Of course technical discrimination of disable users, for instance visually impaired persons is undesirable, in particular for electronic communication media. The Council of Ministers regards e-accessibility as an important issue, the draft resolution links the issue to the Riga Ministerial Declaration. The current situation looks bad:
Initiatives carried forward by certain governments brought improvements in e-accessibility. In recent years authorities at all levels and many stakeholders increasingly committed in improving e-accessibility. Nevertheless, e-accessibility remains overall poor in Europe.
and the Council establishes the principle:
Everyone should have the possibility of accessing services provided by public administrations. This includes users with disabilities and elderly users as well as all those who have particular difficulties in becoming part of the digital society. The possibility of accessing services provided by public administrations should exist regardless of the software, communication channel, or technological device used.
The Council believes the 376 institutions as CEN, ETSI, CENELEC are the most appropriate fora for e-accessibility standardization. In this light it is surprising that the recommendation of the W3C as a consortial specification gets special consideration:
Adopt, and better implement measures, to promote e-accessibility, and particularly to implement the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. A common approach could be expressed through a Recommendation from the Commission in order to avoid a fragmented European market. Moreover, as WCAG 1.0 is becoming outdated a recommendation from the Commission could avoid that some Member states still apply different certification standards than recommended by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Please note that the documents are just draft conclusions of the Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society to Coreper.
The Coreper is requested to examine the draft Council conclusions in view of adoption during the TTE Council in March.