Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 64: Ensure the accessibility of public sector websites


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 3 December 2012 the European Commission adopted 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.


ENGAGE platform

This W3C Workshop will explore approaches for using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and its supporting resources in different policy settings and contexts. The Workshop is open to policy-makers, users, developers, accessibility experts, researchers, and others interested in adopting, referencing, and applying WCAG 2.0. Registration is possible until 10 May.
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Brussels, Belgium
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Transport and Telecommunications Council – 20 December 2012

The aim of this conference is to obtain a consensus on priorities for future research on accessible information and communication technology systems and services. Funding bodies need to ascertain the best strategy for investing their finite resources in research and development to benefit disabled and elderly people. The scope will include network-based services (social networks, collective intelligent systems, augmented reality, cloud computing, advanced location aware services and ambient intelligent systems) as well as novel user interfaces and technology transfer. Speakers include Mike Short, Brian Collins, Gregg Vanderheiden, Graham Worsley, Patrick Roe, Alan Newell, Deborah Pullen, Gunela Astbrink and Guido Gybels. The conference is being organised by the Cardiac project, a project co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network. The venue is wheelchair accessible and a hearing aid loop will be provided.
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The W3C WAI Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) organises this online symposium on Easy-to-Read on the Web. It aims to bring together researchers, practitioners, content authors, designers, and developers, and users with disabilities to explore the needs of people with cognitive disabilities or low language skills. It is intended to encourage the development of better guidance, support, and tools for developers, designers, and users, and to inform researchers, standards developers, and policy makers on how to better address easy-to-read on the Web. A call for papers has been launched (deadline: 12 October)
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European Prizes for Innovation in Public Administration - now open


Progress Report