Mar­lene Mizzi sup­ports new mea­sures to make on­line pub­lic ser­vices more ac­ces­si­ble

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

MEP Mar­lene Mizzi sup­ported new mea­sures agreed by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment mak­ing it eas­ier for dis­abled and el­derly peo­ple to ac­cess pub­lic ser­vices, web­sites and apps of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tions, such as hos­pi­tals, courts and other pub­lic sec­tors bod­ies on the in­ter­net.

“Ac­cess to pub­lic web­sites on the in­ter­net and e-gov­ern­ment is ex­tremely im­por­tant and will soon be in­dis­pens­able. Pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tions are be­com­ing more dig­i­talised and soon peo­ple will need to send their tax dec­la­ra­tion, pay their bills and taxes, and ap­ply for al­lowance, dig­i­tally. That is why it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to make pub­lic web­sites and ap­pli­ca­tions ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one,” com­mented MEP Mizzi shortly af­ter the vote.

Un­der the new rules, EU coun­tries must en­sure that pub­lic sec­tor web­sites and mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions meet com­mon ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards. MEPs also en­sured that apps used on mo­bile de­vices, such as smart­phones and tablets, must com­ply with the new rules.

Mar­lene Mizzi said: “Dig­i­tal age can be chal­leng­ing for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and in par­tic­u­lar for vis­ually im­paired peo­ple. Only in Europe, there are 80 mil­lion Euro­peans who are vis­ually im­paired or live with other dis­abil­i­ties and this num­ber is ex­pected to in­crease to 120 mil­lion by 2020. This Di­rec­tive is a pos­i­tive step to­wards ad­dress­ing the so­cial di­men­sions of the dig­i­tal sin­gle mar­ket and of a truly in­clu­sive dig­i­tal so­ci­ety.

“Peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties can find it dif­fi­cult to browse on some web­sites that do not in­clude al­ter­na­tive text for im­ages or cap­tions de­scrib­ing sound in a video. In light of the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion and re-mod­el­ling pub­lic sec­tors mak­ing them de­pen­dant on the dig­i­tal ser­vices, it is im­por­tant to en­sure that of­fi­cial web­sites can of­fer ev­ery­one a vi­tal ac­cess to var­i­ous pub­lic ser­vices,” said MEP Mizzi.

“More than ever we need rules show­ing peo­ple the good and pos­i­tive ways in which a Euro­pean leg­is­la­tion can change their lives and day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties for the bet­ter”.

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