The "Measuring progress of eAccessibility in Europe" (MeAC) study was launched as part of the follow-up to the European Commission’s Communication on eAccessibility of 2005. This Communication highlighted the need for improving access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by people with disabilities. It also announced that a follow-up on the eAccessibility situation would be made two years after the Communication, at which time the Commission may consider additional measures.
The report supported that follow-up, providing the results of an extensive benchmarking exercise and analysis on the status and progress of eAccessibility in Europe.
A follow up report was published in 2008 (see below).
Overall, the results showed that there was only limited progress towards eAccessibility detected in Europe, and further EU-level measures needed to be considered to stimulate progress in eAccessibility. Three key findings underpinned this conclusion:
- The eAccessibility ‘deficit’. People with disabilities in Europe continue to be confronted with many barriers to usage of the everyday ICT products and services that are now essential elements of social and economic life. Such eAccessibility deficits can be found across the spectrum of ICT products and services, for example telephony, TV, web and self-service terminals.
- The eAccessibility 'gap'. From a comparative perspective, the eAccessibility situation for people with disabilities across Europe as a whole, in terms of both eAccessibility status and eAccessibility policy, compares very unfavourably with that comparison countries examined in the MeAC study (AU, CA and US).
- The eAccessibility ‘patchwork’. Finally, the situation across Europe for both eAccessibility status and eAccessibility policy is very much a patchwork at present. The overall picture shows many important gaps, uneven attention across the spectrum of eAccessibility themes, and wide disparities across the Member States.
A follow up report on the eAccessibility status situation as well as detailed country profiles were elaborated one year after the main benchmarking exercise had been conducted in 2007. The evidence collated in 2008 suggests that no significant changes in the overall eAccessibility status have taken place since 2007 and that the three main findings above remain valid.