European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies to make public sector websites and mobile applications more accessible across the EU, was approved on October 26, 2016, and was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on December 2, 2016. The Directive entered into force on the 20th day following its publication (December 22, 2016). The Member States will see the following deadlines:
- By September 22, 2018, Member States must enact laws, regulations, and administrative provisions that implement the requirements. By this date, Member States must also inform the European Commission (“the Commission”) which agency or agencies will handle monitoring, reporting, and enforcement. (This is known as the transposition deadline and occurs 21 months after the directive enters into force.)
- By September 22, 2019, websites of public sector bodies published after September 22, 2018 must be accessible.
- By September 22, 2020, all websites of public sector bodies must be accessible.
- By June 22, 2021, all mobile applications of public sector bodies must be accessible.
- By December 22, 2021, Member States must file the first monitoring report with the Commission.
- By December 22, 2024, Member States must file the second monitoring report with the Commission. Reports must be made every three years afterwards.
Member States should be aware that most content published after a certain date must be made accessible, depending on the format. The following content, initially exempt from the Directive, must be made accessible:
- Documents in Microsoft Office formats published after September 22, 2018.
- Websites available to closed groups of participants published after September 22, 2019.
- Archived content, only if updated or edited after September 22, 2019.
- Pre-recorded time-based media published after September 22, 2020.
In addition, the Directive directs the Commission to review the status of the implementation by June 22, 2022, five and half years after the requirements enter into force. This review will take into account the Member States’ reports on the outcome of the monitoring set out in Article 7 and the use of the enforcement procedure set out in Article 7a. It will also include a review of technological advances that could make accessibility easier for some types of content excluded from the scope of the Directive. The findings of that review will be made public in an accessible form.
By December 22, 2018, the Commission must establish technical standards, a monitoring methodology, reporting requirements for Member States, and a model accessibility statement.
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