On 7 June we held a thematic online meeting of our Commission for Liaising with the EU (LC), with 18 of our member organisations represented, to collect comments on the draft EBU statement on European elections 2024. This statement was finalised in follow-up and it will be used after the summer break. It was however already shared with the Party of European Socialists, as a response to their proactive consultation of EBU on its key issues for the elections. We particularly stressed the following 3 key issues: reform of the EU electoral law (article on accessibility); an ambitious EU Disability Card; AD and AST conditionalities for and benchmarking of progress in Creative Europe funding to film industry.
When circulating the final statement to our members in the EU, we asked them to indicate whether they intend to participate in our campaign on the European elections.
We responded to the European Commission’s call for evidence for the evaluation of the Creative Europe programme, to stress the need to promote audio description and audio subtitling in funding to the film industry, and to use the opportunity of the mid-term review of the Creative Europe regulation 2021-2027, to bring some benchmarking on how MEDIA funding is used to promote inclusion. A proper public consultation is expected in the third quarter of this year.
We wrote an op-ed article for the Social Europe magazine on our Creative Europe-related campaigning.
Jointly with EDF, on 13 June, we met with the unit competent for author’s rights at the European Commission’s DG CNECT, to respond to arguments from the Federation of European Publishers that the European Accessibility Act undermines the relevance of the Marrakesh Treaty and that the motivation of publishers to produce accessible format books could be weakened by the ‘competition’ of authorised entities.
Ukraine has joined the Treaty in June 2023 and the Treaty will enter into force there in September 2023. Albania, we learned from our local member, has still not ratified the Treaty and their government argues that the new national legislation in place is with the same effect.
We were represented by our Vice-President at the Treaty’s 10th anniversary event organised by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on 27 June.
Following up on the publication by the rapporteur of the European Parliament’s CULT committee of his draft report on 'the future of the European books sector', we liaised with EDF on proposed amendments, ahead of the CULT vote in July.
On 13 June, we intervened as programmed speaker in the IAPP Accessibility event, panel on the European Accessibility Act, alongside EDF, the Federation of European Publishers and ING bank. We expressed our hopes and concerns about the implementation of the EAA and described our work in the area of e-books (including our issue that EAA does not undermine importance of MT) and payment terminals.
We finalised the EBU Guidelines on reasonable accommodation in employment for visually impaired people and we will publish them when appropriate. Meanwhile, we shared them with EDF and with the European Commission contact for the EU Disability Platform’s Disability Employment Package subgroup, as this connects to the more examples-based guidance on reasonable accommodation (for all types of disabilities) being prepared by the Commission.
We fine-tuned our statement on the need for both embossed characters and Braille marking for operating buttons of lifts, to better address the opposing arguments within the CEN working group (WG 7) that is reviewing the standard on the accessibility to lifts (EN 81-70). We were represented at the WG 7 meeting of 26 June in Madrid, to defend our position on the matter.
Our ‘Pay-Able’ task-group has now produced a first draft of EBU recommendations for accessible payment terminals. On 8 June, its leader attended the EDF-Microsoft Accessibility Summit, as an opportunity to announce this work in progress and possibly catch some more messages for our recommendations. Our Vice-President also intervened at that event.
We participated in the European Commission’s fact-finding survey for the evaluation of the EU Regulation on the rights of bus and coach passengers, to recommend best practices. For this we built on the relevant elements of our August 2019 guide “Safe and Independent Mobility for Blind and Partially Sighted Persons” and recent RNIB research into ‘inclusive journeys’.
On 29 June we attended the ANEC-BEUC webinar on standards for artificial intelligence.
We attended the EU Disability Platform plenary meeting of 26-27 June, including the Swedish Presidency event “A Union of Equality: Disability Rights and Strategies”. This was a seminar co-hosted with the European Commission and taking place back to back with the Disability platform, aiming to provide examples of how to reach equality by using strategies to realize the rights of persons with disabilities. More on this in the next newsletter.
We learned that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ dialogue with the EU and concluding observations for the review of the EU are expected to take place in March 2025. EDF will consult us for its updated alternative report and recommendations, in the second part of 2024. In the meantime, in the second part of 2023, there will be an EDF analysis of the European Commission’s response to the committee’s questions prior to reporting, for which we have already given our input.
We invited our member organisations in the EU to suggest issues at national level that they feel lend themselves to being raised in the framework of the European Semester process, as a way to explore appetite for this route for their advocacy and related EBU support.
On 20 June, we participated in the EDF-ENGO meeting, with on the agenda: Ukrainians with disabilities; EU review by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; EU legislation on artificial intelligence; and passengers’ rights.