The rapid ageing of the population and growing inequalities in Europe make the issue of accessibility a major challenge. In a time where Europe needs to reinforce its common values of democracy and solidarity, this is a key moment to stress the importance of mainstreaming accessibility in European policies so as to make sure noboby is left behind.
The Global Accessibility Awareness Day offers a timely opportunity to reaffirm our call for an inclusive and accessible Europe for all.
Will Europe meet the challenge?
Over the past years, AGE has actively campaigned by the side of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the European association representing consumers in standardization (ANEC) for an ambitious Accessibility Act. The Accessibility Act was initially proposed by the European Commission at the end of 2015 with a view to set common binding EU accessibility requirements for certain key products and services.
We now keep putting pressure on the European Parliament to avoid the initial Commission’s proposal to be weakened during the adoption process by the Parliament. You can learn more by reading our Special Briefing and EDF article.
End-users, reseachers and developers are also joining forces to make Europe a more accessible place. A number of EU-funded research projects, which AGE is a partner of, develop tools and services to ensure everyone regardless of age or disability is able to contribute to our civic, professional and social communities:
- Mobile-Age (@MobileAgeEU) is developing mobile applications helping senior citizens to access public services in their community: accessibility of public transport, of the build environment and of new technologies are key for the success of such applications;
- Prosperity4All (@p4allnews) is about to deliver a new world-wide infrastructure for gathering and developing accessible technologies on the basis of users’ feedback;
- PROGRESSIVE is working towards new ways to standardize technologies along with older people to ensure these technologies foster active and healthy ageing;
- ESCAPE has set up a check-list for the tourism industry based on accessibility of hospitality (accommodation, restaurants, transports…) for a senior-friendly tourism;
- AENEAS provided guidelines for professionals and trainings to seniors for coping with accessibility needs and requirements in public transport.