Navigation path


Accessibility and EU Policy RSS


Accessibility is a broad concept that addresses the removal and prevention of barriers that cause problems for persons with disabilities when using products, services and public infrastructure. Successful actions can enable those persons with disabilities to live more equally alongside those without disabilities.

The accessibility challenges facing society today are most visible in urban areas. The solutions for improving accessibility are most in evidence in those forward-thinking cities that are demonstrating commitment and innovation in changing the urban environment to allow all people to fully enjoy city life.

Identifying the best ideas and solutions and spreading information and examples to other local authorities will allow them to learn from each other, and develop plans best suited to their own municipal environment.

As accessibility is only obtained if implemented in a coherent manner in goods, services and infrastructure, the Access City Award covers four key areas of accessibility in cities, looking for a holistic and systematic approach in the following areas:

  • the built environment and public spaces;
  • transportation and related infrastructure;
  • information and communication, including Information and Communication Technologies (ICT);
  • public facilities and services.

EU Policy

Accessibility is one of the pillars of the EU's disability policy, which aims at active inclusion of people with disabilities.

Since 2003, as part of the Disability Action Plan 2003-2010 and its successor the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 Choose translations of the previous link , the European Commission has worked towards making equal opportunities for persons with disabilities a reality and ensuring that disability issues are integrated within all relevant EU policies.

Actions have been undertaken in the areas of the built environment, transport, services, information and communication - including new technologies (ICT) and the Internet.

Accessibility provisions are included in EU sectoral legislation such as, for example, transport and electronic communication services. Actions linked to accessibility are not only of a legislative nature, but are also related to research, standardisation and policy support measures.

The EU and all the 28 EU member countries have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in 2008.

In line with its obligations, the EU is embarking on a wider programme of concrete actions which have been detailed in its European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

Over the next decade this Strategy will help create a barrier-free Europe and meet the requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rightspdf (81 KB) and use opportunities provided by the Lisbon Treaty.