While the European Accessibility Act proposed by the European Commission in December 2015 is being discussed by the European Parliament, the AEMA partners entered the final phase of the project, where the accessibility checkpoints are being finalised and many promotional activities organised.
The European Accessibility Act aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services by removing barriers created by divergent legislation. The European Commission proposal, issued in December 2015, is currently being discussed by the different committees of the European Parliament. The European Disability Forum (EDF) is following those developments and recently published an article that argues against the decision of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) to exclude the audiovisual media services from the jurisdiction of the act.
Reacting to the CULT committee’s vote held on the 13th of July, EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, stated that the European Parliament has always fought to defend the rights of persons with disabilities.
“We count on the European Parliament and its Internal Market Committee, who has the main responsibility on the Act, to be compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and to not exclude 80 million Europeans with disabilities from access to audiovisual media services and digital books,” the EDF President urged.
“The EU has the obligation to be in line with the CRPD that it has ratified. Denying persons with disabilities access to TV programmes and digital books and therefore access to information and cultural activities is clear discrimination, social exclusion and an infringement of the CRPD”.
It is in this political context that the final activities of the AEMA project are taking place. Partners are currently finalising the AEMA Accessibility Checkpoints – national online portals which aim to provide a discussion space for professionals working or interested in accessibility.
In parallel, the National Trust Network will be also created. They will assure the project’s sustainability by gathering a pool of experts on accessibility and committed adult education providers. Everyone can contact these experts to get information about the project and its results, to feedback the portal and share their challenges and concerns on the topic.
The consortium will also organise transfer workshops in each partner’s country in order to disseminate and promote the project’s outputs to relevant stakeholders. The Austrian and Bulgarian events which took place in June 2016 have been a success. The final project meeting will be held in Vienna on the 20–21 October 2016.
Text: Francesca Operti
Photos: AEMA project