Books - Marrakesh Treaty
News from European Commission’s DG CNECT: the assessment of the availability of printed works for persons with disabilities in light of the Marrakesh Treaty Directive will take place by October 2023. It will include an assessment of “the impact of compensation schemes (provided for by Member States pursuant to Article 3(6) of the ‘Marrakesh’ Directive) on the availability of accessible format copies for beneficiary persons and on their cross-border exchange." The Commission took note of our request to have sufficient time to prepare a meaningful contribution. Nevertheless, we will start collecting feedback from our members in the EU already in 2022, to be ready with a draft report in 2023.
Accessible e-books – Implementation of Accessibility Act
We had a meeting with the Federation of European Publishers, Fondazione LIA, the Daisy Consortium and EDF to discuss whether the Act should cover the backlist of previously published e-books. We firmly expressed the position that the EAA is clear in requiring retrofitting and that there should be no blanket exemption based on disproportionate burden; but that we are willing to assist with criteria to prioritise retrofitting (we already mentioned profitability, popularity and date).
We carried out a first analysis of the first five MEDIA calls for tenders in 2022 and issued a statement to express disappointment that the ambitions of the Disability Rights Strategy have not materialised.
In Disability Platform, in reply to our question about the use of EU funding, the Commission confirms that, contrary to the regulation applying to cohesion funds (ESF+, ERDF…), there is no obligation for Creative Europe funding to have measurable goals, data collection and monitoring mechanisms on disability.
We responded to the ANEC request for comments on draft EC standardisation request on lifts. In particular we welcomed the repeated stressing of the relationship between EN 81-20 (general safety standard on passenger and goods lifts) and EN 81-70 (accessibility to lifts standard).
Montenegro and Serbia have responded positively to our call for expression of interest to engage on promoting web accessibility rules at national level with the EU Directive as a role model.
Accessible payment – implementation of Accessible Act
So far 10 of our members have nominated experts to participate in an EBU taskforce on accessible payment terminals. Our Commission for Liaising with EU confirmed the creation of a taskforce, with a core-group of leaders. A call was sent to other would-be leaders (besides our Ducth member) to come forward.
We started to do some desk research on the relevant EU standard (EN 301 549 on the accessibility of ICT products and services) which is common to payment terminals, ATMs, ticketing services and other self-service terminals. The taskforce will need to accompany the revision of version 3.2.1 of this standard which the Commission’s standardisation request to European standardisation bodies will call for.
EU package to improve labour market outcomes of persons with disabilities
At an EDF-ENGO meeting we shared our priorities in this area and called our partners to act consistently with the European Parliament resolution 2021, to which we all extensively contributed.
At the Disability Platform meeting, we learned that the package will not take the traditional form of a Commission initiative. The work will divide in 6 key themes to improve labour market outcomes for PWDs: (1) strengthening capacities of employment and integration services; (2) promoting hiring perspectives through affirmative action and combating stereotypes; (3) ensuring reasonable accommodation at work; (4) securing health and safety at work contributing to prevent disabilities; (5) securing vocational rehabilitation schemes in case of chronic diseases or accidents; (6) exploring quality jobs in sheltered employment and pathways to the open labour market. The French Presidency disability conference of 9 March and then the Czech Presidency’s in September will be geared toward EU Council Conclusions.
Social security and welfare
EU Disability Card
At the Disability Platform meeting, the Commission indicated the key questions: Which services covered? The nature of the measures (i.e. regulated or voluntary)? Which instrument of EU law? What Member State coverage? A separate card or one single card with the Parking Card for persons with disabilities?
The Commission announced a proposal for a Recommendation on minimum income, scheduled for September 2022, with targeted stakeholders' consultation in February-March.
We had a bilateral meeting with the International Transport Forum’s Secretariat. The principle of a slot in the 2022 edition to bring the perspective of blind and partially sighted people on CAVs seems to be agreed. We are waiting to hear back from them on which specific angle interests them more and where it would be fit in the program. We were also invited to contribute to the ITF blog before the forum.
European Disability Platform
At the first plenary meeting of 2022 (18 February) we intervened to deplore that the Equal Treatment Directive is not mentioned in the Work Programme 2022. Commission reassured us that it is "still very much on their map" and that we should feel free to use the AOB slot of meetings to raise it. The Czech representative added that the Czech Presidency will continue if some progress is made under French Presidency.
Regarding statistics, the Eurostat representative confirmed that there will progressively be a disability breakdown in all existing data collections, and in particular in the EU Labour Force Survey from 2023. He said that it would be possible to have different harmonised definitions of disability depending on the type of survey, using to the Washington Group set of questions; but that disaggregation by type of disability was impossible in the current setting, other than from the health approach, and only every three years.
The Platform decided to create three thematic sub-groups (so far) for the delivery of the following ‘flagship initiatives’ of the Disability Rights Strategy: the Employment Package, the Disability Card and the resource centre Accessible EU. We have expressed interest to participate in all three of these sub-groups.
Other meetings and events
A first ad hoc online thematic meeting of our Commission for Liaising with the EU was held on 22 February, to discuss the implementation of the European Accessibility Act—with a presentation from EDF representative Alejandro Moledo and a focus on payment terminals—and the introduction of new Euro notes.
Our Head of Advocacy and Campaigning gave a presentation at the NCBI Advocacy Talks on 17 February, to present the EBU campaigning activities
Review of the EU by the UN CRPD committee
The private meeting with the CRPD is set for 16 March. We are still waiting for confirmation from the CRPD Secretariat that we will be allowed to attend even if we are not presenting an alternative report.