Action 64: Ensure the accessibility of public sector websites
Aim to make sure that public sector websites (and websites providing basic services to citizens) are fully accessible by 2015.
What is the problem ? Not all public sector websites are fully accessible and progress is slow
Many national authorities in Europe are committed to the accessibility of public websites and most Member States have introduced guidelines or regulation based on WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0), the actual accessibility however is still low. For instance, the latest report (2011) from the "Monitoring eAccessibility in Europe" (MeAC) study estimates that only one third of the content generated by public authorities across the EU is accessible. The study also reveals a fragmented and slow adoption of WCAG 2.0 across the EU.
Why is EU Action required ? Public administration online services should be accessible to all
The Internet is becoming a major channel for the provision of services. Posing barriers for some citizens to access them – websites that are not built with accessibility features –leads to social exclusion and a negative economic impact.
Expected effects and impacts concern an important part (15%) of the EU population that are disabled, many of the elderly, and about 60% of regular users who expect to benefit from improved web-accessibility.
What will the Commission do ?
On 3rd December 2012 the European Commission will decide on the adoption of a proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of the public sector bodies' websites .
The Commission is now engaging with governments, the industry and organisations including the European Disability Forum to make the most of existing national commitments and expenditures for web accessibility of public websites and speed up the adoption and implementation of the Directive.
The proposal foreruns and complements the European Accessibility Act that the Commission is preparing and that will address the accessibility of goods and services, including ICT.
In addition to action 64, the Commission's eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015 calls for the development of services designed around user needs and ensuring inclusiveness and accessibility.