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European Accessibility Act: Countdown to 2025

by Jaime Iniesta

2025 is set to become the Year of European Accessibility, as June 28th marks the deadline for all private companies to comply with Directive EU 2019/882 - also known as the European Accessibility Act.

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Photo by Alexandre Lallemand

This European directive applies to all private companies that sell to EU customers, no matter where the company is based. If you have customers in Europe, you need to comply with the EAA.

What is the European Accessibility Act?

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a new European directive designed to standardize accessibility among all European countries. Adopted by the European Parliament in April 2019, the directive will come into force on June 28th, 2025.

The EAA will improve the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly by removing accessibility barriers and ensuring equal access to products and services, including ATMs, self-service kiosks, online banking, and websites.

Failing to comply with this directive will result in penalties, including fines and legal proceedings. These penalties will damage the company’s reputation and result in a loss of customers who choose a more accessible competitor.

Which private companies are subject to the EAA?

The European Accessibility Act is clear: all private companies that offer products or services to customers in Europe must ensure that their offered products and services are fully accessible.

This applies to companies based anywhere in the world. If you have customers in Europe, you must comply with the EAA. It doesn’t matter if your company is based in the USA or the UK. If it has customers in Europe, it must obey the EAA directive.

The exception is micro-enterprises. A micro-enterprise is an enterprise that employs fewer than 10 people and has an annual turnover or annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 2 million.

What is the deadline to comply with the EAA?

June 28th, 2025 marks the deadline for all private companies to comply with the European Accessibility Act.

The European Accessibility Act took effect in April 2019, and EU member states were required to transpose the directive into national laws by June 2022.

What accessibility standards must be implemented?

The European Accessibility Act, or Directive EU 2019/882, mentions that

The accessibility requirements of this Directive should be aligned to the requirements of Directive (EU) 2016/2102.

That is a direct reference to the Web Accessibility Directive, or Directive EU 2016/2102 which states that:

The four principles of accessibility are: perceivability, (…) operability, (…) understandability, (…) and robustness, (..). Those principles of accessibility are translated into testable success criteria, such as those forming the basis of the European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2.

Finally, EN 301 459 V1.1.2 references the WCAG 2.0 standard, and in version 2.1.2 it directly referenced WCAG 2.1 AA.

To stay ahead of the curve, we however suggest that you implement the latest version of WCAG available, which is currently WCAG 2.2.

Learn more about the European Accessibility Act

Don’t miss the EAA deadline. Start now. We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to the main points of this European accessibility directive.

European Accessibility Act Guide

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