Books - Marrakesh Treaty
Montenegro ratified the Treaty.
We relayed the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) invitation of expressions of interest from organisations for training and technical assistance on how to produce books in accessible formats for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.
Accessible e-books – Implementation of Accessibility Act
We used the opportunity of the latest EDF EAA peer-support meeting to warn participants against the blanket exemption sought by publishers for legacy e-books (i.e. published before June 2025), with the support namely of Denmark; and of the Daisy Consortium's open forum on accessible publishing, to react to an erroneous reading of the EAA by representatives of the industry in Finland and Sweden, when they suggest that legacy e-books are in fact excluded. We informed EMPL-C.3 of this latest development
We drafted a memo for our member organisations outside the EU on how to promote web accessibility legislation, based on the EU example of the Web Accessibility Directive. The memo was sent to Montenegro and Serbia, in response to their expressed interest.
Based on past comments from our members, we contributed input to the European Disability Forum for their feedback to the European Commission on the accessibility of their online consultations.
Accessible payment – implementation of Accessible Act
We now have an established list of participants to the taskforce that will produce recommendations for accessibility of payment terminals. These are experts from 12 EU countries, and among these the following three will take leadership in the group: Estonia, Germany and the Netherlands.
Within the new EU Disability Platform, we expressed interest to participate in the subgroup to be created on defining what to make of the AccessibleEU resource centre. And on her request, we provided comments to MEP Langensiepen's draft report for a European Parliament own-initiative resolution in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee, on what the AccessibleEU should be (mandate, resources, organisation etc.).
We also had a joint meeting with the European Disability Forum and ANEC—the consumer voice in EU standardisation--about responding to the European Commission’s public consultation on a revision of the EU Standardisation Regulation.
Equality bodies in the EU
We contributed comments to the European Disability Forum for their response to the European Commission’s public consultation on strengthening the role of equality bodies in the EU Member States, in view of a possible legislative proposal.
EU package to improve labour market outcomes of persons with disabilities
Within the new EU Disability Platform, we expressed interest to participate in the sub-group to be created on this package.
Ahead of the vote of the Constitutional Affairs committee of the European Parliament (AFCO) on the reform of the EU electoral code, we sent our voting recommendations (amendments we support on the matter of accessibility of elections) to a large selection of key AFCO members and group political advisers, as well as to the AFCO secretariat. The compromise amendments agreed between political groups are all very positive for us.
The vote is scheduled place on 28-29 March and we will comment on its results in the next edition of this Newsletter.
Social security and welfare
Within the new EU Disability Platform, we expressed interest to participate in the sub-group to be created on the future initiative for an EU-wide Disability Card.
We attended the European Commission’s Strategic Dialogue meeting of 11 March on the European Care Strategy. We learned about a Commission communication in the 3rd quarter of 2022, in which the Commission will propose a Council recommendation on long term care needs and calling for the revision of the Barcelona targets. One of the three building blocks, along with Quality and Affordability, is Accessibility (including but not only for persons with disabilities). We intervened to say that we welcome the attention to accessibility to long term health care and to early child education care for persons with disabilities, and in general the synergy with the European Disability Rights Strategy, and that we are willing to try and collect feedback from our national member organisations on gaps at national level.
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.
Review of the EU by the UN CRPD committee
After a European Disability Forum (EDF) coordination meeting, we participated in 16 March to the private meeting of the CRPD Committee with civil society organisations. In complement to EDF’s alternative report, our statement on that occasion focused on the default of the EU Marrakesh Treaty Directive as regards the possibility for Member States to opt for giving compensation to right-holders, and on the insufficient use of Creative Europe funding to the film industry to promote audio description and audio subtitling.
Subsequently, we replied in writing to the CRPD Rapporteur who asked for further details about the Marrakesh Treaty. In follow-up, we also attended a second meeting of civil society organisations only with the Rapporteur, in which we also addressed the matter of accessibility defaults of EU online public consultations.
We look forward to finding out if and how our concerns will eventually be reflected in the CRPDs list of preliminary questions to the EU.