Many European nations are beginning to develop specific policies related to people with disabilities and web access. Those nations seeking member status in the European Union are also coming under some pressure to have policies like this in place in order to be admitted.
Individual Nations and Their Policies
There are many important, disability-related documents available for countries scattered throughout Europe. For the most part, however, they are posted in the language of the country they represent.
Web ohne Barrieren nach paragraph 11 (German)
Federal Ordinance on Barrier-Free Information Technology (English translation)
über die Beseitigung von Benachteiligungen
von Menschen mit Behinderungen (German, French and Italian)
Verordnung vom 19. November 2003 über die Beseitigung von Benachteiligungen von Menschen mit Behinderungen (German, French and Italian)
European Union and Accessibility
EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights makes reference to people who are disabled.
View the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in PDF format
- Article 21 prohibits discrimination based on grounds of disability, among others.
- Article 26 provides explicit recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities and the need to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.
European Economic and Social Committee (ESC)
The European Economic and Social Committee (ESC) is a forum where the various socioeconomic organizations in the Member States of the European Union are represented. The following document shows how this committee is becoming involved in the web accessibility movement. Economic and Social Committee on the Integration of disabled people in society (July 17, 2002).
The eEurope 2005 Action Plan was launched at the Seville European Council in June 2002 and endorsed by the Council of Ministers in the eEurope Resolution of January 2003. It aims to develop modern public services and a dynamic environment for e-business through widespread availability of broadband access at competitive prices and a secure information infrastructure. This plan is available at eEurope 2005 Action Plan
eEurope 2005: An Information Society for All (main page) eEurope 2005: An Information Society for All This page provides the latest information relating to eEurope 2005
e-EUROPE - Connecting Europe at high speed: reviewing the eEurope 2005 action plan is a mid-term progress report on the eEurope 2005 Action Plan published by the European Commission at Midterm Review
This Report analyzes progress in seven areas, including e-inclusion on which the report recommends implementing EU e-accessibility standards, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines and common labeling rules for accessible web pages.
Towards 2010: European Information Society strategy up to 2010 information can be found at: i2010 Information Space, Innovation & Investment in R & D, Inclusion
The eEurope Action Plan 2002, adopted by the Feira European Council in June 2000, is a wide-ranging initiative designed to speed up and extend the use of the Internet to all sectors of European society.
The action plan seeks to bring European citizens on-line in all aspects of their lives, allowing them to participate in and benefit from the possibilities offered by digital technologies. These actions comply with the principle of non-discrimination set up in the Treaty on the European Union.
eEurope 2002: An Information Society for All (main page)
eEurope 2002: Accessibility of Public Web Sites and their Content
The EuroAccessibility Consortium was launched in Paris on April 28, 2003 to "foster European co-operation toward an harmonized methodology for evaluating the accessibility of web sites." This initiative was undertaken jointly by 23 organizations and the W3C/WAI.
The press release, EuroAccessibility: Twenty-three European Organisations Launch Effort for a More Accessible Web, outlines the goals for this consortium and lists the 23 organizations involved.