Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Marlene Mizzi said that  the adoption of a European Accessibility Act will bring a real change in the lives of millions people and in particular of elderly people, pregnant women and people with disabilities in Europe.

“This was a real victory for the Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament. We have managed to push through our priorities and to ensure that the European Parliament adopts a strong and ambitious position.”

On Thursday, MEPs voted in Strasbourg a new directive on accessibility requirements for products and services. “This is the first ever European horizontal accessibility legislation that will make access to key products and services such as phones, ATMs and ticketing and check-in machines easier for elderly citizens and for people with disabilities,” commented Marlene Mizzi.

“There are currently 80 million people with disabilities in the EU and this number is estimated to grow and reach 120 million by 2020. It is unacceptable that in today’s world, products and services are still not accessible for consumers of all ages and abilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities find it hard and, at times, even impossible to access products and services such as computers, telephony services, and self-service terminals,” said MEP Mizzi.
“We have a huge opportunity in front of us to improve the well-being of millions of citizens so that people with disabilities or with functional limitations can live independently and be included in the society. That is why we need a strong and ambitious horizontal European legislation providing equal opportunities and access to products and services to all people,” said Marlene Mizzi before the vote.

Whilst urging MEPs to support the amendments tabled by the Socialists & Democrats group in the Parliament, Marlene Mizzi said: “The European Accessibility Act should be able to benefit people with all forms of disabilities and ages. We need legislation that can make a positive difference not only to people with disabilities, but as well as to people with functional limitations, including the elderly.”

“I am glad that we succeeded in finding enough support to secure a majority in the European Parliament on adopting an ambitious proposal aiming at improving access to a wide range of products and services, and providing equal opportunities for millions of people in Europe. We are all equal and deserve equal opportunities. I hope that Member States now will follow our lead,” MEP Mizzi commented.

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