S&Ds ready to fight to secure better access to products and services for people with disabilities
Next week in Strasbourg S&D Euro MPs will take the lead in the fight to secure a majority on an ambitious proposal to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities. The European Parliament will debate and vote on a set of rules to improve access to a wide range of products and services for people with disabilities, the Accessibility Act. The Socialists and Democrats have tabled amendments to improve the draft EU law and will challenge the conservatives.
Ahead of the vote, S&D Group negotiator Olga Sehnalová MEP said:
“People with disabilities in Europe have difficulties in many member states with getting access to basic services such as computers, smartphones, ATM and ticketing machines. These are common activities that we take for granted. By 2020, it is estimated that 120 million people in Europe will suffer from varying degrees of disabilities.
“The outcome of the vote in the internal market committee last April came as a big disappointment. The right-wing MEPs lobbied by the industry have watered down the Commission’s original proposal. This is indecent and unacceptable.
“We are defending a more ambitious act and we have tabled amendments to improve the text. For instance, we would like to extend these rules to benefit people with temporary functional limitations such as pregnant women or elderly people.
“We would also like to ensure that there are no general exemptions from obligations of the directive for companies of any size, so that all companies comply with the accessibility requirements.
“Next week the European Parliament has the chance to show that Europe can improve the well-being of millions of our citizens. We intend to live up to our responsibilities.”
S&D Group spokesperson for the internal market committee, Nicola Danti MEP added:
“We cannot allow the European Parliament to approve a weak position on such a delicate and crucial dossier, after nearly two years of discussions. Our Group will also continue to fight in plenary for a fairer and more inclusive Accessibility Act which should allow better access for people with disabilities and functional limitations in the EU.”
Note to editors:
On December 2015, the European Commission submitted a directive on accessibility requirements for products and services. The Accessibility Act is a horizontal EU law covering a wide range of products and services such as computers, consumer telephone equipment, self-service terminals and a range of online and offline services, including transport, banking services and e-commerce.