Harmonising Accessibility in the EU Single Market: Challenges for Making the European Accessibility Act Work

Anna Katarzyna Drabarz

Faculty of Law, University of Bialystok , Poland


In the last decade, accessibility has become a buzzword not only among actors of the civil society advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities but also among the legislators in the European Union. The EU has adopted a series of binding regulations aiming at approximating the common understanding of accessibility and Member States’ approach to operationalising the right. Being part of EU harmonised law, the European Accessibility Act has already been considered a milestone in the process. The choice of an approach / approaches will decide about a success of its transposition into Member States legal systems.


standardisation of products and services, EU disability law, CRPD, EU internal market, persons with disabilities

Broderick, Andrea. “Of rights and obligations: the birth of accessibility.” International Journal of Human Rights 2019: 14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2019.1634556.

Giannoumis, Anthony. “Transnational convergence of public procurement policy: a ‘bottom-up’ analysis of policy networks and the international harmonisation of accessibility standards for information and communication technology.” International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, no. 29(2015): 2-3, 183-206. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600869.2015.1055662.

Gomez, Fernando, Juan Jose Ganuza. “An Economic Analysis of Harmonization Regimes: Full Harmonization, Minimum Harmonization or Optional Instrument?.” European Review of Contract Law, no. 7(2)( 2011): 275.

Greco, Gian Maria. “On Accessibility as a Human Right, with an Application to Media Accessibility.” In Researching Audio Description. New Approaches, edited by Anna Matamala, and Pilar Orero, 11-33. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Lawson, Anna, Mark Priestley. “Potential, principle and pragmatism in concurrent multinational monitoring: disability rights in the European Union.” International Journal of Human Rights, no. 17(2013): 739–757.

Lohse, Eva J. “The meaning of harmonisation in the context of European Union law – a process in need of definition.” In Theory and Practice of Harmonisation, edited by Mads Andenas, Camilla Baasch Andersen, 282-313. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2011.

Lord, Janet E. Accessibility and Human Rights Fusion in the CRPD: Assessing the Scope and Content of the Accessibility Principle and Duty under the CRPD. Geneva: United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2010.

Lord, Janet E., Michael Ashley Stein. “Charting the Development of Human Rights Law through the CRPD.” In The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary, edited by Valentina Della Fina, Rachele Cera and Giuseppe Palmisano, 731-748. Cham: Springer 2017.

Mégret, Frédéric, “The disabilities Convention: towards a holistic concept of rights.” International Journal of Human Rights, no. 12(2008): 261–278.

Osiatyński, Wiktor. Human Rights and Their Limits. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Preud’homme, Laura. “Droit de l’Union européenne et handicap.” Revue de l’Union européenne, no. 579 (2014): 336.

Reich, Norbert. “From minimal to full to ‘half’ harmonisation.” In: European Consumer Protection: Theory and Practice, edited by James Devenney, and Mel Kenny, 3-5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139003452.003.

Schulze, Marianne. Understanding the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. New York: Handicap International, Professional Publications Unit, 2007.


Drabarz, A. K. (2020). Harmonising Accessibility in the EU Single Market: Challenges for Making the European Accessibility Act Work. Review of European and Comparative Law, 43(4), 83–102. https://doi.org/10.31743/recl.9465

Anna Katarzyna Drabarz  a.drabarz@uwb.edu.pl
Faculty of Law, University of Bialystok

Dr. Anna Drabarz, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, International and European Law Department, University of Bialystok; correspondence address: ul. Mickiewicza 1, 15-213 Białystok, Poland; e-mail: a.drabarz@uwb.edu.pl; https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0855-3841.



Creative Commons CC-BY