HomeInsightsCouncil of the European Union formally approves public sector Website and Mobile Apps Accessibility Directive.

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On 18 July 2016 the Council formally approved the public sector Website and Mobile Apps Accessibility Directive, which was agreed with the European Parliament in May.

The Council says that, as the EU population ages, the number of people with a disability or age-related limitation is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020.  By making digital products and services accessible to all users, the Directive plays a crucial role in ensuring that everyone can fully participate in the digital society and economy.  This Directive will greatly simplify the accessibility and use of services by disadvantaged people.

Under the new rules, the websites and mobile apps of administrations, public hospitals, courts and other public bodies will have to meet common European accessibility standards.  The Directive sets out minimum conditions, allowing Member States to establish even stronger requirements.  They may also apply these requirements and/or additional ones to the websites and apps of other types of organisations.

People will be able to request specific information if content is inaccessible or to report compliance issues simply by clicking on a feedback link.

To make sure that the rules are put into practice, Member States will have to monitor the conformity of their public sector websites and apps.  An enforcement procedure will guarantee that requests and notifications receive a due response.

The text adopted by the Council will have to be approved by the European Parliament at its second reading in order to become law.  The Directive will enter into force twenty days after its publication in the EU Official Journal.  This is expected to take place in the autumn.

Member states will then have 21 months to adopt national provisions to comply with the Directive.  New websites (websites published after the transposition) will have to be compliant one year later, older websites two years and mobile apps 33 months later.  To read the Council’s press release, click here.

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