EU proposes accessibility standards in public procurement

By EDRi · June 21, 2006

In a ministerial meeting that took place in Riga on 12 June 2006, ministers
from European countries have signed a declaration to diminish the gap in
Internet usage for groups at risk of exclusion, but also to increase
broadband coverage.

The Riga Ministerial Declaration was signed by ministers of 34 European
countries from EU Member States, accession and candidate countries, and
EFTA/EEA countries. The declaration shows the commitment of the countries to
an “Internet for all” action plan that should allow the disadvantaged
groups to access the Internet.

One of the conclusions of the meeting was the necessity to assess the need
for legislative measures in the field of e-Accessibility, and to take into
account accessibility requirements in the review of the electronic
communications regulatory framework beginning in June 2006. Another
suggestion was to make recommendations, by 2007, on accessibility standards
and common approaches, which could become mandatory in public procurement by

Data from the European Commission have shown that only about 3% of public
web sites fully comply with minimum web accessibility standards – a real
problem for the 15% of the EU population with disabilities. According to a
recent research by Disability Rights Commission (DRC), 81% of
web sites in the UK are inaccessible to disabled people.

Ministers in Riga also supported the European Commission’s intention to
prepare for the European e-inclusion initiative announced for 2008 in the
“i2010” strategy, the digital economy component of the EU’s renewed “Lisbon”
agenda for jobs and growth.

Internet for all: EU ministers commit to an inclusive and barrier-free
information society (12.06.2006)

EU may make accessibility a legal requirement (15.06.2006),39026630,39317017,00.htm