On 23 September we attended and communicated around the IAAP-EDF online event to celebrate the second anniversary of the Web Accessibility Directive: state of play of implementation, monitoring and testing, compliance and motivation etc. It results that the implementation of the WAD is far from easy, namely because of lack of a harmonised approach to testing, and shortcomings of the feedback mechanisms and of the accessibility statements. On the positive side, however, national monitoring bodies appear to be taking their task at heart, with an activist approach that the Member States’ initial push-back attitude would not let expect. Also, they seem willing to learn from each other and to exchange on best practices. An important message was put across, on which all stakeholders agreed: persons with disabilities and their organisations need to be involved in testing, but their expertise comes at a price and should not be taken for granted.
The leadership of the task-group on accessible payments terminals will report on progress of their work at the annual meeting of the EBU Commission for Liaising with the EU (1-2October).
On 2 September, the final joint European Commission-Disability Platform Paper on the Disability Employment Package was published. And on 20 September the Package was launched, during the Czech Presidency “Conference on Integration of People with Disabilities into the Labour Market”. It is one of the seven flagship initiatives announced in the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030. For further details on the Package, see the article in this edition from EDF.
On 21 September, we sent an action request to our members in the EU, to lobby their national governments and authorities, in support of the European Parliament’s own-initiative legislative resolution of 3 May. This resolution proposes a new EU electoral law. Among other aspects, it sets out obligations for Member States to improve the accessibility of the European elections. The proposal is currently being analysed by the EU Council, the which unanimous approval is needed for there to be an EU Regulation; and eventually, to enter into force, the proposal will need to receive the approval of all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. We count on a ‘spill-over’ effect of best practices on national, regional and local elections.
As announced earlier, our position paper on driverless vehicles was published in the context of the EU Mobility Week (16-22 September 2022) and advertised in the framework of their portal and on social media. In the paper, we address the concerns and needs of visually impaired people both as vulnerable pedestrians and as potential users. European Mobility Week is a European Commission’s DG MOVE initiative, coordinated by Eurocities, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and POLIS (network of European cities and regions working together to develop innovative technologies and policies for local transport).
On 16 September we responded to the European Commission's public consultation "Better protection for passengers and their rights", to stress the need to ensure assistance for persons with disabilities and persons when switching between transport modes; to denounce that enforcement of passenger rights is undermined by arguments based on security (not otherwise justified) that open too wide a door for exemptions to the rights of passengers with disabilities; to call for an obligation for transport carriers and terminal operators to regularly publish data on how they have complied with EU passenger rights (e.g. data on delays and cancellations of their services, assistance to persons with disabilities and reduced mobility etc.); to call the Commission to cooperate with the national authorities to ensure a more uniform application of EU passenger rights; and to support the possibility for the Commission to request national enforcement bodies to investigate specific cases of infringements of passenger rights.
On 19 September, in response to the EU statistics office (Eurostat) invitation, we contributed recommendations for the review of the EU SDG indicator set, in view of the 2023 edition of the “Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context”. In our recommendations, we focused on the following two data sets: “People at risk of poverty or social exclusion” and “Long-term unemployment rate”. We deplored that the Commission envisages no modification, stressed the relevance of these data sets for visually impaired people, and called for a disability breakdown, in line with Article 31 of the UN CRPD.
We used the same opportunity to submit our observations about the flaws of the Eurostat database as far as disability is concerned.
On 28 September we attended the launch event of the European Commission’s ‘Together for Rights’ campaign. This campaign aims to foster the implementation of the EU Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030. We will report on this in the next edition of this newsletter.