Around 87 million people in the European Union are affected by a disability to some degree. The principle of non-discrimination is a cornerstone of EU policy.
For the past decade the EU has been supporting and supplementing national activities for implementing accessibility, improving the availability and choice of assistive technologies and removing existing barriers. At the same time, the EU has continued to work to support the internal market by removing trade barriers so that European exporters gain fair conditions and access to other markets. The efforts to improve accessibility, but also support the internal market by removing trade barriers, resulted in the introduction of the Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services (The European Accessibility Act). The EAA Directive aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services by removing barriers created by divergent legislation. The EAA Directive came into force on 27 June 2019 and the laws, regulations, and administrative provisions introduced by the Member States to comply with the EAA Directive had to be adopted and published by 28 June 2022. On 28 June 2025, the requirements of the EAA Directive must be implemented.
Background of the EAA Study
The existing disparities between Member State laws concerning the accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities were creating barriers to the internal market, specifically the free movement of products and services, and distorted effective competition in the market. Therefore, it is necessary to harmonise the approach at the EU level to improve the functioning of the internal market and remove and prevent barriers to the free movement of accessible products and services. The EAA Directive aims to improve accessibility for businesses, persons with disabilities, and elderly people and has joined a variety of pre-existing EU legislation that concerns accessibility. It exists to complement, bring coherence, and complete certain elements that were not previously covered by such legislation.
Purpose of the Study and Spark’s role
The objective of this Study is to provide the Commission with a comprehensive, evidence-based compliance assessment, both in terms of transposition, i.e. completeness, and conformity of the national measures transposing the EAA Directive into the national legal order of the 27 Member States. Secondarily, the Study aims at supporting the Commission’s potential input in the framework of an Inter-service Consultation on transposition in the EEA countries. The Commission will use the assessment completed by Spark as background information in support of its task to ensure, in accordance with Article 17 TFEU, that the EAA Directive is fully and correctly transposed in the Member States. Over the course of the next three years, Spark will collaborate with a network of legal experts based in each of the 27 Member States in order to assess the completeness and conformity of the Directive, providing an in-depth analysis of the transposition in each Member State.