Hello, Directive (EU) 2019/882
It's true, "Directive 2019/882" is a boring, bureaucratic and technocratic name. But this directive is actually a very important piece of legislation when it comes to accessibility in the European Union since it's the official name for the legal act formerly known as "European Accessibility Act (EAA)". But the EAA not only has got a proper - admittedly boring - name, but its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union also means that we now have a proper timeline. But first a little explainer on what "Directive (EU)" acutally means. Quote Wikipedia:
A directive is a legal act of the European Union which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from regulations, which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures.
So, in contrast to a regulation (such as, for example, last year's famous General Data Protection Regulation GDPR) - which acts as a direct law for all EU member states, each EU member has to convert a directive into their respective national law. The European Union made the EAA a directive, and engaged its members to create laws to achive the results defined in it. But both regulations and directives serve the purpose of harmonizing laws across the EU - in this case accessibility related. A standardized legal accessibiliy framework for 512.6 million people is good news - especially considering this is not the first one of its kind: There is Directive 2016/2102 which regulates the web accessibility requirements for EU's public sector websites and -apps. And the EAA/Directive 2019/882 even goes one step further: defining accessibility requiremets for certain parts of the private sector.
The final text of the directive contains timelines: on the one hand how long member states are allowed to take for this "adoption":
Article 31 (1): Member States shall adopt and publish, by 28 June 2022, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive.
Directive 2019/882 requires, on the other hand, all member states to have all of its measures applied after a transition phase of three years:
Article 31 (2): They shall apply those measures from 28 June 2025.
So much for today's developments. If you want to learn more about the European Accessibility Act in general, its scope, its monitoring - and also about the criticism of the directive, please visit the following links:
- Official information EAA page of the European Commission
- Short, bite-sized intro of European Accessibility Act from closed captioning, transcription, audio transcription provider 3playmedia
- Europan Disability Forum's analysis
- ENAT's opinion: "Disappointing compromise"
- European Union of the Deaf's analysis, with emphasis on the accessibility requirements of Europe's emergency number