Welcome to e-include, the e-journal of Inclusion Europe.
The Benefits of an Accessible Europe
The European Commission is preparing a law to make sure that
Inclusion Europe gave ideas to make everything
These ideas are:
Inclusion Europe also wants rules that are the same for all of Europe.
Inclusion Europe participated in a public consultation launched by the European Commission. The consultation’s goal was to help the Commission prepare its proposal for the European Accessibility Act. The consultation closed on 29 February 2012.
The European Accessibility act is an initiative whose aim is to ensure that people with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transport and to information and communication services. It is a business friendly initiative. It is purposed to improve the proper functioning of the internal market for accessible goods and services.
Inclusion Europe Contribution to the Public Consultation
Approximately 8 million persons with intellectual disabilities live in the European Union. Among people with disabilities, they are probably the most discriminated and most isolated group.
In its contribution, Inclusion Europe emphasised two aspects:
- The importance of producing goods and services to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.
- The importance of having binding legislation at European level.
Production of goods and services
Inclusion Europe pointed out that producing goods and services that meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities would open up significant market opportunities and generate higher profits for companies.
Inclusion Europe proposed four components to stimulate intellectual accessibility:
- Availability of information in easy-to-understand formats
- Availability of goods that are designed to be simple to use
- Clear orientation aids that help people to find their way
- Availability of human support in using goods and services
These will not only benefit people with intellectual disabilities, who would be enabled to live included in mainstream society and be less dependent on carers, but all customers. For example, easy to read manuals for users could be beneficial for other social groups such as immigrants or the elderly.
As an added value, these measures will also benefit businesses. Those will gain greater competitiveness and user-friendliness of their products and services, leading to a greater market share. Moreover, all of society would benefit from these measures. Not only are they relatively low cost but they would also mean less expenditure in social care in the long term.
Legislation and standardisation at EU level
However none of these can be achieved without binding legislation at EU level. It is necessary to give business operators clear and consistent rules to adhere to and allow them to operate across borders. Therefore, framework rules should be established at the European level and underpinned by European standards. Only in the absence of European requirements should national/regional/local legislation and standards apply. Accessibility should be included in every level of EU legislation in order to ensure equal opportunities for EU citizens and equal competition within the internal market.
Inclusion Europe said that the European Accessibility Act must establish some basic accessibility requirements for goods and services. European standards, also relating to “intellectual accessibility”, need to be developed to enable evaluation and monitoring of the measures.