Books - Marrakesh Treaty
In the EU Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2027 the European Commission announced that it will “assess the availability of printed works for persons with disabilities taking account of the existing EU law” (i.e. the Marrakesh Treaty Directive). We are liaising with DG CNECT to enquire about the timing and scope of this assessment, to allow EBU to prepare a contribution.
In the meantime, we continue to gather feedback from our members in the EU about national implementing legislation and how the cross-border exchange of works is proceeding.
In wider Europe, we have mobilised our members in Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia to push for ratification in 2022 and offered EBU help to achieve this objective.
We responded to the ANEC request for comments on draft EC standardisation request on lifts. In particular we welcome 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).
We sent to our members in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey a 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 and self-service terminals
We sent to our members in the EU a call for nominations to an EBU working group, to prepare recommendations to the EU for the implementation of the Accessibility Act as far as payment terminal are concerned, and possibly also self-service terminals.
The European Parliament adopted its final position on the Digital Services Act, which includes requirements for accessibility of online platforms for persons with disabilities. See detailed article with EDF’s analysis of the Parliament’s position of the DSA.
The vote on amendments at the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee on the reform of the EU electoral law, due to take place in January, postponed sine die due to shadows not yet agreeing on some important compromises.
We were invited by EDF to comment, and did, on their draft “Human Rights Report on political participation: right to vote and stand as candidate”.
Social security and welfare
Our letters of December to Croatian authorities in support to our Croatian member organisation about means-testing for disability benefits and incompatibility with work in the draft new national Social Welfare Act, have received positive response: a letter of support from the Disability Ombudsman; an expression of interest from the President of the Republic; and more importantly, the information from the Prime Minister that the contested features of the Act were withdrawn and the amount of the disability benefits even increased. This was confirmed by our Croatian member.
We brough these issues—which are relevant in other EU countries too—at the Strategic Dialogue online meeting of 28 January on a "Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income schemes in the EU".
On 20 January we participated in International Transport Forum’s Annual Consultation Day with International Organisations, to obtain a slot at ITF 2022 to present the PASCAL output on connected and automated vehicles. Encouraged by the initial reaction, we followed up with a more elaborated proposal to the ITF 2022 Secretariat.
Representation – European Disability Platform
After the first meeting of the Platform in December, EDF is to coordinate input from EU-level civil society organisations. It invited to suggest 6 priority topics for the three plenary meetings in 2022. We suggested the following:
- The role of public funding to promote the accessibility of culture
- Inclusion in employment
- Unblocking the horizontal Equal Treatment Directive
- Good electoral practice
- The EU Disability Card
- Disability benefits and means-testing
Review of the EU by the UN CRPD committee
All our comments and suggestions are now well reflected in the EDF alternative report.
We participated in an EDF coordination meeting on 18 January. As a result, we decided to express our interest to participate in the private meeting with the CRPD (date still to be determined, probably in the third week of March) and to address the following issues:
- Re. Articles 9 (accessibility) and 24 (education) of the CRPD – The Marrakesh Treaty Directive allows Member States to opt for giving a so-called “compensation” for rights-holders and publishers.
- Re. Art. 30 (culture) – The EU provides considerable funding to culture, namely through the Creative Europe programme, but the European Commission and the executive agency for the programme have failed so far to proactively use that leverage to promote access to culture for PWDs (looking specially at MEDIA funding to the film industry and the need for audio description and audio subtitling).
- Re. Articles 9 (accessibility) and 29 (participation in public and political life) – The Commission is increasingly using online consultations which are not adapted to VI people and there are accessibility defaults, even in surveys explicitly targeting persons with disabilities and their organisations.
In the meantime, we already had the opportunity to raise these issues in an informal meeting with the CRPD Rapporteur, on 26 January.