European Proposals To Fix ‘Dire’ .Gov Accessibility

The European Commission (EC) has proposed the rules that would enforce standartised, mandatory EU-wide accessibility features across .Gov public sector websites.

If the plans pass through European Parliament, 12 kinds of websites will have to become more accessible, including ones related to social security and health related services, job searches, university applications and issuing of personal documents and certificates.

Failure of .Gov websites

The EC believes a €2 billion (£1.6bn) web accessibility market would be opened up as a result of the new laws.

The Commission called the current public sector web accessibility “dire”. Just a third of Europe’s 761,000 public sector and government websites are fully accessible to people with disabilities.

“These days virtually all of us depend on internet access to go about our daily lives in one way or another, and we all have the right to equal access to government services online,” said European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes, who is leading the Digital Agenda charge in Brussels.

“This proposal would make that right a reality, and not just an idea. It would create better market conditions, more jobs, and make it cheaper for governments to make their websites accessible.”

The Commission made the announcement today, coinciding with the International Day of People with Disability.

The proposals would enforce changes to the GOV.UK site, launched by the UK government in October this year. It replaced the Directgov and Business Link sites.

Both the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government recently had their homepages moved across to the new platform.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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