Accessibility isn’t just a requirement for public-sector organizations in the European Union (EU). The European Accessibility Act (EAA) mandates that a range of products and services, including many types of digital technology, are accessible to people with disabilities. The law, which applies to nations within the EU, aims to resolve discrepancies in accessibility requirements between different European countries. Originally encoded into law in 2019, the EAA was adopted by individual EU nations starting in 2022. Providers of products and services covered by the EAA have until June 2025 to become compliant. A complaint process will be established, and organizations that fail to meet these requirements may face penalties, including fines.
The EAA covers commonly used hardware and software products, as well as various services related to communication, commerce, finance, education, and transportation. These include:
Does the EAA apply to your organization? We can help you achieve compliance.
While the EAA focuses on functionally meeting the needs of people with disabilities and does not provide specific technical standards for accessibility, other EU accessibility standards —such as EN 301 549— define requirements and include the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Because WCAG 2.1 is an established framework for assessing digital accessibility in the EU, conforming to these criteria at an “AA,” or intermediate, level is the best way for organizations to start ensuring they comply with the EAA.
To learn more about WCAG 2.1, and to understand how well your digital products meet its criteria, request our WCAG Checklist.
As the leading digital accessibility solution, Level Access equips organizations with the tools and support they need to become, and stay, compliant with directives like the EAA. Through a combination of advanced software and expert-managed services, our end-to-end solution will help your organization conform to WCAG 2.1 AA, meeting requirements of the EAA, reducing the risk of legal penalties, and opening your digital experiences to all users.
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Our risk assessment will help you understand your digital accessibility health score and your current level of EAA compliance.
What is the difference between the EAA and Directive (EU) 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies?
The EU Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies requires that all public-sector organizations in Europe make their digital technology accessible to people with disabilities. Organizations that sell into the public sector also need to conform to accessibility standards. The accessibility requirements for the EU Directive are listed in Annex A of EN 301 549 v3.2.1 (2021-03). In comparison, the EAA is broader in scope, in that it applies to both public and private-sector organizations. Additionally, the EAA covers products and services that are not strictly digital, such as computing hardware, e-books, media equipment, and passenger transport.
Which countries does the EAA apply to?
The EAA applies to all member states within the European Union. Additionally, international organizations must also adhere to the EAA’s accessibility guidelines when conducting business within the EU market.
Are any organizations exempt from the EAA?
Yes. The EAA does not apply to organizations with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than two million euros. Additionally, products and services may be considered exempt if compliance would create an “undue burden,” meaning it would significantly change the nature of their products or services.
Will an overlay provider help with compliance with the EAA?
The European Disability Forum (EDF) and International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) issued a warning that this technology does not guarantee compliance with European accessibility legislation. Read the full statement here.