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EUROPA – Web Accessibility Policy


Through various research programmes, the European Commission has been addressing the needs and requirements of people with disabilities and financing different web accessibility projects for over ten years.

One of the projects financially supported by the European Commission is the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) project, which contributes to promoting and developing guidelines and recommendations for web access for all. The WAI forms part of the  World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which receives funding from a number of sources, notably from Europe, the United States, and Japan.

In parallel, in June 2000, the eEurope Action Plan 2002 was adopted by the Feira European Council. One of its objectives is to achieve an Information Society for All European citizens on-line in all aspects of their lives. One of the specific targets of the Action Plan is to improve web access for people with disabilities and, of course, to adopt and implement the results of the Web Accessibility Initiative project.

On September 25, 2001 the Commission adopted the Communication ‘eEurope 2002: Accessibility of Public Web Sites and their ContentPdf [102 KB], which aims to make websites more accessible to older people and people with disabilities.

In June 2002, the Seville European Council launched the eEurope 2005 Action Plan. One of its main objectives is to give everyone the opportunity to participate in the global information society.

In 2003, the European Commission and disability movement organised the European Year of People with Disabilities to improve the lives of those of us with disability and to highlight disability barriers and discrimination.

On 13 September 2005, following a period of public consultation throughout 2005, the EU adopted a paper on accessible technology Pdf [202 KB].

As announced in the i2010 initiative, supported by the 2006 Riga ministerial declaration, the Commission intends to propose a full strategy on “e-inclusion” at the end of 2007, to prepare the ground for a European e inclusion initiative in 2008.

EUROPA server

With respect to the EUROPA server, the European Commission has decided to adopt level A (Priority 1) conformity for new and updated websites. For more details please consult the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0(WCAG).

Although some top level EUROPA sites already meet the terms of this (basic) level of compliance, the European Commission continues to move forward achieving conformity for a great deal of its existing subsites.

Detailed specifications for the creation of accessible web content for the EUROPA server can be found in Rule 7 of the European Commission’s "Information Providers’ Guide" (IPG).

Notice (to the attention of keyboard-employing users) regarding the language dropdown menu

Keyboard users should use the “ALT+down arrow” keystroke to open and view the list of available languages. 

This mechanism of language selection is employed instead of including an additional button next to the menu in order to improve usability. This eliminates the need for mouse-employing users to click twice to make a language selection.

Conformance logo

A ” Level A ” conformance logo appears on some (top level) EUROPA pages.
This logo indicates that these pages, as well as (some of) their subpages, were designed with accessibility in mind.
However, in spite of continuous efforts to monitor these pages, full “Level A” compliance cannot be guaranteed at all times.

Policy – update

This policy applies to all new and updated web pages on the EUROPA server. 
It will be reviewed in the future and adapted to any future versions of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

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Conformance Icon Level 'A', W3C-WAI - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0