Wednesday, February 13, 2013

European Disability Forum Proposes European Accessibility Act

See this package, which includes a position paper and other information.  The introduction:
In the framework of the EDF Top Campaign on the theme of “Freedom of Movement”, one of our objectives has been to promote the adoption of an ambitious and legally binding European Accessibility Act. In these terms, EDF welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to issue an Act and presents the views of the disability movement on this upcoming European Accessibility Act.

The accessibility of goods and services is a key factor for the quality of life of persons with disabilities and a lot of work still remains to be done in order to achieve it. Persons with disabilities cannot fully enjoy their rights to free movement as they face major obstacles preventing them from accessing mainstream goods and services as easily as any other EU citizen. In this respect,EDF published a Freedom Guide, which contains examples of obstacles faced by persons with disabilities, as well as reactions from policy makers and the industry. Initiatives of the European Commission are necessary as it is unacceptable that freedom of movement, a fundamental principle of the EU, is undermined by a lack of accessible goods and services. Equality between men and women should also be one of the guiding principles of the Act, which implies the mainstreaming of gender in the future legislation and supporting measures. 
The Act represents an opportunity for the Commission to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), which has been signed by all Member States and ratified by a majority of EU countries and by the EU itself. The political will and ambition of the European Commission and subsequently of the European Parliament and the Council will be a test of the real commitment of the EU to the implementation of the UN CRPD. We consider that only an ambitious and legally binding Act based on the principles stated in the UN CRPD and covering as many services and goods as possible could be a first step to implement the accessibility provisions of the UN CRPD.

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