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European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies, was approved on October 26, 2016. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the technical standards that websites and apps are required to meet.

The Requirements

For the functional accessibility requirements for information and communications technology products and services, the European standardization organizations have adopted European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04). The standard can be used in public procurement or to support other policies and legislation. The accessibility requirements in the Directive conform with clauses 9, 10, and 11 of the standard.

The commission has the power to easily publish a different standard via a basic publication process. In this fashion, the “default” standard is EN 301 549, but this may be updated as needed at any point after June 22, 2017. Any standards established by the Commission must meet the accessibility standards of the Directive, and must ensure a level of accessibility at least equivalent to EN 301 549.

Although WCAG is known to be applicable to the Directive, it is not published as a reference in the proposal. However, there is a clear harmonization and normalization between EN 301 549 and WCAG, so the fact that WCAG is not mentioned is a minor point.

The lack of application for certain mobile application standards is called out in some detail. “In particular, technical specifications adopted on the basis of this Directive should further detail European standards EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) in relation to mobile applications.” The technical specifications and the standards developed in relation to the accessibility requirements set out in this Directive should moreover consider the specificities of mobile devices, conceptually and technically.

EN 301 549 is the default standard when there are no references in the harmonized standards referred to in the Directive. This applies to both websites and apps.

The standards adopted by the Commission represent the minimum standards for accessibility across the EU. Member States may impose additional measures which go beyond the standards in the Directive.

Safe Harbor

In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012, websites and apps that meet the harmonized requirements (or parts thereof) published in the Official Journal of the European Union are also presumed to conform to the Directive.

Content provided by Level Access is intended for general information and education. The materials and facts presented do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in the face of pending litigation. If you have specific legal questions, please contact a lawyer.