The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is the first legally binding international human rights instrument to which both the European Union as a whole and EU Member States are Parties.


The UNCRPD requests States Parties to promote universal design in the development of standards and to develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards for accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public.


The European Commission mandates the European standards organizations, which include CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, to develop and implement accessibility standards.

Current mandates:

  • M/376: European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain;
  • M/420: European accessibility requirements for public procurement in the built environment;
  • M/473: To apply Design for All in relevant standardization initiatives;

In 2019, the European Accessibility Act (EAA) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. EU Member States shall now publish the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive, by 28 June 2022. The EAA aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services, by removing barriers created by divergent legislation. The EAA will cover the following products and services:

  • Computers and operating systems;
  • ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines;
  • Telephones and smartphones;
  • TV equipment related to digital television services;
  • Audiovisual media services, such as television broadcast and related consumer equipment;
  • Services related to air, bus, rail and waterborne passenger transport
  • Banking services;
  • E-books;
  • E-commerce.

The European standardization organisations expect to receive a new standardization request (formerly known as 'mandate') to develop harmonized European standards, in support of the EAA, in early 2022.

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