordability of accessible goods and services in the market, which would generate increased sales (potential disabled customers are often unable to find goods that they can use or unable to afford the very few goods that exist).

Barriers, customers, costs and benefits, and measures from an organisations' perspective

Conclusions from the organisations’ perspective are presented below, including a breakdown per type of organisation when possible 5 .

When organisations were requested to explain to what extent they were confronted with different accessibility rules in different Member States, 54% expressed that different Member States’ rules create barriers, whereas 28% stated that no barriers were apparently found. The remaining 18% pointed out that different regional rules create barriers. In relation to the three most important areas the following barriers were identified:

Built environment: As a general view, organisations considered that the lack of coherence concerning accessibility rules is an important barrier, along with a lack of enforcement. Barriers found in the built environment for industry respondents referred to the high cost of accessibility and different Member States’ accessibility rules. The items most found refer to lifts, public and residential buildings, and thresholds.

ICT: The main items or aspects highlighted were websites as well as the lack of standards and enforcement on how to present public information accessible to all in alternative formats such as Braille. Industry representatives pointed out that the main barrier perceived for accessibility is the lack of unified standards as well as the different legislations around Member States concerning accessibility. The main items found were ATMs, hardware, software, websites and web content.

Transport: The lack of universality on accessible trains and buses, was deemed important. Barriers detected by the industry include the high costs and rigid legislation on accessibility. According to respondents, making transport accessible is rather expensive and legislation enforces strict requirements. Some items found in the responses are buses, trains, wheelchair lifts and transport stations. Some respondents pointed out that the different accessibility rules are a fact which makes travel and information difficult for tourists; moreover, they could entail that there are better levels of service in some countries than others. Assistance dogs were mentioned by NGOs as example of barriers created by different legislations, because laws are not only different countries, but also within different regions in the same country.

Regarding the role persons with disabilities play as customers and regarding market share, they were reported as being organisations’ main clients (24% of respondents). It is clear for private businesses that people with disabilities are a commercial target to aim for. Other organisations affirmed that people with disabilities test their products and services in order to improve them in terms of accessibility.

From the industry perspective, accessibility is seen as a relevant trend in the market. Some industries target these segments directly due to their experience in producing goods and services for people with disabilities in a high percentage, whereas others target larger segments producing goods and services for the general public but fostering accessibility in order to entice people with disabilities to be customers.

Public bodies are also aware of the market potential for accessible products.

The actual costs and benefits of producing accessible goods and services are still not quite clear for organisations. Some agree on the fact that designing and producing accessible goods and services is expensive, especially when asked about the costs faced by their own organisation. Compliance with legislation is also mentioned as a source of cost that in many cases is hard to quantify. On the other hand, some benefits were identified such as reaching or retaining more clients and the improvement of consumer satisfaction.

Some industry respondents indicated that the estimation of financial costs and benefits was difficult to calculate. For some organisations, accessibility implies no extra cost, whereas for others it is considered a significant burden though, very few specified actual figures or estimations.

NGOs particularly highlighted the benefits of accessibility measureable in monetary terms. In their opinion, adopting EU common accessibility standards could lead to the overcoming of a lot of obstacles as well as to the improvement of the feeling of safety and autonomy of disabled people. If mainstream manufacturers emphasised on built-in accessibility, their products would be in the hands of consumers who otherwise would not buy them. Increased availability of accessible goods and services on the market would immediately increase choice for disabled people.

Finally, some public authorities declared that there are generally high costs in making infrastructures accessible. For instance, older public transport infrastructure may imply high costs. In contrast, new public transport infrastructure is already built accessible all over Europe, (in some cases with legal national obligations in others without them). Concerning vehicles, the continuous modernisation of fleets has resulted that in many cities (e.g. bus or urban rail) fleets are 100 % accessible and in some cities, still existing buses (e.g. high-floor) will be replaced in the coming years.

Legislation was considered the most relevant measure (23%) supporting the industry, followed by standards (22%), enforcement (13%), best practices (7%), certification schemes (7%), cooperation between public bodies (5%) and awareness campaigns (4%), among others. Feedback received is focused on the two most important measures (legislation and standards).

Concerning legislation, the following conclusions have been identified:

Industry representatives indicated that an EU Accessibility Act should include a link to EU public procurement rules since the amount of different accessibility requirements and legislation at different levels is not helpful for businesses. There is a general agreement among industry respondents that rigid legislation represents a burden, whereas certain standards such as the WCAG for websites are supporting industries in their efforts to improve accessibility. In addition, a mix of EU and Member State legislation were mentioned pointed out as relevant:

EU: the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the 2009 revision of the EC Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications Networks and Services (2002/21/EC) and General Equal Treatment Act and Directive 2008/57/EC on the “Interoperability of the Rail System within the Community”

Germany: Copyright Act and Disability Discrimination Act

UK: 2003 Communications Act,

International legislation mentioned include the Australian Code for Accessibility Reporting, where manufacturers provide accessibility reports for fixed and mobile phones, and the Australian Disability Discrimination Act requiring goods used in the delivery of a service to be accessible.

NGOs indicated the following national legislations as examples:

France: 2005 Act on Equal Opportunities,

Spain: Act 51/2003 regarding Equal Opportunities, Non-discrimination and Universal Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities law (LIONDAU), the Royal Decree 366/2007 regarding Persons with Disabilities and Relations with the General State Administration, and the Spanish Royal Decree 505/2007 on Access and Use of Urbanised Public Spaces and Buildings.

UK: General Building Code and Building Regulations Code, Equality Act 2010, Law no. 448/2006 on protection and promotion of persons with disabilities, and the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act of 2002.

Although international legislation was not specifically named, many NGOS respondents included references to how the United States with both strong legislation in the education market and strong public procurement legislation has driven companies like Apple to include accessibility features in their products.

Finally, Public bodies the following Member State laws:

France: Code of Construction and Housing, which provides public funding to remodel existing facilities so that every disabled person can gain access.

Germany: Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (BGG) (providing for the prohibition of discrimination against disabled persons by public authorities)

Regarding international legislation, the success of American accessibility legislation was mentioned and how the American inclusion of mandatory accessibility requirements in public procurement was found favourable.

Concerning standards, the following conclusions have been identified:

The majority of organisations (60%) declared that having EU accessibility standards in line with the existing international ones will facilitate and foster accessibility.

Among the EU standardisation initiatives mentioned by industry responses, the Mandates M/376 and M/420 were deemed important in order to promote regulatory harmonisation. It was pointed out that a unified or common accessibility standard throughout Europe, in line with standards or regulations existing in North America and other major countries, will greatly benefit all the stakeholders including industry, end-users and service providers. Regulations and guidelines such as Section 508 in the US 6 and WCAG have been in place for a few years now and have gained wide acceptance amongst all stakeholders, even in Europe. Moreover, it was indicated that standards should specify functional requirements, be cross platform, industry-led and support further innovation and competition.

Standards mentioned by NGOs include the Spanish DBUSA Technical Building Code, British Standard BS 8878: 2010 “Web accessibility: code of practice”. It was stated that European, rather than Member State accessibility standards, should be enforced for the safety of people with disabilities visiting other countries to avoid disorientation and enhance safety for all citizens. Many existing goods and services would be more usable to the population as such if they were designed in a standardised manner giving access for everyone. Standards regarding built environment are different across member states which is stated to have a risk for imported devices and materials being incompatible with local standards.

Public bodies indicated the following statements:

The standards of accessibility to be called on in a future Accessibility Act are subject to constant change.

A Europe-wide adoption of common standards for accessibility of goods and services is essential. These standards should be agreed by the European standards agencies.

EU mandatory standards on accessibility should reflect best practice and should not result in a regression of existing national standards.

Priority goods and services

The top fifteen goods and services mentioned are aligned with the feedback provided by respondents throughout the questionnaire: built environment, transport and information and communication are the areas causing more problems and barriers related to the Internal Market to all stakeholders consulted. In general terms, buildings open to the public, websites and educational services have been the three most cited items.

Whereas citizens and public bodies are more concerned about buildings open to the public and websites, industry representatives indicated goods and services related to transport as core. Finally, NGOs found websites and educational services the most important to be covered by an EU Accessibility Act.

Many goods and services listed are not regulated in regards to accessibility or are competence of different levels of the administration (national, regional and local), and are demanded to be enforced regarding accessibility by an EU initiative.

3. SME Panel (2012)

Introduction

The SME Panel was conducted through Enterprise Europe Network between end of April and end of July 2012. 180 companies responded to this survey on accessibility, which focused on mainstream accessible goods and services used by most people, not the so-called assistive devices 7 . The aim of this survey was to gain a better understanding of the most important sectors and to identify problematic issues from the industry’s perspective, which may arise as a result of current legal fragmentation concerning the regulation of accessibility of goods and services and market issues. Of particular importance is the market supply of goods and services for which accessibility is included in the design stage to take into account the needs of the widest variety of users (i.e. Design for All/Universal Design).

The summary of the analysis, including its results, are presented along the following topics in annex 11 on SMEs:

General information about the companies;

How accessibility is considered in the organisation;

Obstacles to producing and providing accessible goods and services;

Estimates of the costs and benefits derived from providing accessible goods and services; and

Possible EU measures to encourage companies to provide more accessible goods and services.

3.Annex 3: Details on number of people with disabilities in the EU

EU27 2010. Estimation of number of people with disabilities, by age group 8

EU-SILC disability prevalence rates (%)

Population 1 January 2010 (millions)

Estimation of population with disability 2010 (millions)

Less than 5 (e)

3.6

26.40

0.96

5 - 14 (e)

4.8

51.88

2.49

15 - 24

7.1

60.63

4.36

25 - 34

9.2

68.36

6.32

35 - 44

14.6

74.26

10.87

45 - 64

23.1

71.52

16.49

55 - 64

33.3

60.96

20.32

65 - 74

46.0

45.96

21.09

75 - 84

61.7

30.72

18.98

85 or over

71.8

10.41

7.48

Total

 

501.10

109.37

(e) estimated by extrapolation

EU27 2010. Estimation of number of people with disabilities, comparison between the age group 16-24 with the 65+ 9

EU: About 46% of disabled people are persons aged 65+.

EU27 2010. Estimated number of people with disabilities, by sex and age group (millions)  10

Total

Males

Females

Total

Some

Severe

Total

Some

Severe

Total

Some

Severe

Total

109.37

70.98

34.94

47.19

30.46

15.07

62.18

40.52

19.87

Less than 5

0.96

0.79

0.18

0.46

0.35

0.11

0.50

0.44

0.07

5 - 14

2.49

1.99

0.49

1.20

0.90

0.30

1.29

1.10

0.19

15 - 24

4.36

3.42

0.94

2.14

1.58

0.56

2.22

1.84

0.39

25 - 34

6.32

4.71

1.61

2.98

2.18

0.80

3.34

2.53

0.81

35 - 44

10.87

7.86

3.01

5.01

3.52

1.50

5.86

4.35

1.51

45 - 64

16.49

11.74

4.76

7.67

5.32

2.34

8.82

6.41

2.41

55 - 64

20.32

14.14

6.18

9.51

6.38

3.13

10.82

7.77

3.05

65 - 74

21.09

14.49

6.61

9.13

6.18

2.95

11.96

8.31

3.66

75 - 84

18.98

11.12

7.86

7.00

4.18

2.82

11.98

6.94

5.04

85 or over

7.48

3.50

3.98

2.11

1.13

0.98

5.37

2.37

3.00

EU27 2010. Population pyramid of people with disabilities (millions)  11

EU27 2010. Estimated number of people with disabilities, by country and sex (millions) 12

Total

Males

Females

EU27

109.37

47.19

62.18

Belgium

2.36

1.03

1.33

Bulgaria

1.68

0.71

0.96

Czech Republic

2.22

0.95

1.26

Denmark

1.17

0.52

0.65

Germany

19.18

8.33

10.85

Estonia

0.29

0.11

0.18

Ireland

0.80

0.36

0.44

Greece

2.55

1.13

1.42

Spain

9.89

4.32

5.57

France

13.90

5.93

7.96

Italy

14.14

6.06

8.08

Cyprus

0.15

0.07

0.08

Latvia

0.49

0.18

0.30

Lithuania

0.69

0.27

0.43

Luxembourg

0.10

0.04

0.06

Hungary

2.16

0.87

1.28

Malta

0.09

0.04

0.05

Netherlands

3.48

1.55

1.93

Austria

1.84

0.79

1.05

Poland

7.70

3.22

4.48

Portugal

2.34

1.00

1.34

Romania

4.35

1.86

2.49

Slovenia

0.44

0.19

0.25

Slovakia

1.05

0.44

0.61

Finland

1.18

0.51

0.67

Sweden

2.06

0.92

1.14

United Kingdom

13.09

5.77

7.32

EU27 2015-2050. Estimated number of people with disabilities, by country (millions) 13

2015

2020

2025

2030

2035

2040

2045

2050

EU27

114.93

120.11

125.36

130.23

134.72

138.36

140.99

142.52

Belgium

2.50

2.62

2.76

2.89

3.02

3.14

3.23

3.30

Bulgaria

1.68

1.68

1.69

1.70

1.70

1.69

1.68

1.66

Czech Republic

2.33

2.45

2.56

2.66

2.73

2.78

2.83

2.87

Denmark

1.23

1.29

1.36

1.41

1.45

1.48

1.50

1.52

Germany

19.84

20.42

20.81

21.12

21.33

21.45

21.37

20.93

Estonia

0.30

0.30

0.31

0.31

0.32

0.32

0.32

0.32

Ireland

0.86

0.94

1.03

1.12

1.20

1.29

1.36

1.43

Greece

2.67

2.77

2.87

2.96

3.06

3.15

3.22

3.26

Spain

10.51

11.16

11.88

12.60

13.32

13.97

14.54

14.94

France

14.72

15.46

16.22

16.97

17.65

18.21

18.56

18.83

Italy

14.96

15.67

16.38

17.04

17.68

18.26

18.72

19.03

Cyprus

0.17

0.18

0.20

0.22

0.23

0.25

0.26

0.27

Latvia

0.49

0.50

0.50

0.51

0.51

0.52

0.52

0.52

Lithuania

0.70

0.71

0.72

0.73

0.75

0.76

0.77

0.77

Luxembourg

0.11

0.12

0.13

0.14

0.15

0.16

0.17

0.18

Hungary

2.21

2.27

2.34

2.39

2.45

2.48

2.52

2.54

Malta

0.09

0.09

0.10

0.10

0.11

0.11

0.11

0.11

Netherlands

3.72

3.94

4.15

4.32

4.46

4.54

4.57

4.58

Austria

1.93

2.03

2.13

2.22

2.31

2.38

2.43

2.46

Poland

8.09

8.45

8.83

9.19

9.48

9.66

9.72

9.74

Portugal

2.45

2.56

2.66

2.76

2.85

2.94

2.99

3.03

Romania

4.50

4.61

4.77

4.89

5.06

5.14

5.25

5.27

Slovenia

0.47

0.50

0.52

0.55

0.57

0.58

0.59

0.59

Slovakia

1.11

1.19

1.26

1.33

1.38

1.43

1.46

1.48

Finland

1.25

1.31

1.37

1.42

1.45

1.47

1.47

1.47

Sweden

2.17

2.29

2.41

2.51

2.60

2.67

2.74

2.81

United Kingdom

13.85

14.60

15.41

16.17

16.89

17.54

18.10

18.61

Estimates of types of disability across the EU suggest that 54.75 million people have mobility impairments, 23.97 million people have hearing impairments, 23.87 million people have cognitive impairments, 21.08 million people have visual impairments and 20.49 million people have mental health problems.

EU27 2010 - Estimated number of people with disabilities, by broad type or impairment (millions) 14

Total

Males

Females

Mobility impairments

54.75

23.06

31.69

Visual Impairments

21.08

8.93

12.15

Hearing Impairments

23.97

10.11

13.86

Cognitive Impairments

23.87

10.36

13.50

Mental Health Problems

20.49

8.57

11.92

4.Annex 4: Europe 2020 headline targets and disability

Information based on SILC 2010 data 15

Number of persons aged 20 to 64 in employment as a % of the same age group; 2010

Employment gap: 26,2% - Disabled: 45,5%; Non-Disabled: 71,7%; Total: 67,2%.

Percent of persons aged 30-34 who have completed a tertiary or equivalent education; 2010 Indicative results: Small samples in certain Member States

Percent of persons aged 18-24 with at most lower secondary education:early leavers from education and training. 2010 Indicative results: Small samples in certain Member States.

Percent of persons who are either at risk of poverty after social transfers or severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity, Age 16-64, 2010

5.Annex 5: Screening process 

A screening process was carried out to establish a list of goods and services affected by the divergence of accessibility requirements, which result in distortions and prevent the smooth functioning of the internal market.

The responsible services of the Commission were assisted by a contractor (Deloitte) who was asked to gather the necessary data and conduct the screening process according to the predefined criteria.

The list was established based on the following criteria:

-goods and services which are the most relevant for the socio-economic integration into society of persons with disabilities and other persons with functional limitations and

-encounter or are expected to encounter barriers in cross-border trade due to the already existing and growing divergence of national accessibility requirements and/or

-encounter or are expected to encounter difficulties while participating in the EU level public procurement calls for tender.

and using the following sources:

-United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD);

-EU legislation including accessibility provisions;

-National legislation, regulations or administrative actions including accessibility provisions;

-Public consultations and other contacts with stakeholders.

The screening process was carried out in successive stages:

1st stage: Identification of relevant goods and services

Objective: Identification of goods and services which are the most relevant for persons with disabilities and other persons with functional limitations.

Possible relevant goods and services were identified based on two screenings:

screening of goods and services for which accessibility is required/regulated by the provisions of the UNCRPD and by EU legislation

As a starting point, possible relevant goods and services were identified based on the analysis of the Articles of the UNCRPD. The Convention can be considered as providing the basis for accessibility policy in the EU due to the fact that the EU as well as most Member States ratified it (all of them having signed it). This is complemented by a review of existing EU accessibility-related legislation. The UNCRPD refers to accessibility on several occasions. Accessibility is established as one of the general principles (Article 3) to be observed throughout the implementation and application of the UNCRPD. State Parties committed themselves to take all "appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities, on equal basis with others, access to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communication technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public" (Article 9, 1.). Moreover, the "State Parties shall also take appropriate measures to develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public" (Article 9, 2. (a)). The UNCRPD also requires that the State Parties "ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities" (Article 9, 2. (b)).

A summary of the different areas of EU level legislation that are related to accessibility has also been produced. In line with the UNCRPD most of the pieces of legislation identified deal with the areas of transport, the built environment and information and communication (including ICT). The legislation covers a wide range of policy areas including employment, education, information society, health, enterprise, internal market, information society, etc. It is important to note that a specific legislation in one policy area may address different aspects of accessibility that has implications for the built environment, transport information and communication (including ICT) and other areas related to accessibility.

screening of goods and services for which accessibility is regulated or referred to in provisions of national legislation, regulations or administrative actions

This next stage of the screening process analysed the state of play of the national rules in the Member States, which refer to or regulate accessibility of goods and services at the national or local level. Within that exercise a wide range of national provisions or administrative practices was screened.

The review of existing national level accessibility legislation identifies obligations and requirements related to accessible goods and services in different Member States with a specific focus on differences in terms of scope, level of detail, ’softness‘ (mandatory vs. voluntary), timeline and enforceability. This conveys an overview of the different approaches that Member States have taken so far in implementing the requirements of the UNCRPD 16 (or of their national strategies, namely for the Member States that have not yet ratified it). It further provides insights on the goods and services which require a specific attention from a legislator’s point of view and indicated potential future developments in relation to accessibility policy and legislation in Europe.

Conclusion of the 1st stage: A list of 87 goods and services relevant for persons with disabilities and other persons with functional limitations was established, with the goods and services coming from the following areas:

-Information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems (31 goods and services);

-Built (physical) environment (24 goods and services);

-Transportation (14 goods and services); and

-Other areas (18 goods and services).

2nd stage: Prioritisation and selection of relevant goods and services

Objective: Limitation of the list to those goods and services which are the most relevant for persons with disabilities and which hinder or are expected to hinder the well-functioning of the internal market.

In the 2nd stage of the general screening process, the list of 87 relevant goods and services was reduced notably to those for which there are obstacles or expected obstacles to the well-functioning of the internal market. Such goods and services encounter or are expected to encounter barriers in cross-border trade or their market emergence or amelioration is hindered due to a lack of economy of scale. The prioritisation and selection of selected goods and services was based in particular on quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Quantitative analysis based on public consultations and other contacts with the stakeholders

As a following step, the relevant goods and services were prioritised based on the results of the European Commission’s public consultation with a view to a European Accessibility Act. Citizens and organisations had the opportunity to express their opinion on which goods and services are, according to them, the most important for the integration of persons with disabilities and other persons with functional limitations. Due to the high number of responses 17 , the analysis of the public consultation has been conducted by automatized word counts within the relevant response fields. More specifically, for each of the 87 relevant goods and services, a number of keywords are defined. Of course, this quantitative analysis of the public consultation can only give an approximate indication of the goods and services that should be prioritised according to the stakeholder community, additional sources have been consulted.

At this stage, the following 23 goods and services were prioritised:

in the area of the area of information and communication (including ICT):

1.Websites and website content management systems;

2.Application software (e.g. generic office software as well as business-specific software applications, educational software, websites and virtual learning environments (VLEs));

3.Analogue and digital TV equipment (incl. consumer equipment and all related remote controls, product documentation, etc.);

4.Cultural media content (e.g. performances, theatres, cinema, concerts);

5.Accessibility services for audio/visual media (including captioning, audio description, text transcripts, sign language interpretation);

6.Mobile and fixed line telephones;

7.Documents – electronic and print formats (incl. Braille documents); and

8.Self-service terminals such as automated teller machines, parking metres, transport ticket machines, vending machines, and voting machines.

in the area of the built environment:

9. Buildings open to the public or parts thereof (e.g. libraries, shops and other retail outlets, community social centres, community health centres, sports centres and facilities, parks, playgrounds, restaurant, cafes, hotels, theatres, monuments, cultural heritage, leisure and entertainment etc.);

10.Shared spaces, public plaza, public roads, pavements, etc.;

11.Construction related products (including lifts, doors, handrails, ramps);

12.Buildings related to the workplace, industrials buildings, offices, conferences and meetings venues;

13.All buildings and related facilities open to the public associated with the provision of bank services and post services; and

14.Transport infrastructure (e.g. bus stops, train stations, airports).

in the area of transportation:

15.Bus / coach vehicles and line operations;

16.Rolling stock (e.g. trains, metros, trams) and railway operations;

17.Cars and car lease / rental services;

18.Airplanes and airline operations;

19.Vessels and maritime and waterway operations.

in other areas:

20.Financial services/banking;

21.Educational services and professional training;

22.Retail services; and

23.Hospitality services (i.e. accommodation services).

To determine which ones of these 23 goods and services encounter or are expected to encounter barriers in cross-border trade or which market emergence or amelioration is hindered due to a lack of economy of scale, the Commission proceeded with a qualitative analysis.

Qualitative analysis of national provisions or administrative practice which already impose or are expected to impose accessibility requirements on particular goods and services

In order to establish such national requirements, the screening process analysed the current national legislation in more detail, looking into provisions with accessibility requirements. For example, the national building requirements showed a level of divergence in terms of accessibility requirement, diverging national requirements were also found in the rules governing ATMs. Such divergence of national accessibility requirements is expected to grow in the near future. In particular, the obligations on the Member States stemming from the UNCRPD show the areas in which accessibility requirements are expected to be regulated by the Member States in the near future. 

Qualitative analysis based on other contacts with stakeholders and EU experts

The second stage of the screening process also analysed the results of other consultations, in particular, the SME Panel where some companies signalled that they had to deal with different accessibility requirements in different Member States. Moreover, the screening process took into account the conclusions of the various meetings and interviews. In particular the contractor undertook an important amount of meetings with relevant industries already engaged in the production of accessible goods and services. The Commission had also a series of meetings with stakeholders (such as DigitalEurope, Confederation of British Industry - CBI, ATM Industry Association - ATMIA, Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies - CER, etc.) where they gave their opinion on issues and concerns regarding accessible goods and services and the internal market.

In addition, exchanges with different Directorates-General of the European Commission (including DG ENTR, DG INFSO (now DG CONNECT), DG MARKT, DG MOVE, and DG SANCO as well as DG JUSTICE) provided valuable feedback and input with regard to the prioritisation of relevant goods and services. Furthermore information received via the Disability Hugh level Group was also used in this context.

Conclusions of the 2nd stage:

The quantitative and qualitative analysis process to identify prioritised goods and services has yielded a list of 14 priority goods and services, which are relatively evenly distributed over the four core policy areas identified in the UNCRPD. The table below list the 14 priority goods and services and summarises their characteristics with regard to the three selection criteria: (1) results of the EC public consultation, (2) legislative review at EU and Member State level and, when applicable (3) other relevant qualitative aspects.

High level comparison table of selected priority goods and services

Selected priority goods and services

Results of the public consultation

Legislative review

Other qualitative aspects

Information and Communication, including ICT

Computers and Operating Systems

Total hits: 208 (high)

Low legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

The accessibility of application software is very often dependant on the accessibility of computers (hardware) and their operating system.

Digital TV services and equipment

Total hits: 141 (medium)

High legal coverage - Identified differences in requirements across Member States

Telephony services and related terminal equipment

Total hits: 133 (medium)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Electronic documents ( including eBooks)

Total hits: 122 (medium)

Low legal coverage

Strongly growing market. Ensuring accessibility of eBooks today is considered to be crucial in order to secure access to public life and culture for disabled persons in the future.

Self-service terminals including ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines

Total hits: 473 (high)

High legal coverage – potential differences in requirements across Member States

Stakeholders particularly focus on the accessibility of ATMs.

Built environment

Architect services

Total hits: 97 (medium)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Link to the Regulation on Construction products is considered as well as the Rail PRMTSIs.

EU legislation is also available on the free movement of the architect profession but does not refer to accessibility.

Transport

Bus/Coach Transport

Total hits: 516 (high)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Rail Transport

Total hits: 397 (high)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Maritime Transport

Total hits: 79 (medium)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Air Transport

Total hits: 63 (medium)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Other

Retail services ( including eCommerce)

Total hits: 223 (high)

Low legal coverage

Strong cross-border component through ecommerce requires more legislative coherence across the EU in a domain that is currently mainly regulated at Member State level (if at all).

Hospitality services (concerning built-environment and websites)

Total hits: 135 (high)

High legal coverage – Identified differences in Requirements across Member States

Strong cross-border component requires more legislative coherence across the EU in a domain that is currently mainly regulated at Member State level.

Banking services (concerning ATMs, built-environment and websites)

Total hits: 432 (high)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

Websites

Total hits: 500 (high)

High legal coverage – Potential differences in requirements across Member States

May also include e-voting as a specific aspect.

Thanks to such an analysis and comparison of different areas covered by legislation and the existence of technical accessibility requirements, combined with other qualitative insights and taking into account the EU competences, the list of priority goods and services/relevant sectors was established:

oComputers and Operating Systems;

oDigital TV services and equipment;

oTelephony services and related terminal equipment;

oeBooks;

oPrivate sector websites;

oArchitect services;

oSelf-service terminals including ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines;

oeCommerce;

oBanking services (concerning ATMs, built-environment and websites);

oPassenger transport services - Air, Rail, Bus and Maritime (concerning ticketing and check-in machines, built-environment 18 and websites);

oHospitality services (concerning built-environment and websites).



6.Annex 6: Problem definition: examples of divergent accessibility requirements

1.Computers and Operating Systems

Computers are in essence electronic devices that process information, designed for a broad range of home and office applications like web browsing, email, word processing, gaming, etc. 19 Computer hardware is split up into desktop-PCs and portable PCs, which can in turn be split up into laptops and tablets.

Computers and their operating systems are a “platform” that enable the use of application software, peripheral devises and of course access to the Internet. They have an obvious and very close relationship with other categories of goods such as peripheral equipment e.g. mice, keyboards, printers, photocopiers, assistive devices and application software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat etc. The accessibility of peripheral equipment and application software is very closely linked to and dependent on that of the computer hardware and the operating system. Key factors in this relationship include the extent to which accessibility is natively supported in the operating system.

Computers and operating systems are nowadays imperative for work, and constitute an important means for consumption and relations. Therefore, information concerning their accessibility is imperative for consumers.

While most companies claim to comply with the current United States legislation 20 , with the evolution in technology the current US standards have become obsolete and do not ensure anymore adequate accessibility of both computers and operating systems through a comprehensive universal design approach. In Europe, specific pieces of legislation and guidance relating to the accessibility of computers and operating systems have at least been identified in Ireland, Italy, Norway and Spain (within the selected countries that were within the scope of Deloitte's analysis). The obligations contained in these legislations pertain mainly to public administrations. They either differ from US legislation containing additional elements or address the issues from a somewhat different way. ANED 21 identified existing requirements in five additional EU Member States.

The US compulsory standards are in the process of being substantially reviewed and modernised by the US Access Board 22 with references to various international technical standards. It is expected that the final rules will be published mid-2013. Therefore, the current accessibility requirements in use by countries in Europe will depart even more from those to be used globally in the near future in the absence of specific actions to ensure harmonisation. It is questionable, if the Spanish standard or the Italian legislation for these national requirements will be updated to keep pace with the new guidelines, setting the scene for fragmentation to occur between these national requirements and those in the US, which have been adopted by the computer industry as the global de facto baseline accessibility standards. This will also be the case for national guidelines. The new US standards are a significant departure from the current standards. They are not structured according to types of ICT but around “characteristics” that are found in many different types of technology. This is due to the converging nature of technologies such as computers, smart phones and games consoles. The newer requirements differ greatly in content as well. Therefore, it is to be expected that current legislation in Italy and in Spain will not comply with it anymore. In Europe efforts are on the way under Mandate 376 to develop a voluntary standard taking into account the foreseen changes in the US legislation. Being voluntary this cannot prevent Member States of taking divergent legislative measures.

The total market demand is estimated at €165 billion for the EU-27 23 . In the EU, the overall level of on line information on (built-in) accessibility features in desktops and laptops, as well as in software for the major operating systems and computer peripherals (i.e. printers, copiers, scanners) is estimated at 40%, according to the MeAC 2011 study. Furthermore, the provision of accessibility information by the main computer manufacturers on their websites in the EU is low, with a score of 33% in the MeAC 2011 report 24 . Overall it can be concluded that in spite of progress on real levels of accessibility, access to information for consumers on the accessibility features of these hardware and software products remains an issue in many EU Member States. The situation is, however, slightly more positive as concerns information on accessible operating systems. According to MeAC, 70% of the main operating system developers provide web-based information on the accessibility of their products. This is, however, only the case for 54% of the main (application) software developers. In addition, only 43% of the main software developers provide information about the compatibility of products with peripheral devices. There is a link between these levels of accessibility and the regulatory situation in the US given the global nature of the computer market.

In summary, main limitations in accessibility of computer hardware and operating systems for consumers are linked to the limited information available including for example in the packaging, the lack of information about the instructions for use, installation and maintenance, storage and disposal, limitations about the functionality of the good by providing functions aimed to address the needs of persons with functional limitations and the lack of interfacing with assistive devices.

The costs of making computers and operating systems accessible are twofold: one-off development costs and subsequent on-going costs related to technological advancements updates (no specific regularity). A leading authority 25 on accessibility technology has estimated that the costs of modifying hardware and software for a fully accessible system would not exceed 1%, at most 2%, of the entire development costs. Hence, accessibility costs are a fraction of the total development costs. This estimate is based on existing accessibility requirements and design standards and their implementation in the technology.

In addition to the above accessibility cost estimate of 1-2%, which is based on industry expertise, it is assumed that the relevant total general development costs of computers are between 5% and 15% of the total market turnover 26 .

Deloitte 27 identified 17 manufacturers of Desktop-PCs, 14 manufacturers that provide portable PCs and 25 companies that provide tablets. The market concentration in Western Europe is high, with the five top players together accounting for 64.8% of total sales in the first quarter of 2012. Assuming that the European market accounts for roughly 10% to one third of the worldwide revenue, a total number of 467,116,320 * 10% = 46,711,632 to 467,116,320 * 33% = 154,148,386 desk-based PCs and mobile PCs (including mini-notebooks) and tablets is estimated to having been sold in Europe in 2012.

Based on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s estimates of the market demand for computers, peripherals and other office equipment 28 between 2010 and 2016 for 20 Member States (except Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta and Slovenia) a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.8% until 2020 has been calculated.

The future annual costs for businesses (both one-off and ongoing) until 2020 to comply with the accessibility requirements similar to the revised United States legislation (Section 508 standards) is estimated at around 95.2 EURm, taking a moderate estimation. Annex 7 provides the detailed calculation.

The regulatory landscape related to the accessibility of computers and operating systems in Europe is fragmented and patchy. Specific pieces of legislation were identified in Italy, Spain and Norway. In addition in Ireland IT Accessibility guidelines are in place but not referenced by law. The obligations contained in these regulations pertain mainly to public administrations:

In Ireland, voluntary accessibility guidelines have been introduced for public procurers;

In Italy obligations are in place for public administrations, public agencies as well as transport and communication agencies in which the State has a prevalent shareholding (as well as private firms that are licensees of public services);

In Spain obligations are in place for public administrations;

An interesting alternative approach is followed in Norway where any Information and Communication Technology (ICT) intended for general public use is to be universally designed (new ICT from 2011 and all existing from 2021). 

The regulatory landscape in more detail per country:

Ireland: The “Irish National IT Accessibility Guidelines” cover both hardware and “Software Applications”. 29 These are not referenced in law, although they are official publications of the government agency in charge of disability affairs, the National Disability Authority. They are, however, referenced in the Irish Accessible IT Procurement Toolkit as specifications to be included by public procurers in “Requests for Tenders” for the procurement of hardware and software. 30 Accessibility issues covered include user input (e.g. keyboard and mouse navigation) and system output (e.g. screen contrast and font size), compatibility with assistive devices and software as well as packaging and installation/configuration.

Italy: The “Stanca Law” No. 4 of 9th January 2004 on “provisions to support the access of the disabled to information technologies” 31 regulates the access to information technologies for disabled persons. It inter alia states that the government protects each person’s right to access all sources of information and their relevant services, such as IT and data transmission instruments.

Rules for the implementation and enforcement are provided by Decree of the President of the Republic, March 1st 2005, No. 75 on the “implementation Regulations for Law 4/2004 to promote the access for the disabled to computer technologies”. 32

The Ministerial Decree of July 8, 2005 on “technical requirements and the different levels of accessibility of computer tools” 33 contains detailed technical requirements for the technical assessment and technical accessibility requirements of Internet technology-based applications (Annex A); the methodology and criteria for the subjective accessibility assessment of Internet technology-based applications (Annex B); the technical accessibility requirements of desktop and laptop personal computers (Annex C); the technical accessibility for the operating system, applications and retail products (Annex D); the accessibility logo for Internet technology-based websites and applications (Annex E); and the maximum amounts incumbent on private parties as consideration for the activities performed by assessors (Annex F). The technical accessibility requirements are based partly on the US Section 508 Standards and partly on the on WCAG 1.0 guidelines; these requirements are also referenced within the different technical Annexes of the Ministerial Decree.

The Ministerial Decree of 30 April 2008 on "Technical rules governing access to educational tools and training for pupils with disabilities” 34 defines accessibility guidelines for educational software by students with disabilities.

Spain: The Royal Decree 1494/2007 35 (Article 8) establishes that computer equipment and programmes used by public administrations must be accessible to elderly and disabled, in accordance with the guiding principle of "Design for all" and specific accessibility requirements, with preference given to the national technical standards that incorporate European standards, international standards, other systems of technical references prepared by the European standardisation bodies or, failing that, national standards (Standards UNE 139801:2003 36 for hardware and 139802:2003 37 for software). The technical accessibility requirements listed in the UNE Standard 139801 (Hardware) has been developed based on ISO 9241-171 and the UNE Standard 139802 (Software) has been based on ISO EMC- 29136, on JTC1 work and on the UNE of 1998, their revision was propelled by the US legislation. 38 Accessibility issues covered include user input (e.g. keyboard and mouse navigation) and system output (e.g. screen contrast and font size) as well as compatibility with assistive devices and software.

Norway: The 2008 Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act (Section 11) 39 contains a (non-technical) requirement of universal design of ICT. The Act contains two main requirements with regard to the accessibility of computers: (1) all new ICT intended for the general public is to be universally designed as from 2011; and (2) all existing ICT intended for the general public is to be universally designed by 2021. However, the requirement has so far not been translated into technical specifications in law, but work in the field is on-going and this year the Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs has made a proposal for regulations pertaining to universal design of information and communication technology solutions (ICT solutions) with reference to various technical standards. 40

It can be noted that as part of a previous initiative, the Nordic Cooperation on Disability – an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers, i.e. the governments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – published “Nordic Guidelines for Computer Accessibility” 41 in 1998. These include recommendations for accessible computers, peripheral equipment and software.

USA: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794d) requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology (EIT) that is accessible to people with disabilities – regardless of whether or not they work for the federal government. The U.S. Access Board establishes the Section 508 compulsory standards in order to implement the law. 42

The “Section 508 Standards” 43 contains technical requirements with regard to the accessibility of software applications and operating systems (subpart B – section 1194.21), of web-based intranet and Internet information and applications (subpart B – section 1194.22) as well as desktop and portable computers (subpart B – section 1194.26). These guidelines are in the process of being substantially reviewed and modernised with references to various international technical standards. A draft version of the new “Section 508 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” 44 was published in December 2011. Accessibility issues covered include user input (e.g. keyboard and mouse navigation) and system output (e.g. screen contrast and font size), operating systems as well as compatibility with assistive devices and software.

The number of countries that are likely to produce their own national accessibility requirements is expected to increase in the future given national action plans and commitments to accessibility, particularly in light of the signing and ratification of the UNCRPD by Member States.

As referred above, binding technical accessibility requirements have been identified in two Member States, namely Italy and Spain. Guidelines are in place in Ireland. Work to establish accessibility requirements is ongoing in Norway. As concerns the situation outside the EU/EEA, technical requirements are in place in the US. These are currently being revised, which may or may not be closely followed by the EU Member States.

The importance of computers and operating systems being a global market should not be underestimated. In interviews, manufacturers have stated not having economic incentives to provide versions of their products that are specifically adapted to the European market. In fact, this would lead to a reduced potential for economies of scale. Therefore, while voluntary efforts to align EU accessibility requirements with those in the US are undertaken under Mandate 376 this will not prevent Member States to adopt different legal requirements or even voluntary guidelines. This has been the case in examples above where none of the Member States identified have follow fully the US compulsory standards.

 

2.Digital TV services and equipment

Digital TV services and equipment concerns the audio-visual content provided in broadcasting services, notably technical aspects of access services such as font size and other aspects of how subtitles are rendered on-screen and menus presented to the user, audio description, and the digital terrestrial television equipment containing digital decoders such as set-top boxes and iDTV (integrated digital TVs) and the remote control needed to use these. The two components combined encompass a TV viewer’s experience of the accessibility of a piece of audio-visual content.

The extent to which television is considered accessible was measured in the MeAC study in 2011, where an average score for the accessibility of television in the countries covered by the study was 33%, while the score for policy implementation in this area is 34%. This shows that accessibility in this area has some way to go and is important to consider.

The 2011 MeAC report measured, by surveying national experts, the availability of the following four accessibility features:

Availability of DTV set-top boxes with built-in screen reader/voice recognition functionalities;

Availability of screen reader/voice recognition software to be downloaded from retailers’ website for accessing their DTV set-top boxes;

Availability of DTV set-top models that allow subtitles display/audio description/sign language interpretation display when provided by the broadcaster;

Availability of DTV set top models that allow users to configure the font and contrast features of the interface.

The results for digital TV equipment were reported as moderate with a score of 38% being achieved in the EU. According to Deloitte, the evidence gathered so far in the study through interviews with experts would suggest that these figures appear to be quite high.

Looking at the status of digital TV equipment accessibility by country, this shows that countries where initiatives have been taken to develop accessible digital TV equipment have got much higher scores than others. One possible implication of this is that a small amount of investment in innovation is sufficient to assist the markers in providing accessible digital TV equipment.

Research 45 suggests that the availability of broadcasting in terms of coverage is nearly complete, with practically the whole planet covered by a signal. Televisions are available in over 1.4 billion households around the world, representing 98% of households in the developed countries and nearly 73% of households in developing countries. However, television is far from being fully accessible.

The main beneficiaries of accessible features in Digital TV equipment such as talking EPGs, and easy-to use, tactile remotes can be grouped as follows:

-People with vision impairments including blind people;

-Persons with cognitive impairments;

-Older persons; and

-Any user with low experience of or ability in using technology.

The beneficiaries of accessibility services are similar, but include people with hearing impairments including deaf and other, wider groups including people with low literacy, older people, people whose first language is not that of the programme content and people in ‘disabling environments’. Looms in “Design models for accessible media” discusses the 2006 OFCOM review in the UK, which shows that the demand for access services such as subtitling is very significant. More specifically, 12.3% of the population said that they had used subtitles to watch television, of whom about 6 million (10%) did not have a hearing impairment. Looms goes on to say that:

"more recent studies indicate that same language subtitles can make a difference not only for persons who are deaf or have serious disablements related to their hearing, but also elderly persons who find that unscripted speech on television has low intelligibility, persons who are learning to read, immigrants and refugees. They are also used by persons without disablements in public areas (e.g. watching TV news in airports or at hotels where the sound has been turned off)." 46

Linear broadcast television continues to occupy a crucially important place in the lives of Europeans, in spite of the rise of other media such as the Internet. The main limitations in accessibility of digital TV services include the lack of accessible information about the functioning of the service and the accessibility characteristics, the lack of accessible on-line related applications including electronic information needed in the provision of the service, limited accessibility of EPGs (electronic programme guides) and navigation menus, the lack of accessible information to facilitate complementarities with assistive services and the lack of functions in the operation of the service (such as subtitles and audio description). For example, there is poor and inconsistent use of symbols or abbreviations that represent the various accessibility services either within the on-screen programme guides or in TV programming listing etc. provided in newspapers/magazines. The main limitations in the accessibility of the digital TV equipment are linked to the information provided about their accessibility, for example in the packaging, the lack of information about the instructions for use (of set-top boxes and remote controls), installation and maintenance, storage and disposal, limitations about the functionality of the good by providing functions aimed to address the needs of persons with functional limitations, limited accessibility of the remote controls, and the lack of interfacing with assistive devices.

DTT (digital terrestrial television) equipment is already today largely covered by technical accessibility requirements (obligations, requirements, standards/guidelines have been identified in all the examined countries - 9 EU Member States and Norway). These standards differ in scope and technical rules. Broadcasters and manufactures of equipment are faced with a fragmented landscape. There is no certainty that products that follow one national specification will fully work without modifications in other Member States. ANED identified at least three other Member States, outside the scope of Deloitte's analysis, with requirements in this area.

Similarly, the provision of broadcasting accessibility services is already today largely covered by technical accessibility requirements (such requirements have been defined in all countries within the scope of Deloitte´s analysis, with the exception of Norway and Portugal). ANED identified at least 10 other Member States, outside the scope of Deloitte's analysis, with requirements in this area.

Regarding the cost of support for accessibility features in set-top boxes, while there are apparently no costs associated with manufacturers "switching on and switching off features that are already available in DVB (Digital Video Broadcast standards) compliant set-top boxes", it would appear, according to the NorDig study 47 , that the implementation of these standards may be problematic in the area of audio description at least.

Clear costs have been identified for text-to-speech support in set-top boxes. For a typical entry-level set-top box currently available in a supermarket, adding these features would cost add an additional 6 EUR to the costs of a 19 EUR product, an increase of 30%. 48 The ITU report “Making Television Accessible” provides an overview of the relative production costs for specific TV accessibility services.

One potential benefit to increased levels of accessibility for television is an increase in reach by advertising. Current regulations on the levels of broadcasting accessibility services to be provided do mainly focus on the TV programming content and not on advertising. Figures from the “2011 Magnaglobal Advertising Forecast” predicted advertising revenues per person in the European countries to be amongst the highest in the world. (7 of the 10 countries with the highest advertising revenue per person were Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Finland, United Kingdom, and Germany). 49

According to a study conducted by Digital TV Research, Europe will not be completely digitalised by 2017 as initially planned although 85% of the televisions in the EU Member States already received digital TV by the end of 2011. Western Europe 50 has been stated to be expected to have passed 150 million digital TV households during summer of 2012, with an increase to 175 million by 2017. 51 The worldwide market trend is expected to lead to a total number of 1.3 billion digital TV households by 2017. 52 Within the EU, Germany and France will have the biggest market for digital TV with 37.1 million and 27.5 million subscriptions respectively.

Furthermore, triple-play subscriptions (defined as homes subscribing to TV, broadband and fixed telephony services) are expected to increase up to 400 million by 2017 on a worldwide basis. 53 The deepest market penetration of triple-play subscriptions are expected to be reached in Belgium and the Netherlands (both with 64%), while Germany and France are expected to have the highest total number of triple-play households in the EU by 2017 (11.5 million and 7.9 million respectively). The volume of the triple-play market in France, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom is expected to reach approximately 14.3 USDb by 2017. 54  

As concerns the number of set-top boxes sold, according to two studies by iSuppli and ABIresearch, the global set-top boxes market reached a market volume in 2011 of between 134.9 million and 221 million units. 55   56 The market value has been estimated at approximately EUR 6.9bn 57 in 2011. 58 As a remote control is included with and needed to operate these devices, the forecasted sale of devices that contain a digital decoder in units can serve as well as a proxy for the potential market size of remote controls.

According to IHS iSuppli Research, worldwide shipments of set-top boxes were anticipated to have reached 134.9 million units in 2011. This represents a decrease of 5.5% compared to the previous year. It is projected that worldwide shipments of set-top boxes will grow in the next two years and will face a situation of saturation in 2014/2015. 59 According to IMS Research, global set-top box shipments for the digital terrestrial platform were expected to be 20.5 million in 2012, whereof Western Europe 60 was expected to account for approximately 25% (5.1 million), especially due to the analogue switch-off. 61  

Considering the provision of broadcasting (accessibility) services and according to a market study for the European Commission 62  the total European TV revenue of 78.1 EURb in 2009 was attributed as follows: Delivery platforms retain 13.6 EURb; the remainder of 64.5 EURb flowed to broadcasters of which 5.0 EURb is spent on transmission, 35.0 EURb is invested in programming, and the remaining 24.5 EURb covers all profits, administration and management costs. Furthermore, the report notes that of the 35.0 EURb spent on programming, 16.6 EURb was spent on acquiring rights of various kinds, 6.2 EURb on sports rights, and 10.4 EURb on film and TV acquisitions. The remaining 18.4 EURb was invested in original programming, including 8.9 EURb on in house production, 2.6 EURb on the production of news programming, and 6.9 EURb invested in the external production market.

In addition, BusinessWire research on the broadcasting and cable TV market in Europe provides indications on market growth expectations. 63 The broadcasting & cable TV market consists of all terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasters of digital and analog television programming. The market is valued as the revenues generated by broadcasters through advertising, subscriptions, or public funds (either through TV licenses, general taxation, or donations). The European broadcasting and cable TV market had total revenues of EUR 84.7 billion in 2011, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9% between 2007 and 2011.

Regarding the provision of cross-border supply of audiovisual content, the market and, more specifically, public service broadcasters currently supply consumers with audiovisual content and services from other EU countries. However, the availability of video content from other EU countries depends greatly on which country a consumer is resident in, which country they seek content from and which distribution platform they happen to use.

The regulatory landscape related to the accessibility of digital TV services and equipment is linked with the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) family of standards, approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) 64 , which cover both the devices and the end-to-end services provided. The Digital Terrestrial Television (DDT) Equipment is therefore included in the DVB family of standards for digital TV used in Europe.

National specifications for DTT such as NorDig used in the Nordic region and Ireland and the ‘D-Book’ used in the UK are essentially ‘profiles’ of the DVB. All the national specifications for DTT are based on the DVB family of standards; each implements a profile of these standards. This results in differences in the fundamental requirements supported in different countries. For instance, some countries used MPEG 4 and others MPEG 2 as the compression standard for the transmission of the TV signal. This is the main reason why digital tuners that are compatible with the national specifications in one country or region may not work in another.

While the national and regional specifications for DTT require different set-top boxes to be developed for the different countries or regions, these specifications may add to, but not take away the core set of accessible features that are mandatory in the DVB standards. While the access features specified tend to be similar, some variances do arise. Yet, any receiver in Europe (terrestrial, cable or satellite) that has the DVB logo on it must be able to handle same language DVB subtitles and same language DVB digital teletext subtitles.

The table below provides a synthetic overview of obligations, technical requirements, standards and guidelines with regard to the accessibility of DTT equipment in the selected countries that are within the scope of Deloitte's study analysis.

Table 1: Digital terrestrial television equipment: overview of identified obligations, requirements, standards/guidelines

Name of DTT service

(if one identified)

Name of DTT specification

Compression

Support for subtitles

Support for Audio Description

Others/comments

France

Télévision Numérique Terrestre 65 (TNT)

Services et profil de signalisation pour la diffusion de la TV numérique de terre  66

MPEG-2, H.264

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

Requires support for receiver mix and broadcast mix Audio Description

Nothing identified in the specification with regard to remote controls

Germany

“DVB-T Minimum Requirements and Guidelines for DVB-T Receivers” 67

MPEG-2 / H.264

Does not require support for DVB complaint subtitles (ETSI EN 300 743 )

Nothing identified in the specification with regard to Audio Description

Nothing identified in the specification with regard to remote controls.

Note: The status of this 2003 document is being queried. It is currently the ‘outlier’ in terms of not supporting DVB subtitles.

Ireland

SAORView

Minimum Receiver Requirements Irish Digital Terrestrial Television 68

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

Mandatory as Broadcast mix

Optional as receiver mix

Based on the NorDig specification, with some minor differences not related to accessibility. NorDig compliant receivers have an optional provision for a subtitles button on the television remote control. If present this subtitles button must behave according to the NorDig specification. In practice all remotes in Ireland contain the subtitles button.

Italy

“Compatible DTV receivers for the Italian market: baseline requirements” 69

MPEG-2, H.264

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

Requires support for receiver mix and broadcast mix Audio Description

Detailed non-mandatory description of remote control. Provision of a dedicated ‘audio’ and ‘subtitles’ button is optional.

Netherlands

-

-

-

-

-

No minimum receiver requirements specification document identified. Queries on-going with ITU and Dutch experts to identify such.

Norway

NorDig v2.3 70

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

Requires support for receiver mix and broadcast mix Audio Description

Optional provision for a subtitles button on the television remote control.

Poland

“Requirements for the Polish Digital Terrestrial Television Receiver” 71

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

Requires support for receiver mix and broadcast mix Audio Description

Detailed specifications provided on remote control. “Subtitles” and “Audio” are provided as optional. See figure below.

Portugal

“Signalling Specifications for DTT deployment in Portugal” 72

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

No explicit requirements for Audio Description.

No Recommendation related to remote controls present.

Spain

“Especificación de receptores de televisión digital terrestre para el mercado español” (“Specifications of digital terrestrial receivers”) - August 2012. 73

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

No recommendation related to Audio Description present.

No Recommendation related to remote controls present.

United Kingdom

FreeView

“D-Book” 74

Requires support for the DVB Subtitling standard: ETSI EN 300 743

Requires support for receiver mix and broadcast mix Audio Description

Subtitles button “essential”, AD button “strongly recommended”

The table shows a mixed level of implementation of audio description. The specifications in France, Ireland (broadcast mix only), Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom contain mandatory requirements. This is a clear fragmentation between the requirements, with some countries having made audio description mandatory and some optional, while some do not deal with it at all. However, the fact that all countries/regions use the MPEG standard is significant in terms of what this means for manufacturers of set-top boxes selling into these different countries, still they do not all use the same version. Audio description is most commonly provided by means of a separate, optional audio track. This functionality is implicitly supported by the MPEG suite of standards, which allow for different audio tracks to be supported for the same video stream. Therefore, even if a country/region’s specification does not require the support of audio description, the fact that they use MPEG means that this functionality is implicitly supported.

The regulatory analysis in the table above shows a mixed level of support for the design of remote controls. Some countries (Ireland, Norway, Poland, and Italy) allow for support of a subtitles and audio description buttons. Although these buttons are optional, the functionality they provide is mandatory. Only the United Kingdom specification has a mandatory subtitles button. 75  

Under the DVB family of standards there are multiple delivery mechanisms for subtitles, namely DVB subtitles and DVB Teletext subtitles. In countries such as the United Kingdom there is only one delivery mechanism in use (DVB subtitles). In territories such as the Nordic region that use both, there needs to be a mechanism that defaults to, say, DVB-text then digital Teletext. The button itself will need to activate something in the receiver to prevent both subtitles being activated. The NorDig specification has a mandatory requirement to select DVB subtitles if both delivery mechanisms are present. 76 Therefore, the way in which subtitles are implemented differ in both “what” is to be provided as well as “how” it is to be done.

Apart for the DVB, there is a wide a range of voluntary standards, guidelines and other advisory materials that deal with various aspects of the accessibility of digital TV. An extensive literature review of resources in the English languages conducted by the Irish Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in 2011 highlighted that manufacturers are faced with an extremely confusing landscape when developing new products or services in terms of what advice to follow on accessibility. 77 Many of the guidelines and standards were found to contain recommendations that others do not, or had reconfigured their recommendations at different priority levels, or were optimised to suit a particular disability sector. 78  

Regarding Linear TV Broadcasting Accessibility Services while all Member States within the scope of Deloitte´s analysis with the exception of Norway have introduced some kind of accessibility requirements, the nature, legal force and coverage of these instruments vary considerably across the countries. In all Member States within the scope of Deloitte´s analysis, with the exception of Norway and Portugal, technical accessibility requirements for broadcasting services have been defined. These requirements typically take the form of target percentages of the broadcasting programme which need to be covered by broadcasting accessibility services such as subtitling, audio description and sign language interpretation. While Portugal is currently in the process of defining such technical accessibility requirements, no such initiative could be identified in Norway.

While most countries have set legal target accessibility rates for both public and private broadcasters, Italy and Germany have only established contractual target agreements with public broadcasters. Target levels of broadcasting accessibility services vary between countries in both the quantities and types of broadcasting accessibility services to be provided. While required levels for subtitling are strong for most public broadcasters (from 80% upwards in most cases) these fall significantly for commercial broadcasters. Levels for the provision of audio description tend to be much lower.

Coupled with this, the mechanisms for calculating a broadcaster’s achievement of these targets vary, with some broadcasters counting e.g. shows that have been imported from other networks and shows that are repeated after midnight with subtitles towards their targets. Other broadcasters such as the BBC in the UK have made significant efforts to subtitle most of their live broadcasting.

In conclusion, the legislative landscape at national level is fragmented, with a patchwork of requirements in place.

 


3.Telephony services and related terminal equipment 

Telecommunications services include those services that can support communications between two or more people over a distance by electronic means. These services are known as telephony services. The scope of this section does not cover data communication. Besides the telecommunications service itself, this section also covers terminal equipment that is necessary in order to be able to effectively communicate using a telephony service.

Based on EU obligations under the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications to provide equivalent access for users with disabilities, Member States and their National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) have responded and have taken a number of measures that address different components of the services, the network or the terminals. Following the revision of the framework in 2011, the Members States are obliged to take special measures to ensure that disabled persons have affordable access to fixed telephony services, including emergency services, directory enquiry services and directories. In addition, the other services covered by the universal service obligation can include mobile telephony and Internet access. These services are being considered recently in several Member States. The framework also contains certain provisions that commit Member States to make additional measures possible. These measures give power to the NRAs to take certain actions when needed (information of users, access and choice of providers, etc.). Finally, Members States can take measures to ensure that disabled users can benefit from a choice between providers of services. Practices in the Member States indicate that making the services accessible include the provision of accessible information, the accessibility of the directory enquire service and the bills, the accessibility of public pay phones, the provision of relay services, the availability of special tariffs for disabled persons, the provision of special terminal equipment, the adaptation of public pay phones to be accessible and the accessibility of emergency services 79 . In particular making accessible the "voice" telephony for deaf persons has been achieved in some cases by the provision of video telephones that permit person using sign language to communicate among themselves. In other cases this has been achieved by the provision of Real Time Text (RTT) permitting in addition those deaf and hard of hearing persons that are not sign language users to communicate directly among themselves but also with hearing persons. Usually Real Time Text is provided as a separate service not connected to the general voice telephony. The introduction of SMS (Short Message Service) has allowed some mainstreaming of the written communication but cannot be considered equivalent to voice conversation. Recent punctual efforts for example related to the provision of 112 provided for the combination of coordinated video and Real Time Text is provided in solutions called "Total Conversation". The term Total Conversation is defined by the ITU-T recommendation F.703 as “An audiovisual conversation service providing bidirectional symmetric real-time transfer of motion video, text and voice between users in two or more locations”. ITU-T does not refer to interoperability with relay services. 

Specific measures, already in place for users with disabilities in relation to electronic communications, according to information provided by NRAs to BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) in 2010  80

While mainstream solutions are emerging in the markets that combine voice and video and some text capabilities they are not interoperable among themselves or with PSTN Real Time Text telephony and their related terminals and are not Total Conversation solutions. They do not provide the RTT that is needed to access to real conversational services, comparable to and complementing voice communication. This is the case of mainstream solutions like Joyn and WhatsApp that still belong to the messaging concept. The following is missing from these for them to be accessible and equivalent to voice communication:

-They lack a more fluent form, with real-time transmission. They are stressful to use in intensive conversational situations. Their equivalent would be like having a voice call through a technology that forced the interlocutors to first record a spoken sentence, and then after being ready, to press a button to play it out to the other party.

-They seem to lack a convenient link to voice phone calls. The value with RTT is in many cases that it can be used interchangeably with voice in a call. That suits a much wider population than the pure text calls and permit deaf persons communicating directly with those using voice.

-They lack interoperability with other similar services e.g. a WhatsApp user cannot communicate with a Joyn user, they need to communicate in another way before the chat session to ask each other what chat service they use and install support for that service and sign up for it. Then they need to both have the tool for the same service running in their phones.

-There is no indication that they are open for connection with relay services and emergency services. Such services cannot be expected to install support for a multitude of private communication methods, but should be contacted through openly specified standard protocols. IP multimedia standards for relay and emergency service connections have recently been settled and it is a huge job to introduce new ways to contact them. Instead, providers of other services need to adapt to the protocols used by emergency and relay services.

So, while the emergence in the market of mainstream services providing some combination of voice, video and some textual capability is a good step forward, their constraints from an accessibility perspective result in persons with disabilities considering that they are not entitled to the equivalent access indicated in the Telecom Directives.

National initiatives to fulfil obligations under the above mentioned Directives relate also to efforts to make voice communication accessible to disabled persons through "Total Conversation".

Currently, Real Time Text solutions in use in the Member States are based on old technology mainly PSTN. These solutions are also used for communications with Relay services.

The national solutions are not interoperable and while operators are moving toward IP based networks, in many Member States, the fact that Real Time Text and related terminals are needed to provide access to relay services or to the emergency services would imply that service providers and manufacturers need to provide interoperability between the old and current "PST solution" used by the final consumer and the "new solutions" when using IP networks. While this is a so called "legacy problem" that technology could solve by moving all the relay services and user terminals to IP based solution, market forces have not yet remove this problem and Member States have not yet removed obligations of interoperability with "PST solutions". This is a complex problem that cannot be solved at national level given that different solutions are used in the Member States. This is particularly important in relation to emergency services through the EU number 112.

Making the terminals accessible includes both hardware and software aspects and relates to the provision of information about the accessibility features of the terminals, the accessibility of the design of their user interface addressing issues related to the input, the output, the controls functions, and the display. Other issues relate to interoperability with assistive devices in terms of connectivity and compatibility for example avoidance of interference for hearing aids. The accessibility features of terminals concerning text and video communication depends on the hardware configuration and the software available.

The functionality of terminals is also changing following service trends. A study from BITKOM estimates that only 22% of the EU customers in 2010 used Internet telephony while in 2011 there were up to 28%. This percentage is expected to increase until 2020. The market of mobile devices has been increasing in Europe with a figure of about 14 Million sold in 2005 to a figure of 17 Million in 2010 while the manufacturing in Europe is being replaced progressively by import. In those figures the weight of smart phones versus traditional mobile phones is also progressively increasing. Already in 2011 smart phones were about one third of the total mobile telephone devices worldwide. So the scope of this section will focus on mobile devices and in particular smart phones.

Based on the MeAC 2011 an estimate for the current accessibility rate of smart phones has been calculated as the average of mobile telephony accessibility and mobile web accessibility 2011 study (i.e. (49% + 19%) / 2 = 34%).

Telecommunication services providers would need to comply with a significant and different number of measures related to accessibility if they were to operate across all the EU countries. Some of those measures relate to affordability but many of those different measures concern accessibility sometimes provided via assistive solutions in the absence of mainstream equivalents. This divergence is expected to increase by 2020.

National Telecom legislation varies also in terms of personal scope. Sometimes obligations related to disability and accessibility require the undertakings designated with universal service obligations to provide accessibility and affordability for disabled end-users but in other occasions concern all telecom providers for that country. The legal situation makes it difficult for industry to provide the same solutions concerning accessibility across the EU. National differences in regulations exist in relation to the services and the terminals as well as a large variety of standards and practices.

The differences of national accessibility requirements make it particularly difficult for SMEs, for examples those that want to provide solutions for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired persons or relay services (relay services, etc.) to be able to enter the market or compete with large established industry for example for the provision of total conversation solutions.

In the telecommunications area, changes in technology point at a move towards mobile communications as well as an increase use of Internet Based solutions replacing fixed point networks and technologies.

The BEREC report concludes that "Article 23a (of the Universal Service Directive and User Rights as amended in 2009) is important in all Member States for end-users with disabilities in respect of electronic communication services. However, BEREC is of the view that the measures put in place to implement Article 23a, will vary between Member States".

Focusing on terminals, while in the 9 Member States whose legislation has been examined in detail no direct legislation obliging manufacturers to develop accessible terminals has been found it is plausible that Member States will develop obligations in the future. Today, already very detailed and diverse technical requirements exist for Public pay phones. For example in France it concerns the lay out of the user interface having a special button for blind users while in Italy a special solution for hearing aid users is provided as well as some design features for blind persons using sticks. In Lithuania accessible public phones must be equipped for example with large and easy to read fonts. Polish legislation contains not only provisions related to public pay phones but also the possibility "to specify additional requirements for the adaptation and use by disabled persons" of terminal equipment placed in the market. In Ireland some of the services that are provided for disabled persons have implications for the design of fixed terminals with issues like inductive couplers, tele-flash and virtual alerts, hands free phones, etc. Several Member States require connection and access to the fixed network and services for users of relay services. Portugal in relation to access to emergency service requires accessibility of handsets for fixed telephony.

Furthermore, according to the MEAC Study the following Member States have some standards and guidelines concerning telephone devices: Germany Sweden, United Kingdom and Ireland that has in addition some legal obligations.

In addition, Spain has introduced provisions about accessible telephone directories via the internet. Royal Decree 424/2005: specifies “the range of universal service, imposing obligations on the designated operator with regard to accessibility, such as those that guarantee the existence of an adequate supply of special terminals, technologically up to date, adapted to the different types of disabilities and giving them adequate public exposure;

In the UK, the 2003 Communications Act further stipulates that OFCOM has the power to take steps towards the development of domestic electronic communications apparatus capable of being used with ease and without modification by the widest possible range of individuals (including those with disabilities). The ‘General Conditions of Entitlement’ published by Oftel on 22 July 2003 requires that all providers of publicly available telephone services or public telephone networks implement special measures for end users with disabilities, such as “to provide particular groups of disabled customers with inter alia (ii) access to text relay services which include particular facilities". In doing so, providers will have to support the technical solutions used in the UK.

Furthermore, the BEREC report notes that seven Member States have put in place obligations with respect to terminal equipment under Universal Service and that Article 23a of the 2009 USD is not specific regarding the measures that can or cannot be mandated by NRAs under it.

The rules related to emergency services terminals are likely to be strengthened by Member States. In spite of the Universal Services obligations at EU level, which cover access to emergency number, operator and directory services, MeAC 2 (2011) found that only 47% of Member States analysed provide direct access to emergency services via text telephony, with only 38% through video phone service. The accessibility level is therefore variable across countries: direct accessibility to emergency services is highly supported for both text and video telephone users only in Spain and Italy, while in Sweden and the UK direct accessibility is only provided to text telephone users. Moreover, in light of the developments planned by national and regional public bodies in charge of 112 numbers (such as the Dutch government and the Castilla y Leon region in Spain), it is likely that this situation evolves towards the adoption of new different solutions to deliver accessible emergency services to citizens, thus creating more divergence in the European market.

The total Telecommunications services revenues in Europe in 2010 were reported to be 275 Billion Euros 81 from which mobile services account for at least 142 billion Euros. While the revenues of mobile services and data/Internet services increased, fixed telephony lost more and more market share. The Digital Agenda Score Board reports that the total revenues of the electronic communications sector in EU27 was 327,111 million euros in 2010 constituting a decrease compared to 2009.

The number of smart phones in the market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 33% between 2009 and 2014 and that CGAR has been applied till 2020. This is in line with an increase demand for mobile data and internet services. The total market size (total industry turnover for smart phones in the EU is estimated at 31,659,436,588 Euros and consequently the forecast till 2020 is 729,241,259,571 Euros. Five market players account for 73% of the total smart phone market value in Europe.

The situation above described has also an impact for Public-safety answering points (PSAPs) call centres in the provision of emergency centres 82 . It relates to the PSAPs back-office equipment, for instance, the 112 call centres in Member States and their ability to receive ‘accessible calls’ requesting emergency assistance (e.g. through text, video call, etc.) The general problem within the European Union is that Emergency service terminal providers do not have a unified standard of accessibility for 112 emergency services. The existing different requirements in legislation lead to market fragmentation since service and equipment providers have to do an extra-effort in order to adapt their goods and services to the national or even regional market. Moreover, the market fragmentation may lead to problems for disabled travellers and cross-border workers in emergency situations. MeAC 2 (2011) found that only 47% of Member States analysed provide direct access to emergency services via text telephony, with only 38% through video phone service.

Looking to the particular case of terminals used in the provision of emergency services, the so called PSAPS, it is estimated that the market size for the whole EU to be in a range of 1,200 to 1,500 PSAPs. These terminals need to receive emergency calls from a variety of modes, most frequently voice but video and text are increasingly being demanded in order to fulfil the obligation under the Telecom Directives of providing equivalent access to 112 for persons with disabilities. Terminals that would operate in one Member State would require adaptations unless similar accessibility requirements would be required. It is estimated that the hardware and software costs related to the set-up of the infrastructure of a PSAP and the annual replacement cash flow to be between approx. 330 EURm and 700 EURm. Furthermore the annual on-going costs related to PSAPs can be estimated to be between approx. 400 EURm and 600 EURm. Based on those different assumptions the annual market value of Emergency Service Centres to be approx. 730 EURm (330 EURm set-up costs plus 400 EURm annual costs) to 1,300 EURm (700 EURm set-up costs plus 600 EURm annual costs). The market consists largely of global players that focus on this market as one of many in their portfolio, while smaller firms also exist that focus specifically on emergency solutions for disabled persons.

Information from Spain related to the net cost of providing the disability related obligations for the provision of accessible telephony services under the Universal Service obligations in 2010 is reported to be 5,296 Euros excluding special services for deaf person what can be still a significant amount. In the UK the annual cost of relay services is estimated to be 10,101,945 Euros per year and the annual cost for accessible billing is calculated at 8,004,500 Euros.

Based on that and other information from various Member States, as well as various sources on other specific measures 83 and after weighting the GDP where the service is provided, the costs of making the telephony services accessible covering the various measures described in the BEREC report are estimated to be 179 Million Euro for the EU with a proportion of 50% of turnover from cross border trade. The estimation used for the additional accessibility cost due to different requirements in the Member States is between 1% and 5%.

The availability of accessible fixed telephony features 84 is generally considered to be rather good, however, the availability varies between countries with The Netherlands on the last position with an availability score (calculated based on a scoring model and derived from a set of different questions) of 10% compared to a value of 64% for Ireland. Looking at mobile telephone technology, no exact figures on the take-up by people with disabilities and elderly were identified for the EU overall, but only examples for individual Member States. In the UK, take-up by people with disabilities was lower (82%) than the national average for adults under 65 (90%) 85 . It is estimated 86 that the average take-up rate of mobile telephony in the EU27 for people aged 15-64 to be five percentage points below the average of all citizens (91%), i.e. at approximately 86%.

The availability of mobile telephones is considered to be better than for fixed line telephones, which is partly driven by the growing availability of smart phones that come with more embedded accessibility features or can easily be made accessible by installing external applications. Nevertheless, as per the fixed telephone market, there are variations between the EU Member States. According to an assessment by Technosite, Portugal performed best with a score of 71% availability, while the lowest figures were recorded for Hungary (20%). Persons with visual impairments were less satisfied with mobile telephones, with text messaging and other visual functions being inaccessible to many consumers with this type of disability and elderly. 87

The take-up of smart phones is not yet as progressed as the take-up of mobile phones in general with figures declining significantly with age which is the group with the highest prevalence of disability 88 . An estimation of the take-up rate of smart phones by persons with disabilities can be calculated 89 at 36.86%.

Member States have developed different legislation, technical rules, programmes and practices putting direct obligations on services providers affecting in a different way the two components mentioned above, namely services and terminals. A report of the European Regulator BEREC concludes that "most significant differences exist with regard to telecommunications-related services to be provided by the operators in different Member States". The measures taken are a mix of legislative, policy, programme and technical measures. In the 9 Member States examined there were no direct obligations placed on terminal manufactures. The obligations on the provision of accessible terminals are indirectly placed through their provision by telecommunication service providers. Telecommunication services providers and manufacturers of terminals would need to comply with a significant and different number of measures related to accessibility if they were to operate across all the EU countries. Some of those measures relate to affordability but many of those different measures concern accessibility sometimes provided via assistive solutions in the absence of mainstream equivalents.

The functionality of the internal market in relation to telecommunications services is compromised. There are barriers and obstacles to free trade as the telecommunications service providers cannot offer their services in all Member States without investing time to understand the relevant national requirements and making respective adaptations to their service portfolio (e.g. to ensure that accessible billing is available). Furthermore, service providers in some Member States experience higher costs than providers in other Member States as they have to ensure that accessible services are available, which operators in other countries currently do not need to ensure. While there are no legal barriers for mainstream terminal manufactures to place their products in the market, the existence of different national practices and standards in relation mainly to Real Time Text services seems to have a negative impact in the availability of mainstream terminals that would address those services, being left often to old PSTN specialised terminals.

Concerning emergency services and the terminals used in the PSAPS, it was perceived that businesses usually look at all of Europe instead of focusing only on single national markets. It was stated that there was a lack of economies of scale, as the goods/services produced cannot be sold in other Member States without adaptations of the accessibility features. However, the lack of economies of scale is more closely linked to technical details other than accessibility, as accessibility is only one of several challenges in the market. The existing different requirements in legislation lead to market fragmentation since service and equipment providers have to do an extra-effort in order to adapt their goods and services to the national or even regional market. Moreover, the market fragmentation may lead to problems for disabled travellers and cross-border workers in emergency situations.

People with disabilities need to be able to communicate with the emergency services using the same conversational terminal for the emergency call that they use for everyday calls and this is a problem when travelling across the EU as for example terminals that would interoperate with PSAPs terminals in one Member State, will most probably not be able to do so in another Member State when using Real Time Text or video. This fragmentation affects fixed and mobile terminals. However market forces have solved the voice interoperability issues long time ago.

The main obstacles encountered by disabled people are the physical and financial accessibility of the services. Certain disabled people cannot have access to some telecommunication services without adaptation (expensive handsets, etc.). They also may face higher costs because they need more time to use a service.

In the United States, technical standards exist related to accessibility of telecommunications services, networks and equipment. Those standards are compulsory under the section 255 of the Telecom Act and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The evolution of technology has been one of the reasons that lead the US administration to update those standards, which for example in the area of Real Time Text were based on old TTY (Teletype) solutions. Recently, the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) (section 104) defines general non-technical accessibility requirements for advanced communications equipment and services, including RTT and video communication services and access to the next generation of 911 services. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the competence to issue guidelines with compulsory technical requirements after a participative consultation of stakeholders. Such guidelines have not yet been published but they are under development. Industry has developed a number of initiatives to raise awareness about their efforts to comply with US regulations and raise visibility about the accessibility features of their products. Some seem to be directly linked to legislative obligations like the information about the level of compatibility between mobile phones and hearing aids. Such information is commonly available at retail telephone shops in the US. Others initiatives seem to respond to voluntary efforts of industry to reach disabled customers like the database on accessibility features of phones. Despites these efforts, and according to the FCC, the adoption by Congress of the CVVA was needed to ensure that telephone and television services would be accessible to all Americans with disabilities.: "The CVAA follows a string of laws, passed in the 1980s and 1990s that were designed to ensure that telephone and television services would be accessible to all Americans with disabilities. But these laws were not able to keep up with the fast paced technological changes that our society has witnessed over the past decade. The new law contains ground breaking protections to enable people with disabilities to access broadband, digital and mobile innovations."

4.eBooks

Electronic books, generally referred to “eBooks”, are books that are provided in digital form, consisting of text and / or images and which are readable on computers, mobile telephones or other electronic devices, such as dedicated eBook readers. eBooks are available in numerous formats. Some of these are supported by large software companies such as Adobe (PDF formats) while others are supported by open-source and independent programmers.

Figures from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the United Kingdom suggest that “just 7% of all books are available in Braille, audio and large print, including titles available in these formats using eBooks”. The overall share of accessible eBooks is estimated to be 32.5%, according to the MeAC 2 study (2011), which considered the following two indicators: (1) provision of accessibility information by the two main public electronic libraries; and (2) provision of accessibility information by the main eBook reader manufacturers. In this context it can be noted that accessible eBooks are often provided by public or publicly funded organisations such as national libraries for blind people – not by the market.

Generally making the document accessible includes mark-up of the document as per its semantics (headings, pages, footnotes etc.) and then converting it to DAISY XML and DAISY text-only book. The work starts from unformatted electronic files such as Word, TXT, HTML etc. The DAISY XML file can be used to create other accessible formats such as Braille and audio while the DAISY text-only book can be directly used for reading purposes.

Publishers continue to discuss the merits of different file formats. Formats are especially important to consumers, as few eReader or eBook companies in Europe provide full interoperability with all formats available on the market. This means that consumers have to be aware of the file type and compatibility with their own devices. Another related issue refers to Digital Rights Management (DRM) practices which limit the user’s access rights to eBook content which are needed to operate text-to-speech programmes for blind persons. Therefore, even where an electronic version of a book is available, it is not ensured that the end user has the “permission” to convert it from text to speech or that the software/reader can support this facility

In conclusion, the main limitations in accessibility of digital publications include the lack of accessible information about the functioning of the service and the accessibility characteristics of the publications themselves, including interoperability with assistive devices, the lack of accessible online related applications including electronic information needed in the provision of the service.

The overall share of accessible products is estimated to be 32.5%, according to the MeAC 2 study (2011), which considered the following two indicators: (1) provision of accessibility information by the two main public electronic libraries; and (2) provision of accessibility information by the main eBook reader manufacturers. In this context it can be noted that accessible eBooks are often retrofitted by public or publicly funded organisations such as national libraries for blind people.

ANED already identified accessibility requirements on eBooks in five EU Member States in addition to Italy (identified by Deloitte).

As concerns the key players on the market, as a starting point a distinction can be made between two types of players in the eBook market, namely publishers and retailers. The main activity of publishers is to distribute eBooks, whereas retailers supply eBooks to the end-users 90 . Focusing on actions covered by publishers, the market consists of at least 31 players. It must, however, be noted that the European eBook market in addition includes a large number of smaller publishers that operate in certain niche segments of the market. Furthermore, “self-publishing” is an increasing market for writers and especially academics. The market share of eBooks in the European publishing market is about 1%, while it is about 15-20% in the USA.

In the next years, the European eBook markets are expected to grow strongly. Based on a PricewaterhouseCoopers 91 market outlook for Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the growth potential for accessible eBooks (CAGR) in Europe is estimated to be about 36.6% from 2012-2015. Because no growth estimations for the time period after 2015 could be identified, it was assumed that the growth rate will remain constant until 2020.

The regulatory landscape related to the accessibility of eBooks in Europe remains weak as legal technical accessibility requirements for eBooks were only identified for a niche market in Italy. This said the existing European and Member State legislation on copyright waivers for disabled persons under certain conditions also impacts on the accessibility of eBooks. Furthermore, several Member States (as well as the USA) have implemented legal accessibility requirements in relation to the provision of electronic information by public bodies. While eBooks do not fall directly under their scope, it is possible that as the market for eBooks matures, governments may in the future adopt the practice of providing official publications in eBook formats. In addition, some Member States such as Spain have implemented governmental support schemes to foster the accessibility of books (including eBooks) and libraries. Finally, international industry initiatives for the standardisation of eBook formats in the framework of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and the DAISY Consortium have been an important – yet insufficient – driver to foster the accessibility of eBooks on a voluntary basis.

The Italian accessibility requirements for electronic versions of educational textbooks have been introduced through the Ministerial Decree of 30 April 2008 on "Technical rules governing access to educational tools and training for pupils with disabilities” 92 . These requirements “apply to the educational and didactic materials used in all schools and at every level” in Italy (Art. 5 of the ‘Stanca’ Law 4/2004 93 ). The accessibility requirements in Italy cover the structure, navigation features, use of images, graphs and tables, magnification features, content export and interoperability with reading devices and assistive technology. 94

Several EU/EEA Member States have introduced copyright waivers for disabled persons under specific conditions based on the European Directive 95 , including France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. While eBooks are not explicitly mentioned in the European and Member State legislation on copyright exemptions for disabled persons, the provisions can be interpreted to have an impact on eBooks. It is yet to be seen how such exemptions will impact the market for (accessible) eBooks. On the one hand, such copyright exemptions would need to be integrated in Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems of eBooks in order to allow disabled persons to benefit of their legal entitlement. On the other hand, such exemptions may restrain eBook publishers to consider disabled persons as an interesting segment in the mainstream market because this customer group benefits from specific rights with regard to copyrights, which may negatively affect their profitability.

Some Member States such as France or Germany have adopted specific and detailed accessibility requirements in relation to the provision of electronic information by public bodies. This does not cover eBooks per se and the regulations are most relevant to content and format (e.g. the provision of official documents in PDF and HTML). For instance, the French General Reference Document for Accessibility in Administrations 96 (Référentiel Général d'Accessibilité des Administrations, RGAA) sets out detailed technical requirements and guidance for electronic (online) content published by public authorities by inter alia referring to the WCAG 2.0 recommendations. While these guidelines mainly focus on web-accessibility issues, many requirements (e.g. with regard to document structure, navigation elements, use of graphics and formulas, etc.) may also be applied to eBooks and other electronic documents. Even though such accessibility requirements in relation to the provision of electronic information by public bodies are not directly relevant to publication of eBooks (from a legal point of view), they may become relevant in the future.

In Spain, Law 10/2007 on reading, books and libraries 97 regulates the management system of public libraries and citizens' rights on their use. This piece of legislation does not provide technical requirements, but contains the government’s engagement to promote access to reading without discrimination and the obligation that support programmes for the book industry must take into account the particular needs of people with disabilities, especially regarding the promotion, dissemination and standardisation of accessible formats and methods. While governmental support schemes cannot be expected to ensure the accessibility of all eBooks, they are certainly an important measure to raise awareness of and provide guidance to publishers and retailers in order to foster the voluntary industry uptake of international accessibility standards for eBooks.

International industry initiatives for the standardisation of eBook formats have been a driving force to foster the accessibility of eBooks on a voluntary basis. Yet, these efforts have so far not been sufficient to ensure a broad accessibility of the European eBook market. The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), the global trade and standards organisation dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing and content consumption, supports ePub to be the standard format for electronic publishing. 98 “ePub defines a means of representing, packaging and encoding structured and semantically enhanced Web content - including XHTML, CSS, SVG, images, and other resources - for distribution in a single-file format. ePub allows publishers to produce and send a single digital publication file through distribution and offers consumers interoperability between software/hardware for unencrypted reflowable digital books and other publications.” 99 The DAISY Consortium 100 has developed accessibility solutions that have been integrated into the ePub standard.

The ePub standard has established itself as the predominantly used format for eBooks. However, other proprietary formats such as those of Apple or Amazon remain very significant. Furthermore, some popular reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle do not support ePub. Another related issue refers to Digital Rights Management (DRM) practices that limit the access rights to eBook content, which is needed to operate text-to-speech programmes for blind persons, as mentioned before.

Interviewed industry players have pointed out the following challenges when operating in the EU internal market: technical problems; a narrow and fragmented market; a costly, overly complicated and time-consuming process of acquiring information and knowledge on accessibility for SMEs; no specific guidance on accessibility; and rapidly changing requirements and technologies. Furthermore, several accessibility features would need to be considered to take into account consumers' different abilities. For these reasons, many eBook industry players consider that the incentives are very limited to invest in accessible products, leading to an insufficient provision of accessible eBooks. This said, obstacles may arise for businesses if Member States would introduce diverging accessibility requirements for eBooks in the future.

5.Private sector websites

This case only addresses the assessment from the perspective of businesses, meaning web developers, given the fact that the situation across these sectors is similar (i.e. in terms of the legislative environment as well as cost estimates, etc.). The assessment of the problems from a consumer perspective and the subsequent baseline scenario are presented in the cases on eCommerce, hospitality, banking and transport services. More qualitative and / or quantitative elaborations and calculations regarding the consumers’ situation can be found in the respective single cases.

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When websites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality. People with disabilities may use assistive technologies to facilitate the management and interaction with web contents.

It is essential that several different components of web development and interaction work together in order for the web to be accessible to people with disabilities. These components 101 include: contents (information in a Web page or Web application), web browsers, media players and other “user agents”, assistive technology (e.g. screen readers, alternative keyboards, switches, scanning software, etc.), authoring tools and evaluation tools. For the purpose of this impact assessment only private sector websites are taken into account.

The accessibility of private sector websites is low. The 2011 benchmarking study MEAC 2 selected per country a handful of much used commercial websites with public relevance such as public transport, banks, newspapers and other media, and found that 18% of them were web-accessible.

While the accessibility of private sector websites among the 10 countries studied in detail in Deloitte's study is currently only covered with mandatory requirements in Spain, this situation can be expected to evolve in the future. Furthermore in some Member States like the UK accessibility of private sector websites is covered by antidiscrimination legislation in relation to access to services. This has resulted in some court cases for companies failing to fulfil accessibility obligations 102 . Voluntary standards to promote web-accessibility among private businesses have also been identified in Italy and the United Kingdom. ANED has also identified requirements on private sector websites in five additional EU Member States (Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Netherlands and Slovenia). 

Furthermore, the Commission has prepared an in-depth impact assessment on the problem of the non-functioning of the internal market of web accessibility based on the existing diverging rules for public sector websites in the proposal COM (2021) 721. The information and calculations in Annex 7 have been as much as possible aligned. This is the case for example of the information used to calculate the costs of making websites accessible.

Completely different approaches to web-accessibility of public sector websites have been taken in 13 EU Member States within the scope of the analysis of an EU study 103 . Indeed some Member States introduced detailed technical mandatory requirements, whereas others only have possible protection from equality law. Some Member States have already extended their accessibility requirements for private sector websites 104 . If the rest of the Member States were to do so and extend also their accessibility requirements to private sector websites, this would lead to a strongly fragmented regulatory landscape for private sector websites.

Eurostat’s latest available structural business statistics (referring to 2010) indicate that 189,960 businesses were active in computer programming activities (NACE rev. 2, J6201) generating a total turnover of 136,410.13 EURm. According to the most recent data from 2011, the total turnover generated went slightly up to 146,016.8 EURm. Data on the number of companies active in the field of web portals (NACE re.v 2, J6312) was not available. In 2009, however, the web portal industry generated a turnover of 14,269.98 EURm. 105

A good proxy for the number of websites in the EU27 is the number of businesses 106 . In the EU27 there were some 21,761,617 companies in 2010 which would imply that there could be around the same number of websites run by private sector.

The main limitations in accessibility of websites include the lack of accessible information about the functioning of the service and the accessibility characteristics, the lack of accessible online related applications including electronic information needed in the provision of the service.

Projections for future development are uncertain, therefore it is assumed that the number of businesses (i.e. websites) remains at the same level.

The regulatory landscape related to the accessibility of private sector websites is weak in comparison with the accessibility of public websites which is increasingly regulated across Europe.

Mandatory web-accessibility requirements for certain private undertakings have been identified in Spain. The Royal Decree Royal Decree 1494/2007 regulates the basic terms and conditions of access for the disabled to technologies, goods and services related to the information society and social media. It also provides legal force to the national standard UNE 139803:2012 “Web content accessibility requirements”. The Spanish legislation covers all governmental websites. Law 56/2007 on measures for the promotion of the Information Society extends this obligation of web accessibility to enterprises offering services of public interest (public or private ones). This concerns Spanish companies with over 100 employees or a turnover of more than EUR 6,010,121.04, if operating in any of the following economic sectors: electronic communication services giving services to consumers; consumer financial services, which include banking services, credit or debit services, investment services, insurance, pension plans and brokering; water supply companies giving services to consumers; gas supply companies giving services to consumers; gas supply companies giving services to final consumers; travel agencies; companies transporting travellers (by road, rail, sea or air); and retail companies giving services to final consumers. Law 49/2007 establishing the system of offenses and penalties relating to equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities foresees penalties of up to 30,000 EUR per site in case of non-compliance.

Accessibility of private sector websites falls also under the scope of some national antidiscrimination legislation but without the provision of specific technical requirements.

Voluntary standards to promote web-accessibility among private businesses have been identified in Spain and the United Kingdom. In Italy, a voluntary scheme to encourage the accessibility of private sector websites has been launched in 2004. Yet, in a large majority of countries, the provision of accessible private sector websites mainly depends on the voluntary action by service providers.

In Spain, the aforementioned national standard UNE 139803:2012 “Web content accessibility requirements” also intends to promote the take-up of web-accessibility features by private businesses that are not covered by the obligations of Law 56/2007.

In the United Kingdom, the British Standard 8878: 2010 “web accessibility code of practice” provides guidance on web-accessibility to private businesses of all sectors. The BS 8878:2010 code of practice applies to all products delivered via a web browser, including websites, web services and web-based applications such as email. It is intended to help anyone commissioning or designing a website or product to ensure it can be accessed by anyone. It outlines ways to define and assess the impact of web products on users, especially disabled and older people. The BS 8878:2010 is not a technical standard, but a process standard aimed not to substitute WCAG but to work alongside it. Compliance with the standard implies compliance with WCAG version 2.0, as the websites has to be tested against it.

In Italy, The Law 4/2004 on provisions to support the access of the disabled to information technologies (“Stanca Law”) as well as the implementing legislation (Decree of the President of the Republic, March 1st 2005, No. 75 on Enforcement Regulations for Law 4/2004 to promote the access of the disabled to information technologies; Ministerial Decree of July 8, 2005 on technical requirements and the different levels of accessibility of computer tools ) define technical accessibility requirements as well as a conformity assessment and labelling scheme for accessible websites. While the legal obligation to comply with these requirements is limited to public administrations, public agencies, private firms which are licensees of public services, regional municipal companies, public assistance and rehabilitation agencies as well as transport and telecommunication companies in which the State has a prevalent shareholding and ICT services contractors (art. 3 para 1 Law 4/2004), the voluntary uptake by private sector websites is encouraged via the labelling scheme which is implemented by the public agency CNIPA (Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica nella Pubblica Amministrazione).

Voluntary standards and certification schemes for the promotion of the accessibility of private sector websites have so far had a limited impact on private businesses, even though anecdotic evidence points to a few success stories.

Costs associated with the regulatory fragmentation in the EU are incurred by web professionals that basically provide websites with accessibility features. Web professionals cannot provide their services to businesses without incurring costs for efforts they have to make in order to understand the legislation (namely the Spanish one) and adapting their services and products accordingly. It can be expected that web professionals directly forward their costs of adapting to the legislation to their customers, i.e. the businesses that have commissioned web professionals to develop an accessible website. Furthermore, this is a problem that applies to all types and sectors of professional website services. Web professionals face accessibility compliance costs of 1.1 EURm to 9.7 EURm (depending on the complexity of the website) when providing web development services to Spanish online service providers that operate in Spain.

It should be noted that web-accessibility services are themselves examples of cross-border online services and lend themselves well to be delivered over the internet, provided language is not a barrier, thus creating job opportunities also in low-wage EU countries. Yet, an increasing number of eCommerce businesses are providing accessible websites and services on a voluntary basis - not least in view of the important customer base of disabled persons and elderly.

6.Architect services

Accessibility requirements for the built environment affect primarily the architect services' sector.

These services according to the European Union structural business statistics NACE Rev. 1.1 107  inter alia include:

-Architectural and engineering activities, corresponding to NACE Group 74.2, which include:

oArchitectural consulting activities (such as building design and drafting, supervision of construction, town and city planning, and landscape architecture);

oVarious engineering and technical activities related to construction;

oGeological and prospecting activities;

oWeather forecasting activities;

oGeodetic surveying;

-Technical testing and analysis activities, corresponding to NACE Group 74.3, which include:

oEnvironmental measuring;

oTesting of food hygiene, buildings and equipment;

oPeriodic testing of vehicles for roadworthiness.

The differences identified in legislation and detailed technical accessibility requirements for the built environment by Deloitte lead to barriers for architectural design and construction companies providing services across borders within the Internal Market. Businesses face extra costs every time they work on projects in other countries because they have to understand and comply with differing local regulations on accessibility and other technical areas. Different accessibility requirements concerning issues such as entrances, corridors, stairways, toilets and manoeuvring areas roughly affect 25% or more of the net space of buildings. Compliance with local requirements may require the hiring of local designers in order to operate swiftly enough during the design process, and to minimise the likelihood of expensive mistakes.

Another example of fragmented legislation related to the vertical design of buildings for accessibility which in simple terms relates to the obligation to have lifts for buildings of more than one floor. The fragmented situation resulting from national regulations is such that for example in some German Länder it is still allowed the construction of residential buildings of 4 levels without a lift and at least 6 EU Member States only require the placement of lifts in a limited number of public buildings. Slovenia requires the lift from 3 floors onwards. At least 14 Member States require the placement of a lift in public buildings of more than 1 floor. Architects need to be aware of these divergences and adapt their designs accordingly. 108 In fact a design that would be fulfilling national accessibility legislation in one country would not be legally correct in others. Furthermore this plays also a role in public procurement as the placement of lifts in public buildings is a key component of their accessibility. Bids from other Member States could be excluded if they were following national rules on the placement of lifts.

Some 129.6 EURb of value added was generated in 2006 by the EU’s technical business services sector (NACE Groups 74.2 and 74.3) from a turnover of 269.6 EURb 109 . This corresponded to 15.3 % of the total turnover for business services (NACE Divisions 72 and 74) and 14.5 % of the value added. According to other Eurostat statistics, around 26% of the EU turnover of architecture, engineering and technical testing related to architectural services. 110

Using these numbers, the turnover of architect services in Europe in 2006 is estimated to have been 37.74 EURb. In 2011, according to the most recent data, this turnover went up to 39.4 EURb.

Large architectural design companies regularly work across borders. Hiring local expertise or co-contracting local companies are typical market solutions in order to more quickly understand and comply with local (accessibility) requirements.

The fragmentation of the legislative situation (analysed in detail further down) in the EU27 architect service market can, however, lead to additional costs for architect firms. As noted above, these costs relate to efforts that need to be made in order to understand the different domestic accessibility legislations in the EU Member States where the building needs to be set up and to adapt the architectural services accordingly. Evidence from Germany suggests that architect fees are in the range of 10% to 13% of the total (monetary) building sum for new buildings and 15% to 18% for existing buildings. 111

Data from the Royal Institute of British Architects suggests that an architect’s working hour on average costs 61 EUR in the UK. 112 Thus, an average cost of 50 EUR to 70 EUR per working hour has been assumed. Furthermore, it has been assumed that in order to understand the existing legislative requirements in the EU Member State where an architect is providing services, one fulltime equivalent’s (FTE) work is needed to be put in for two to ten days.

About 40% of architect service projects undertaken by major architectural companies can be on buildings in other countries. For smaller companies the fraction is much lower, around 10% 113 . The total volume has not been identified as early discussions with major architectural design companies indicated that the exact number of projects affected was not regarded as having a significant impact on their annual financial turnover. Since it can be assumed that most of the cross-border architect projects in Europe are undertaken by major companies, the rate for cross-border trade in the area of architect services has been fixed at 40%.

The provision of architect services across national borders within the Internal Market typically covers situations where an architectural company wins a competition or is awarded a public procurement contract on designing buildings in another Member State. The early plans as well as more detailed designs often rely on domestic, standardised architectural designs compliant with the accessibility requirements in the home country of the company. Such requirements include a range of elements such as design of ramps, entrances, door placement, door widths, thresholds, automatic door controls, access control interfaces, lobby space layout, toilet room layout, toilet room equipment specifications, alarm system placement, dimensions of handrails, stair layout, signage and self-service terminals. The needs of most users of a building have to be considered under building regulations nowadays, and accessibility requirements derive from the needs of a wide range of persons, primarily with reduced mobility, but also with cognitive and sensory impairments.

All EU Member States require built environment elements to be designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities. The CEN/CENELEC/AENOR Mandate 420 report provided an overview of the coverage of various accessibility issues in the built environment by legislation and other statutory documents in different European countries and regions. While a large number of accessibility issues are covered in all EU Member States, the detailed level of coverage varies strongly across countries.

Furthermore, the detailed technical specifications for the accessibility requirements vary across Member States. As an illustrative example, the table below provides examples of technical accessibility requirements in the built environment (with regard to ramps, doors, toilet room free space and stair cases) in seven European countries. It appears that while most countries have regulated the accessibility of these built environment elements, the detailed technical requirements vary across countries. As a result, architectural designs that are exported to other countries have to be adapted to meet national codes and regulations, and consequently no single, standard design can be put to use across Europe.

Table 2: Examples of technical accessibility requirements in the built environment

Differences in requirements, non-domestic buildings

France

Ireland

Spain

United Kingdom

Germany

Norway

Italy

Ramp slopes, max.

1:20

1:12

-

1:12

1:16.5

1:12

1:12.5

Ramp widths, min.

1.4 m

1.0 m

-

1.5 m

1.5 m

1.6 m

0.9 m

Corridor widths, min.

1.4 m

1.2 m

0.9 m

1.2 m

1.5 m

1.6 m

1.0 m

Door widths, min.

0.9 m

0.8 m

0.85 m

0.8 or 1.0 m

0.9 m

1.0 m

0.8 m

Toilet room free space

One side

One side

One side

One side

Two sides

Two sides

-

Relative size of staircases

Small

Small

-

Medium

Larger

Larger

-

In view of overcoming this legislative fragmentation, the European Commission issued a Standardisation Mandate to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in support of European accessibility requirements for public procurement in the built environment (Mandate 420 114 ) in 2007. The main objectives of this mandate are to: (1) facilitate the public procurement of accessible built environment following the Design for All principles by developing a set of standards/Technical specifications that will contain (I) a set of functional European accessibility requirements of the built environment; and (II) a range of minimum technical data to comply with those functional requirements, and (2) to provide a mechanism through which the public procurers have access to an online toolkit, enabling them to make easy use of these harmonised requirements in procurement process. The results of the first phase of Mandate 420 are available and identify a set of standards on accessibility along with various methods to assess conformity with those standards for the built environment. 115 The progress with the Mandate is highly welcomed, yet European standards not accompanied by other legal measures are voluntary tools.

Based on the above findings, it can be concluded that the legislative landscape at national level is fragmented, with large variations between different jurisdictions in terms of how accessibility in the built environment should be ensured. National or regional technical accessibility requirements for the built environment exist in all 27 EU Member States.

The differences identified in legislation and detailed technical accessibility requirements for the built environment lead to barriers for architectural design companies providing services across borders within the Internal Market. Businesses face extra costs every time they work on projects in other countries because they have to understand and comply with differing local regulations on accessibility and other technical areas. Accessibility requirements concerning issues such as entrances, corridors, stairways, toilets and manoeuvring areas roughly affect 25% or more of the net space of buildings. Compliance with local requirements may require the hiring of local designers in order to operate swiftly enough during the design process, and to minimise the likelihood of expensive mistakes.

In some case, software toolkits attempt to supply a better overview of national/regional (accessibility) requirements, where these may be difficult or time-consuming to understand by professionals. Cross-border information, however, does not seem to be included. BIM and CAD systems used for modelling increasingly act as on the fly toolkits making adaptations of different local requirements easier, typically offering ranges of standard building elements and solutions to choose from.

Designers may use some of the existing toolkits and they might be helpful to a certain extent. However, they will never solve the legislative fragmentation problem.

7.Self-service terminals including ATMs

Self-service terminals (SSTs) are computerised telecommunications device or electronic outlets that provide the users with access to various operations in public spaces without personal assistance. SSTs are commonly used in several sectors such as banking (ATMs), retail (self-checkout machines) and transport services (check-in machines and ticketing machines).

More specifically, an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is a computerised telecommunications device or an electronic banking outlet that provides the users (e.g. clients of financial institutions) with access to banking operations in public spaces without the assistance of a clerk. There are two primary types of ATMs: the basic units allow the customer to only withdraw cash and receive a report of the account balance. The more complex machines will accept deposits, facilitate credit card payments and report account information. On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smart card with a chip and by entering a personal identification number (PIN) 116 .

As computerised devices, SSTs require operating systems in order to perform the various available functions. In the case of ATMs, their vast majority nowadays use a Microsoft Windows operating system or Linux. In addition to the operating systems, SSTs require various applications (constantly improved) that allow transactions to be performed. Hence it is important that both the physical device (the SST machine) and the software are accessible for a fully user-friendly experience.

The accessibility requirements of the physical setting usually stem from regulation addressing the built environment, and can vary depending on different aspects such as the access to the pathway towards the machine, the lighting of the environment, etc. The accessibility features behind the SST should include more than ensuring that the SST has the right position/height, such as that facilities can be accessed, e.g. because of lack of sound, wrong lightning, lack of logic etc.

Regarding the barriers linked to the usability of the interface, the following challenges have been highlighted both in the public consultation and by the other sources of information consulted: the height of the machine relative to users in a wheelchair; the lack of similarity of the display from one machine to another (inconsistent layout of keypads, number orientation, size and style of the keys, colour and contrast); the lack of audio output; the small print of the receipts issued by SSTs which makes them difficult to read, and poor general functionality. In addition, according to the public consultation, there needs to be a requirement for ATMs to use the already existent speech technology, as speech technology is seen as adding significant value to the user experience 117 .

In summary, the main limitations in the accessibility of ATMs and self-service terminals are linked to the functionality of the good, the limited accessibility of the user interface and the limited interoperability with assistive devices and when existent, it is very seldom standardised across the EU 118 .

Technical accessibility requirements have been identified in 8 out of 9 EU Member States (i.e. 89%) within the scope of the analysis. ANED identified at least six other Member States, with requirements in this area.

The regulatory fragmentation identified further down, introduces obstacles in the EU Internal Market. It is clear that in the current situation, an ATM that complies with the accessibility requirements in one Member States would not be compliant with the requirements other Member States and can therefore be sold in only one or two of these countries without adaptations 119 . This can be considered as an obstacle to the free movement of goods within the Internal Market.

Leading ATM manufacturers have confirmed that such regulatory differences in technical requirements lead to obstacles in the internal market and additional costs for accessibility because they have to familiarise themselves with the diverging national accessibility requirements and adapt their products in order to be able to sell them in the different national sub-markets within the internal market.

More specifically, based on the analysis above, it appears that:

ATM manufacturers (large companies that sell their goods worldwide) face additional cost for product adaptations due to inconsistent and incompatible accessibility requirements across countries in the Internal Market;

Retrofitting non-accessible ATMs can be very expensive; typically accessibility features are added when replacing existing ATMs by new (accessible) ones and seldom by retrofitting existing ones.

European-level standardisation of accessibility requirements is advocated by the industry as the most appropriate way to overcome barriers in the Internal Market caused by inconsistent requirements. A single European voluntary standard would only potentially remove the costs that are necessary for national level adaptations and make accessible ATMs more affordable if enforced by EU legislation.

Disabled consumers find barriers in two dimensions of SSTs (including ATMs): on the one hand, the physical setting and surrounding of the machine and on the other, the design and usability of the interface. 120

The accessibility requirements of the physical setting usually stem from regulation addressing the built environment, and can vary depending on different aspects such as the access to the pathway towards the machine, the lighting of the environment, etc. The accessibility features behind the ATM concern more than ensuring that the ATM has the right position/height, so that facilities can be accessed. They address many other barriers, for example those related to the user interface, e.g. lack of sound, wrong lightning, lack of logic etc.

Regarding the barriers linked to the usability of the interface, the following differences in features have been highlighted as challenges for compatibility, both in the public consultation and by the other sources of information consulted: the height of the machine relative to users in a wheelchair; the lack of similarity of the display from one ATM to another (inconsistent layout of keypads, number orientation, size and style of the keys, colour and contrast); the lack of audio output; the small print of the receipts issued by ATMs which makes them difficult to read, and poor general functionality. In addition, according to the public consultation, there needs to be a requirement for ATMs to use the already existent speech technology 121 .

In comparison to ATMs, ticketing machines and check-in machines have lower sales prices. Industry expertise provided by Wincor-Nixdorf suggests that EU sales prices for ATMs are between 8,000 and 42,000 EUR per product depending on the included features. According to Hoefft & Wessels, a ticketing machines manufacturer, sales prices for ticketing machines are around 10,000 EUR per good. By applying the same range of sales prices as for ATMs, the sales prices are expected to be between 3,200 EUR to 16,800 EUR. Since check-in machines are basically only provided with a touch screen and printing functionality their sales prices is expected to be even lower, i.e. 2,000 EUR to 8,000 EUR.

A leading authority on accessibility technology estimates that the costs of modifying hardware and software for a fully accessible system would not exceed 1%, at most 2%, of the entire development cost of a SST’s hardware and software. This estimate is based on existing accessibility technology and design standards. On the other hand, retrofitting is usually very expensive (up to half the costs of a new ATM), meaning that embedding accessibility from the design phase would be a win-win situation both for the company and the end-user, since the latter would be more likely to engage in transactions and generate higher sales if the ATMs are accessible. 122

According to Eurostat data (PRODCOM code 26201200) the total production value of “Point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and similar machines capable of being connected to a data processing machine or network” was 222,335,531 EUR in 2011. Although the number of point-of-sale (POS) terminals is expected to be very high since almost every in-store check-out terminal is equipped with a POS payment device, it is expected that the majority of the market size can be attributed to ATMs. Hence, Deloitte assumed that 60% to 70% of the total annual production value can be attributed to ATMs. Thus, the applied annual market turnover stemming from ATMs is equal to 60% to 70% of the annual production value:

Lower range estimate: 60% * 222,335,531 EUR = 133,401,319 EUR

Upper range estimate: 70% * 222,335,531 EUR = 155,634,872 EUR

According to the European Central Bank (ECB), there were about 434,200 ATMs in the EU in 2010. 123 While the total number of ATMs has strongly increased in all EU Member States over the last decade 124 , growth has come to halt in recent years. For instance, in 2010 the total number of ATMs in the EU decreased slightly by 0.2%. 125  The ATM density in the Euro area has grown from about 675 ATMs per million inhabitants in 2001 to more than 950 ATMs per million inhabitants at the end of the decade. Since then the ATM density in the Euro area has been stagnating. The ATM market is largely controlled by eleven global players. Currently all major ATM manufacturers are able to develop and deploy accessible ATMs; some ATM manufacturers even sell accessible machines across the full pricing spectrum 126  thus making it more affordable for ATM operators to provide accessible machines to their clients.

To calculate the market size for ticketing machines and check-in machines the PRODCOM figures were also used. For “Accounting machines, cash registers, postage-franking machines, ticket-issuing machines and similar machines, incorporating a calculating device” (code 28231300), the total production value in the EU27 was 304,379,040 EUR, corresponding to a total export value of 172,822,250 EUR and an import value of 437,393,710 EUR. Deloitte assumed the value that can be attributed only to ticket-issuing machines to be between 20% and 50%, while the share of check-in machines is expected to be between 5% and 15%. Due to a lack of data, this is, however, not backed by evidence. Thus, the applied annual market turnover stemming from ticketing machines is estimated as follows:

Ticketing machines:

Lower range estimate: 20% * 304,379,040 EUR = 60,875,808 EUR

Upper range estimate: 50% * 304,379,040 EUR = 152,189,520 EUR

Check-in machines:

Lower range estimate: 5% * 304,379,040 EUR = 15,218,952 EUR

Upper range estimate: 15% * 304,379,040 EUR = 45,656,856 EUR

The market for these SSTs is likely to increase, taking into account the potential benefits of using these machines: revenues increase and efficiency gains.

As regards the regulatory landscape, while technical accessibility requirements for ATMs exist in several EU Member States, these mainly refer to the built environment relating to the ATMs (e.g. an obstacle free route to the ATM, the height of the installation, etc.) and in some cases to the user interface. For instance, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom provide accessibility requirements for ATMs through building regulations. ICT-related accessibility requirements are rarely present in legislation.

“More complete” technical accessibility guidelines or standards for SSTs, including ATMs, i.e. covering both ICT- and built environment-related requirements, are available in most of the analysed countries. These have typically a non-binding self-regulatory character or have been published as recommendations by disability organisations or public authorities.

The table below provides an overview of identified obligations in legislation, related technical accessibility requirements and standards/guidelines of a mandatory or voluntary nature in both selected EU and non-EU countries.

Overview of identified obligations, requirements, standards and guidelines

Obligations

Technical Accessibility Requirements

Standards/Guidelines (mandatory)

Standards/Guidelines (voluntary)

Austria

X (*)

X

S (*)

S

Denmark

X

X

S

G

France

X

X

G

Germany

X (*)

X

S, G (*)

S, G

Ireland

G

Netherlands

G

Norway

G

Spain

X

X

G

Sweden

G

United Kingdom

X

X

S

S, G

Australia

S

Canada

S

United States

X

X

S

(*) = Only in those regions where the regional building codes give legal force to accessibility standards.

There are significant differences between the accessibility requirements for self-service terminals (including ATMs) specified by legislation, standards and technical guidance documents across Europe. These relate inter alia to issues of the built environment such as the height of operation, the knee space or the access area in front of the SSTs. The regulatory coverage with regard to ICT-related accessibility requirements is more limited.

The illustrative comparison of selected technical accessibility requirements for SSTs in Europe shows that incompatibilities exist across countries. For instance, an ATM with a height of operation of 1250 mm would be considered as accessible in France, Ireland and the UK, while it would be considered as inaccessible in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands. Similarly, an ATM with a height of operation of 750 mm would be considered as accessible in Spain and the UK, while it would be assessed as inaccessible in Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. With regard to knee space provided below the ATM in order to make the operating devices reachable (i.e. accessible) for wheelchair users, (diverging) technical requirements exist in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK, while no requirements have been defined in the other countries under scope.

Similar problems can be observed with regard to the minimum requirements for the access area in front of the SSTs as well as the degree of coverage of ICT-related accessibility requirements. 127

While the general non-technical accessibility requirements for ATMs are broadly aligned, technical accessibility requirements vary significantly across EU Member States. As a result, adaptations for the different national markets within the EU Internal Market are necessary. Interviewed SSTs manufacturers reported that the fragmentation and inconsistency of accessibility requirements across the EU prevent them from exploiting potential economies of scale of Europe-wide or worldwide standardised products. These differences also lead to additional costs because they have to familiarise with the diverging national accessibility requirements and adapt their products in order to be able to sell them in the different sub-markets within the internal market.

Therefore, European-level accessibility requirements is advocated by the industry as the most appropriate way to overcome barriers in the internal market caused by inconsistent requirements 128 .

8.eCommerce

In addition to what has been said under the private sector websites section, eCommerce refers to retail services which are available online (independently of the existence or not of physical facilities).Even though data on the online retail website market is scarce, Deloitte provided the following conclusions:

There will be costs related to cross-border trade for online retail businesses in the future due to an eventual legal fragmentation related to accessibility requirements;

A qualitative assessment of the consumer situation suggests that consumers could use accessible eCommerce websites to impact price levels and the supply side through market adjustments. Furthermore, consumers benefit from an additional supply of goods that are not available in the domestic market but could be purchased cross-border.

Regarding the number of enterprises among the Member States, it can be pointed out that of all EU countries Italy is characterised as having the largest number of retailers in 2009 (over 650,000). Although the number of retail service enterprises declined between 2008 and 2009, Italy has the largest retail service market, followed by Spain (nearly 500,000), France (nearly 380,000) and Germany (nearly 330,000). These numbers had few variations if comparing with the updated data from 2011. Out of these, only Germany experienced an increase in 2009 compared with the foregoing year. Approximately 20% more enterprises were active in the retail service sector in Germany than one year prior. The highest decrease is observed in Poland (15.4%). 129  Concerning the number of companies that engaged in eCommerce, in 2010, 15% of all EU enterprises sold their goods and services online (i.e. 3,555,397 * 15% = 533,310), 14% sold them in their own EU Member State and 6% of all enterprises sold their goods online in other EU Member States. Within the EU27 in 2010, the most enterprises which are active online were recorded in Denmark (28%). However, only 8% of Danish enterprises engaged in eCommerce outside Denmark. In Spain, the number of businesses active in online retail trade in 2010 was 497,992 * 15% = 74,699.

The specific accessibility requirements for e-shops can be classified into the following groups 130 :

Web page template: having an application to generate web content makes publication simple and easy to define. This means that there is a page-model (template) where there will always be similar content where the only differences are the name, description, images, options (for example, related items) displayed for the chosen item. For the web page template, the recommendations will be the same as those for a simple web page, referring to the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines or similar standards. These are a set of rules with an international scope in order to agree on the development of accessible websites. This is very helpful for all kind of disabilities, including people with visual, motor and cognitive impairments.

Website sections and good/service presentation: eCommerce web solutions usually organise navigation in sections. Every section has a description and can contain other sections and/or goods/services. Users who rely on screen readers to obtain the information due to visual impairments often do not have the same ability to access the information as someone who is sighted. In order to ensure web accessibility of the website sections and the presentation of the good/service, the e-shop application developer needs to:

oMake a clear navigation structure for the section, using list elements.

oIn a web page that contains a list of sections, make the text used in the links unique and clear to describe each section.

oData tables for good/service listings: when users with assistive technologies browse a web page, they must understand the goods’/services’ details, and must be able to interact with the content. For example, with an inaccessible goods/services listing, the user might not be able to select goods/services options, or determine its price, or other problems that might make it impossible to continue shopping. A set of information about a good or service requires a data table because the navigation of the data table allows the user to retrieve the heading information.

oUse explicit label associations and clear text inside button images: When a user interacts with the goods/services in order to add them to the shopping cart, usually there are different options for the same item: for example, choose the size for a T-shirt, the colour, number of items, etc. Every element needs to have a label and this label must be explicitly associated.

oOne must be careful with the use of colour or text decoration to provide information. In an e-shop catalogue, there are commonly goods and services available for sale at special prices (special offers). It is important to remember that all information should be available without relying on the use of colour. For example, if we have a special price, we should not indicate the price through colour alone, such as displaying bargains in red. By doing this, colour blind people or people with some kind of cognitive impairment would be undermined.

oThere must be clear information about prices, offers, etc. Some visitors can have learning disabilities and we must ensure that information about prices and offers are clear. Moreover the use of pictograms is highly recommended for people with cognitive impairments.

oThe use of an accessible document format for documentation is necessary. Some goods/services include technical specifications - usually made available in PDF format. To ensure that all users can read the content of this documentation it is important that PDFs are accessible.

Shopping Cart: When goods/services are added to the shopping cart, the user should be able to:

oView shopping cart content.

oModify shopping cart content.

oGo back and continue to shop or proceed to checkout.

oThe shopping cart visualisation should be consistent with the good/service visualisation to ensure the user knows how to interact with the content (delete, modify or confirm orders).

Checkout: Confirming the order for payment and processing is a process known simply as “checkout”. To ensure accessibility for the checkout procedure, there are some issues that must be addressed:

oThe user must be able to review the shopping cart content. Using a data table, it is possible to organise table headers and table data to ensure the correct reading order for screen reader users. If the user desires to go back to the shop and/or to the previous page, they must be able to do so without use of scripts.

oThe user must be able to know how many steps are involved to complete the checkout – preferably not too many.

oAll instructions and information should also be concise and clear. If there are extra-costs that will be added to the cart during the checkout process, the user must be prompted with textual information.

oExisting registered users must be able to be recognised. The first form in the checkout module should be a login form for existing users: this will help them fill all the required information by retrieving existing data from the shop archive.

oEvery form control must be identified with a unique ID and must have an associated label.

Payment Gateway In this step the user is moved to another website that may be inaccessible. This would cause serious problems for a user with visual impairments. The best solution is to use payment gateways that use server-2-server communication. This way, the user provides payment details directly inside the shop (last step in the checkout form) and the shop sends to the payment gateway the required information to confirm/decline the transaction.

Customer Area In the customer area, the user must be able to interact with the orders placed and with the merchant: this means that the e-shop developer should include some interaction between customer and merchant:

oSearch and view orders: The user must be able to interact with previous orders, and to have the ability to search among them and visualise the order details.

oManage personal data: The user must be able to manage personal data and update information as needed. The edit form should be similar to the registration form, with all the accessibility issues addressed and solved (for example, using the label for form controls, device independence, etc.).

oSend messages to the merchant: The user must be able to interact with the merchant and be able to send messages (not just through a client e-mail application).

oMake payments for unpaid orders: The user must be able to interact with the payment gateway to pay orders that haven't previously been paid. The entire payment procedure should be accessible using simple input forms.

IBM 131 has pointed out that many accessibility tools can help users navigate the Internet more easily by reading web pages aloud and by allowing them to resize panes, enlarge font sizes, and change background colours for better contrast. Some retailers have introduced these technological features on their websites to assist low-vision users as a way to be more customer-oriented to people with disabilities. However, while most of these inventions were initially designed with disabled users in mind, they also further the cause for usability by designing goods to be usable by more people. The simplicity and the comfort of accessible websites are not only for disabled people, but for all. People without disabilities also benefit from accessible services since it makes their lives easier, when suffering from fatigue, minor illnesses and stress.

An estimate of the total current eCommerce market size in Europe is thus calculated by multiplying the total retail turnover in Europe (2,585,213,880,000 EUR in 2010) with the percentage of eCommerce in total retail turnover (14% in 2010). The total current eCommerce market turnover in Europe is estimated to be: 2,585 EURb * 14% = 362 EURb.

There is a growing importance of eCommerce for the retail service sector in particular in recent years. Trends varied slightly between different Member States; some countries (primarily EU12 Member States) continued to show a positive trend. 132

In the EU27 over 3.5 million enterprises are active in the retail service sector according to the European statistical office (NACE code G47 and its sub categories). Especially in the sub segment “retail sale of other goods in specialised stores” approximately 350,000 enterprises are counted for 2009. 133

Mandatory accessibility requirements for private eCommerce websites were identified in Spain and voluntary ones also in Italy and the United Kingdom, as already pointed out in detail under 'private sector websites'. The obstacles created by this regulatory landscape fall on web professionals that are not able to provide their services across the internal market without incurring costs that relate to efforts made to understand the legislative requirements in each country.

In the framework of the Technosite study “Economic Assessment for Improving e-Accessibility” 134 various accessibility experts were consulted in order to provide a rough estimate of extra costs faced when different web accessibility standards apply. Costs are twofold: Initial costs (comprised by all work done in order to have the website ready for the first time) and on-going costs (running costs which have to be paid annually). Concerning on-going costs, accessibility would need slightly more powerful resources, as well as additional testing and maintenance (it is important to remark that accessibility degrades over time, and it must be assumed as a procedure to manage the website. Some testing should be made periodically –each 3/6/12 months, depending on the certification body - to ensure that the website remains accessible according to the guidelines followed).

Illustration of costs based on the Technosite Study:

The average price of a given accessible website in Spain is, on average, 52,116.64 EUR. Moreover, it is 8.28% more expensive to make a website compliant with WCAG 1.0 AA, and 8.76% more expensive if compliant with UNE 139803 (Spanish standard based on WCAG 1.0) rather than WCAG 2.0.

If a company would like to make the website compliant with a national legislation different from the local one (i.e. a Spanish company that have to make their website, already compliant with UNE 139803:2004 135 , also with (voluntary) Italian Stanca Law requirements), would have to face 400 EUR (1 working day according to Technosite) extra in order to learn how to apply the norms (web developers need 133 working days to make a website compliant with WCAG 1.0 vs. 134 working days if compliant with UNE, which is based on WCAG 1.0). Therefore, in order to make one website compliant with the other “X” EU Web accessibility laws, a company must add 10,400 EUR to the 56,433.15 EUR that costs WCAG 1.0 AA (please note that this is an estimate and it has been assumed that all national legislations are based on WCAG 1.0 AA with slightly differences).

In what concerns barriers for business, it should be noted that retail services are a key intermediary factor in the modern economy acting as the conduit between thousands of good and service suppliers and consumers. Many consumers in Europe benefit from the EU integrated retail market by buying goods from other Member States. The retail sector is also one of the biggest users of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) when considering its role with eCommerce, and thus a driver of innovation. It has a major part to play in the sustainability of small businesses 136 and it also allows citizens to face the current economic downturn by giving them easy access to affordable and good quality consumables 137 due to the cutting costs of intermediation and stocking. These are among the reasons, why an increasing number of eCommerce businesses are providing accessible websites and services on a voluntary basis.

Retailers that use eCommerce operations should – ideally – give website visitors a good online shopping experience by way of easy navigation, fast loading web pages and secure, easy-to-use online payment gateways. Website visitors should have the opportunity to browse a catalogue, search for goods and services, add items in their shopping carts, manage the shopping cart and then proceed to check-out in order to end their order. It is also important that the user is able to communicate with the e-shop management.

9.Banking services

Banking services are composed by several elements which if accessible, they allow for a fully user-friendly banking experience. These elements are: ATMs, the banking related built-environment and the online banking (websites).

The level of accessibility, market size and its potential growth of ATMs and private sector websites have already been analysed in previous sections. The built environment will be further analysed from the perspective of architect services. Therefore, in this section only particular information related to the banking sector will be added.

In summary regarding ATMs, accessibility barriers have to do with on one hand, the physical setting and surrounding of the machine and on the other hand, the design and usability of the interface. 138

Consumers benefit through the use of websites, since it enables the collection and comparison of eventually scarce information, in particular online banking facilitates the consumers’ efforts to take care of their financial matters. This increases consumer confidence and saves time and thus, societal life is not thinkable anymore without websites anymore.

Online banking consists of three main parts: the marketing / information pages, the online application and the transactional banking area, all of these can provide the user with problems:

-Inconsistent navigation and page layouts;

-On-site search engines that don't find information, even when it is available;

-Bank orientated language that is not explained;

-Poor feedback when using interactive tools and forms;

-Inability to save an application and complete is at a later date;

-Too many steps in transactions and no visibility of progress;

-Unhelpful error messages; and

-Pages which are inaccessible to assistive technology.

The specific accessibility requirements for banking service websites can be classified into the following groups 139 , most of them related with visual and cognitive impairments. The requirements for the websites transactional area, not included here in detail, should be aligned with the new Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market 140 .

Web page template: having an application to generate web content makes publication simple and easy to define. This means that there is a page-model (template) where there will always be similar content where the only differences are the name, description, images, options (for example, Related items) displayed for the chosen item. For the web page template, the recommendations will be the same as those for a simple web page, referring to the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines. These are a set of rules with an international scope in order to agree on the development of accessible websites. This is very helpful for all kind of disabilities, but especially for people with visual and cognitive impairments.

Website sections and service presentation: web solutions usually organise navigation in sections. Every section has a description and can contain other sections and/or services. Users who rely on screen readers to obtain the information due to visual impairments often do not have the same ability to access the information as someone who is sighted. In order to ensure web accessibility of the website sections and the presentation of the good/service, the online banking application developer needs to:

oMake a clear navigation structure for the section, using list elements.

oIn a web page that contains a list of sections, make the text used in the links unique and clear to describe each section.

oData tables for services listings: when users with assistive technologies browse a web page, they must understand the services' details, and must be able to interact with the content. For example, with an inaccessible services listing, the user might not be able to select services options, or determine its price, or other problems that might make it impossible to continue using the website. A set of information about a service requires a data table because the navigation of the data table allows the user to retrieve the heading information.

oUse explicit label associations and clear text inside button images: When a user interacts with the services in order to select one of them. Every form element needs to have a label and this label must be explicitly associated.

oOne must be careful with the use of colour or text decoration to provide information. It is important to remember that all information should be available without relying on the use of colour. Otherwise, colour blind people or people with some kind of cognitive impairment would be undermined.

oThere must be clear information about prices, offers, etc. Some visitors can have learning disabilities and we must ensure that information about prices and offers are clear. Moreover the use of pictograms is highly recommended for people with cognitive impairments.

oThe use of an accessible document format for documentation is necessary. Some services include technical specifications - usually made available in PDF format. To ensure that all users can read the content of this documentation it is important that PDFs are accessible.

By the end of 2010, the number of banks in the EU had fallen by 2.2% to 6,825. 5,404 of which were banks based in the Euro zone. Bank branches also registered a decline of 1.9%, to 215,000, on the account of a rise in popularity of online banking. 141 Hence, the number of EU27 banking service websites is assumed to be 6,825,

Most banks also have physical facilities (agencies/branches), the accessibility of these facilities (built environment) is mostly regulated through national building regulations/plans. In some cases it is specified that they are applicable to the banking sector.

The number of Member States with accessibility requirements on private sector websites and ATMs has already been pointed out above. 11 EU Member States with specific accessibility requirements for banks have been evidenced as part of CEN/CENELEC/AENOR research under Mandate 420. ANED identified general obligations for the built environment of banks in 10 additional EU Member States.

The estimated turnover of architect services in Europe in 2006 was 37.74 EURb. With regard to banking services facilities, the number of banks (including the ones based in the Euro zone) and the number of bank branches has been pointed out above. The number of bank branches in the EU will be further used to calculate potential costs for architect service providers.

The regulatory landscape in the EU regarding ATMs and private sector websites had been described in detail in previous specifically dedicated sections. The CEN/CENELEC/AENOR Mandate 420 report 142 provides a broad view on the legislative coverage of various accessibility issues in the built environment in different European countries and regions. The report identifies specific accessibility requirements for banking service facilities in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) out of 15 EU Member States covered by the analysis.

Regulatory differences in accessibility technical requirements in ATMs, private sector websites and the built environment in the banking sector lead to obstacles for both industry and consumers and create barriers to the free movement of goods and services.

10.Passenger transport services

Passenger transport services are composed of some elements which if accessible, they allow for a fully user-friendly transport experience. These elements are: SSTs (including ticketing machines and check-in machines), transport related built-environment and transport services websites (where one can get information on schedules, ticket prices, purchasing tickets, etc.).

Passenger transport services are not only important in themselves, but also as key enablers to access many other services. They are included in most of the chains of activities people follow in everyday life.

The level of accessibility, market size and its potential growth of private sector websites and SSTs have already been analysed. The built environment will be analysed further down from the perspective of architect services. Therefore, in the following sub-sections, per mode of transport, only particular information related to the specific transport service will be added.

All Member States have got some kind of transport accessibility legislation often covering the built environment or concerning vehicles or assistance. While those concerning vehicles and assistance are often harmonised as a result of EU legislation the rules related to the built environment significantly differ except for rail where EU rules are in place. Some of those laws also concern websites and self-service terminals but with differences in scope and requirements as previously explained.

It is important to notice that in some countries passenger transport services, despite being provided by private entities, operate under public service obligation and may be covered by national accessibility obligations addressed to the public authorities. However, this does not modify the nature of the entities providing the service.

Technical accessibility requirements on self-service terminals (including ticketing machines and check-in machines) have been identified in 8 out of 9 EU Member States within the scope of the analysis.

In line with Deloitte's research, ANED confirmed the existence of general requirements regarding the built-environment in most of the EU Member States. Efforts at European level related to on-going voluntary standardisation work under the European Commission Mandate 420 are insufficient to remove existing fragmentation.

Air transport services

Air transport is examined with regard to the accessibility of online information concerning air transport services, the accessibility of self-service terminals (SSTs), including check-in machines, used in air transport services, as well as the accessibility of the built environment related to the provision of these services.

A valuable source is the Commission’s Impact Assessment report for the Web Accessibility Directive 143 which states that a good proxy for the number of websites in the EU27 is the number of businesses.

The EU27 air transport service market is dominated both by the established globally active airlines such as Lufthansa (which was the dominant EU market leader in 2011) as well as some airlines focussing on the intra-European market, such as Ryanair and Vueling.

Desk research brought upon a total number of 390 airlines based in EU27 Member States. It has to be noted, however, that this is only an indicative number that has to be viewed as a maximum amount since it was not clear for all airlines whether or not they still operate on a day to day basis.

Furthermore, the total number of airports in the EU27 has to be considered as well since their websites are one of the main points of contact for citizens that try to find information on air transport services. Desk research has found that there are approx. 482 airports with at least 15,000 passenger movements per year in Europe 144 .

Hence, the overall number of websites relevant for the EU27 air transport service sector is (390 + 482 =) 872. Please note that this number does not contain third party private sector websites on which consumers can book tickets online (e.g. Opodo, Expedia, lastminute.com, cheaptickets.com), since an actual number of those sites could not be identified. It is expected, however, that various national websites exist. Therefore, the number of 872 air transport websites in Europe is to be regarded as the minimum level. The actual number of relevant websites is likely to be higher.

With regard to websites’ accessibility, it can be assumed that air transport businesses gain significant additional customer share since air transport customers are expected to take-up air transport services at a higher rate when provided information and online booking possibilities are accessible.

Self-Service Terminals (SSTs) have become an essential interface for customers who want to gather information on specific transport services, buy and validate tickets or check-in to their journey, SSTs in the area of transportation typically include ticketing machines, ticket validation machines and self-service check-in terminals at airports.

Today, only about 41% of the SSTs in the area of transportation in the EU can be considered as accessible according to a recent Technosite survey. 145 About 53% of all SSTs are wheel-chair-accessible, while only 39% are accessible to visually impaired persons according to the same source.

Although considerable progress in the development of accessible SSTs in the area of transportation has been made, persons with disabilities still face challenges when using SSTs such as self-service check-in terminals. The recent Technosite study “Monitoring eAccessibility in Europe: 2011” provides some data on the level of accessibility of virtual kiosks, i.e. SSTs, in the area of transportation.

Virtual kiosks are vending machines which do not only require a commercial transaction to obtain a physical product, but commonly focus on electronic services (e.g. internet access, digital printing, tourist information, ticketing, etc.) that require user interaction with information and can be for both free and pay services. The virtual kiosks focused on in the report were those used for ticketing at transport stations (train/bus/airports), since this covers a main functionality (i.e. mobility) in the urban environment. It figures the level of accessibility of virtual kiosks in the EU against the ones in various non-EU countries (Australia, Canada, USA, and Norway). The figure below presents an overview of virtual kiosk accessibility in EU and selected non-EU countries with regard to particular key aspects, such as available information about accessible virtual kiosks, the share of talking virtual kiosks or the share of virtual kiosks that are accessible to wheel chair users.

Status of ticketing machine accessibility in EU vs. non-EU countries in percentages 146

Calculations suggest that architect services providers incur annual costs of between 138,880 EUR and 1.0 EURm when providing cross-border architect services for airports. It is assumed that these costs cannot be forwarded to architect service customers (i.e. cities, municipalities, and / or local authorities) since they are expected to be incurred as part of the general preparation for projects and / or market entrance.

The turnover of the air transport industry was 111,662 EURm in 2009. 147 It went up to 126,808 EURm in 2011. According to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), passenger numbers in the EU are expected to approximately double from 605.8 million in 2010 to nearly 1.2 billion in 2030 148 . Also taking into consideration catalytic effects in terms of increased tourism receipts, the real GDP for the industry is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.4% with an implied creation of 1.6 million jobs up to 2030 149 . It should be noted that these analyses relate to Europe as a whole, not only EU Member States. 150

Additional relevant data to assess the market size in aviation is the service relevant growth rates of overall passenger numbers and passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs). The total European air transport passenger volume slightly decreased between 2007 and 2010, by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 0.7% 151 . The most significant decrease in the period analysed was observed in 2009 with a year-on-year decline in passenger volume of 5.9% compared with 2008, which was mainly related to the consequences of the financial crisis starting in the autumn of 2008. The European market for passenger air transport services has been recovering from the crisis-related decline in passenger volumes as well as airport and airline profitability in 2010 and 2011. However, EU growth rates still fall short of other rates observed in the developing markets such as Asia, Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East 152 . In total, the relative growth in the EU between 2010 and 2011 mainly relates to EU Member States such as Latvia and Romania.

The regulatory fragmentation regarding SSTs introduces obstacles in the EU Internal Market. It is clear that in the current situation, check-in machines that comply with the accessibility requirements in the UK may not be compliant with the requirements in Germany or Denmark and can therefore be sold in only one or two of these countries without adaptations. This can be considered as an obstacle to the free movement of goods within the Internal Market.

All EU Member States require built environment elements to be designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities, including facilities for air transport.

While a large number of accessibility issues are covered in all EU Member States, the detailed level of coverage varies strongly across countries. While some Member States have implemented specific accessibility requirements for airport facilities (these countries include, according to the Mandate 420 report, AT, BE, CY, DK, FI, GR, IE, LU, ES, SE, and the UK), other Member States cover the accessibility of air transport facilities with general requirements for buildings open to the public and for the external built environment (e.g. general rules for ramps, signage, manoeuvring spaces, etc.).

Based on the above findings, it can be concluded that the legislative landscape at national level is fragmented, with a patchwork of strong or weak requirements in place, depending on the specific elements of the built environment and the jurisdiction. National or regional technical accessibility requirements for the built environment for air transport services (i.e. buildings open to the public and the external built environment) exist in all 27 EU Member States.

Railway transport services

The built-environment in relation to railway transport services operating cross-border is already covered by European legislation 153 , therefore it will not be analysed in this impact assessment. The rail transport services encompass the accessibility of online information concerning rail transport services, the accessibility of self-service terminals (SSTs), including ticketing machines, in rail transport services as well as the accessibility of the built environment related to the provision of rail transport services.

Continuing to follow the approach of the Commission’s Impact Assessment report for the Web Accessibility Directive 154 which states that a good proxy for the number of websites in the EU27 is the number of businesses.

The rail transport service sector comprises operators in the sub-sectors heavy rail transport, light rail transport, metro, and tram. Since market entrance is difficult due to the sector’s capital and labour intensive nature, passenger transport in Europe is mainly operated by state and regional monopolies in single Member States. Furthermore, there are strong monopolistic incumbents that effectively hinder market entrance for smaller competitors (for example, the strong market participant Deutsche Bahn in Germany).

Due to extensive liberalisation efforts made in the last decades by some Member States, the international market since 2010 and the EU proposal concerning domestic markets, it cannot anymore be expected that each EU Member State’s rail network is operated by one operator. What can, however, be expected is that the number of operators varies considerably from country to country. Desk research brought upon a total number of 289 155 rail transport operators based in EU27 Member States. This is only an indicative number that has to be viewed as a maximum amount since it was not clear for all railway companies whether or not they still operate on a day to day basis.

In the metro sector, operations are mainly performed by public companies. As a matter of fact these tend to be local, mostly city-owned or state owned companies. However, there are both private operating companies as well as companies in shared ownership in the market. There are 44 cities with a metro system in the EU27. The operators being active in these cities are the key market players in Europe. As examples, the operators in London, Paris and Berlin are public companies, while those in Madrid and Barcelona are private.

As in the metro sector, tram or light rail sector operators are also mainly public companies. These tend to be local, mostly city-owned or state owned companies as well. 203 cities operate tram and/ or light rail networks in Europe (197 cities with tram networks, 38 of them with additional light rail networks, six cities that only have light rail). 16 of them are Spanish with 13 having tram networks, one having tram and light rail and three only having a light rail network. As in the metro sector, the key market players in this sector are those who operate the largest networks in the EU27. However, these are not necessarily located in the biggest cities (Sofia in Bulgaria for example has one of the biggest networks).

To sum up, whereas the EU landscape of operators is relatively fragmented for metro and tram or light rail with many local service providers (public and private), the railway operations market is dominated by a few large players (usually evolved from formerly federal public railway operators).

It can be assumed that a total of 203 businesses are active in the tram/light rail sector. Hence, the overall number of websites/businesses relevant for the EU27 rail transport service sector is expected to be around (289 + 203 + 44 =) 536.

Calculations show that non-Spanish web professionals face accessibility compliance costs of 272 EUR to 2,624 EUR when providing web development services to Spanish railway transport service providers that operate in Spain.

Service providers do not face these costs directly due to the fact that Spain has websites accessibility legislation in place. Costs are, however, incurred by web professionals that are not able to provide their services and products on the Spanish market without facing costs for efforts made to understand the Spanish legislative requirements and adapt their products accordingly. As can be seen above, the costs are negligible in the current situation.

For the level of accessibility of SSTs, including ticketing machines, please consult the overview included under the air transport sub-section.

The German operator Deutsche Bahn provides figures on its total numbers of ticketing machines which is 7,349, i.e. 7,349 / 5,685 = 1.3 ticketing machines per railway station. 156 Assuming an estimated number of 27 000 railway stations in the EU27 157 , a total number of 1.3 * 27 000 = 35 100 ticketing machines is operated at EU27 railway stations.

The total one-off development and investment costs for ticketing machine manufacturers are calculated. The calculated costs refer to both hard- and software since no distinction could be made due to a lack of data. Ongoing costs were not estimated since the marginal costs of providing ticketing machines with accessibility features are close to zero.

Calculations show that ticketing machine manufacturers, at some point in the past, faced a total cost impact of at least 3,156 EUR and 86,023 EUR at most to develop accessibility features for ticketing machines due to regulatory fragmentation within the EU if six EU Member States had accessibility requirements in place. The cost impact increases to at least 4,223 EUR and 115,118 EUR if 18 Member States required accessibility features in ticketing machines.

Although railway service operators generally provide online booking functionalities for tickets, they are still mostly purchased at SSTs or in-store (at least for long-distance travel). Desk-research evidence suggests, however, that 33% to 44% of the total number of railway tickets sold by Deutsche Bahn is purchased online. 158 Furthermore, it is expected that, as for example in the case of ticket purchases at SSTs in the transport sector, tickets purchased online are less expensive than tickets purchased in-store. Indeed, evidence from Deutsche Bahn suggests that consumers who purchase railway tickets (both short and long distance travel) at the ticket office face additional costs of 2 EUR to 5 EUR compared to tickets bought at ticketing machines and online.

Future costs saving potentials for persons with disabilities with regard to accessible websites and SSTs in the railway transport sector are expected to be in the range of the whole cost saving potential of online booking services and accessible SSTs, i.e. within 91.3 EURm – 11.6 EURb).

Bus transport services

Bus transport is examined with regard to the accessibility of online information concerning bus transport services, the accessibility of self-service terminals (SSTs), as well as the accessibility of the built environment related to the provision of bus transport services.

Continuing to follow the approach of the Commission’s Impact Assessment report for the Web Accessibility Directive 159 which states that a good proxy for the number of websites in the EU27 is the number of businesses.

According to the German Federal Association of Bus transport Businesses (Bundesverband Deutscher Omnibusunternehmen), the total number of bus transport service businesses in Europe was 65,000 in 2012. More specific numbers state that 4,747 businesses were active in the German market of which 452 are local / municipal companies (i.e. 9.5%), 4,121 businesses were active in the field of occasional excursion trips (i.e. 86.8%), 2,541 were active in short-distance public transport (i.e. 53.5%), and 82 were active in long-distance public transport (i.e. 1.7%). 160

Applying these percentages to the total EU27 market, the following numbers can be calculated:

Total numbers on bus transport operating companies in Europe

Description

Share of total number of German bus operators

Total number of bus operators (extrapolation to EU27)

Local / municipal bus operators

9.5%

6,175

Bus operators of occasional excursion trips

86.8%

56,420

Short-distance public bus transport operators

53.5%

34,775

Long-distance public bus transport operators

1.7%

1,105

Based on desk research, the following large operators have been identified, including the countries in which they are operating.

Large Bus & Coach Operators in Europe

Operator

Country Coverage

Nobina 161

Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway

Arriva 162

Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

Firstgroup 163

UK

Stagecoach Group 164

UK

Deutsche Bahn 165

Germany

Keolis 166

France

Eurolines

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

Large minibus operators in Europe 167

Operator

Country

Region

Vlaamse Vervormaatschappij VVM De Lijn

Belgium

Western Europe

Regie Autonome Des Transports Parisiens

France

Western Europe

Societe Regionale Wallonie Du Transport

Belgium

Western Europe

Transports Metropolitans De Barcelona

Spain

Western Europe

It can be noted that for small buses the operators that have been identified are active only nationally. Indeed, the current accessible minibus market can be seen as national, retro-fitting oriented, fragmented and predominantly small scale.

Further information on the level of accessibility and the legal fragmentation regarding the several elements that compose the bus passenger transport services, can be consulted in the respective sections of these annex ('private sector websites', 'SSTs', including also 'air transport' for some particular information of SSTs in the transport sector and 'architect services').

Maritime and Inland Waterway transport services

Maritime transport is examined with regard to the accessibility of online information concerning maritime transport services, the accessibility of self-service terminals (SSTs), as well as the accessibility of the built environment related to the provision of maritime transport services.

According to the German Federal Association of Inland Waterway (Bundesverband der Deutschen Binnenschifffahrt), the total number of inland waterway service businesses that are involved in passenger transport in Germany was 311 in 2010 with an annual turnover of 246.9 EURm. 168 Furthermore, desk research evidence indicates that 56 of 74 cities in Germany with more than 100,000 inhabitants have a port (i.e. 75.7%). Assuming that inland waterway businesses are distributed equally across harbours 169 , it is estimated that 311 / 56 = 5.6 companies for inland waterway transport operate in each harbour in Germany. Furthermore, desk research evidence indicates that across the EU27 446 cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants. This may lead to the conclusion that 5.6 * 446 = 2,498 passenger transport companies operate within the EU27 inland waterway transport market. Hence, it is assumed that the number of websites in the EU27 for inland waterway transport is 2,498. Please note that this is to be seen as a minimum estimate since the number of maritime transport number is not known.

Calculations suggest that architect services providers incur annual costs of between 54,080 EUR and 560,000 EURm when providing cross-border architect services in the maritime transport sector. It is assumed that these costs cannot be forwarded to architect service customers (i.e. cities, municipalities, and / or local authorities) since they are expected to be incurred as part of the general preparation for projects and / or market entrance.

The costs related to the provision of accessible architect services across borders can be compared with the industry turnover. In 2006 170 the turnover of architect services in Europe was 37.74 EURb. The costs associated with efforts made in order to understand accessibility legislation in place and to adapt the services accordingly is estimated to be between approx. 0.0001% and 0.002%. 171

As concerns the implications of this regulatory fragmentation for architects that provide their services across borders, it should be noted that accessibility aspects only constitute part of the built environment legislation. Even in a scenario where common harmonised accessibility requirements are adopted at EU level, architects would continue to incur costs for understanding and implementing the varying built environment legislation when supplying their services in different Member States.

All EU Member States require built environment elements to be designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities, including facilities for maritime and inland waterway transport. The CEN/CENELEC/AENOR Mandate 420 report – provides a view of the detailed coverage of various accessibility issues in the built environment by legislation and other statutory documents in different European countries and regions.

While a large number of accessibility issues are covered in all EU Member States, the detailed level of coverage varies strongly across countries. While some Member States have implemented specific accessibility requirements for port facilities (these countries include, according to the Mandate 420 report, BE, CY and GR) 172 , other Member States cover the accessibility of maritime and inland waterway transport facilities with general requirements for buildings open to the public and for the external built environment (e.g. general rules for ramps, signage, manoeuvring spaces, etc.).

Based on the above findings, it can be concluded that the legislative landscape at national level is fragmented, with a patchwork of strong or weak requirements in place, depending on the specific elements of the built environment and the jurisdiction. National or regional technical accessibility requirements for the built environment for maritime and inland waterway transport services (i.e. buildings open to the public and the external built environment) exist in all 27 EU Member States.

Further information on the level of accessibility and the legal fragmentation regarding the several elements that compose the maritime and inland waterway transport services, can be consulted in the respective sections of these annex ('private sector websites', 'SSTs', including also 'air transport' for some particular information of SSTs in the transport sector and 'architect services').

11.Hospitality services

The two key elements of accessibility hospitality services are hospitality related built-environment and websites. These are 2 independent components that relates to 2 different professional markets but are equally relevant for the accessibility of the service. These two elements will be analysed separately. The level of accessibility, market size and its potential growth of private sector websites have already been analysed in its respective section. The built environment will be analysed further down in this document from the perspective of architect services. Therefore, in this section only particular information related to the hospitality sector will be added.

Challenges currently encountered by disabled consumers relate e.g. to the insufficient availability of (comparable and reliable) information concerning the accessibility of hospitality services, as well as problems in relation to the actual accessibility of the built environment and websites where hospitality services can be booked. 173  

Disabled consumers assert that they are confronted with inaccessibility and very different solutions in accessibility, in relation to the different providers and across the various EU Member States. 174 Any disabled traveller, either from an EU Member State or from overseas, who wishes to make use of hospitality services in an (other) EU country – be it for business or for pleasure – faces a major challenge due to the lack of similar or coordinated accessibility requirements across Europe. The choice of suitable hospitality services is limited firstly by the difficulty of obtaining reliable information about accessibility, prior to travel, and subsequently by the highly variable quality of the venues and services, in terms of their accessibility. 175 Disabled persons affirm their right to have at their disposal accessible hospitality and transport services all across Europe, according to comparable procedures in every European country. 176

The market for accessible hospitality services is short in supply, i.e. many disabled persons and elderly in Europe who want to use accessible hospitality services (and have sufficient means to do so) face insufficient and inadequate market offerings and thus do not consume as much of these services as they would wish. While this is partly caused by regulatory failures and fragmentation as discussed above, market failures remain a core problem.

Accessibility for consumers of hospitality services refers to a series of issues which can be structured in eight main themes as depicted below:

Accessibility aspects in hospitality services 177

Theme

Benefit for disabled

Impact on the business

1. Standardised terminology

Clarify terms

Allow common comprehension

Facilitate accommodation, contractual relation, etc.

Allow comparison of services

Allow statistics on common bases

Clarify contractual relation

2. Information provision

Provide complete information provision on accessible services

In adequate formats (Braille, large print, easy-to-read, etc.)

Allow comparison of services

Inform the disabled on the services provided

Clarify competition

3. Accessibility criteria

(incl. built environment and web sites)

Feel confident to travel and to enjoy it

Facilitate the choice

Allow comparison of services

Clarify competition

Recognition of providers

Encourages provider’s responsibility on accessibility

4. Signs, symbols and labels

Help identify the availability of accessible services in an easy and simple manner regardless of the country.

Facilitate reliability of information on accessible services

Provide information on achievement of minimum accessibility criteria

Increase security of services and clients