One in six people in the EU – that's around 80 million people – have a disability that ranges from mild to severe. Over one third of people aged over 75 have disabilities that restrict them to some extent. These numbers are set to rise as the EU population grows progressively older. Most of these people are all too often prevented from fully participating in society and the economy because of physical or other barriers, as well as discrimination.
"Accessibility is about breaking down barriers to people with disabilities in buildings, transport and online. Improving access also makes life easier for older people, parents with small children and many others," said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.
"Making goods and services more accessible is also about creating market opportunities and can be a stimulus for innovation and growth. That is why we are consulting business as well as people with disabilities, older people and the public at large."
A study by the UK’s Royal National Institute of the Blind showed that a £35,000 investment by a supermarket chain in making their website accessible brought in additional revenue of over £13 million a year.