ERA Academy of European Law EU Anti-Discrimination Law Seminar

""This seminar is part of a series that ERA has organised every year since 2003 devoted to the two European anti-discrimination directives adopted under Article 19 TFEU (ex Article 13 TEC). Directive 2000/43 prohibits all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin in a number of areas. Directive 2000/78 prohibits all forms of discrimination in employment and occupation based on religion or convictions, handicap, age and sexual orientation.

Certain key subjects will be dealt with, such as the concepts of direct/indirect discrimination and harassment, the sharing of the burden of proof and the question of remedies and sanctions. Furthermore, the seminar will look into each of the different grounds, with special attention to the case-law of the European Court of Justice.

Interaction among participants will be encouraged through periods of discussion and working groups requiring their active participation.

Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 May: Seminar for legal practitioners in English and French

  • Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June: Seminar for members of the judiciary in English and German
  • Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 September: Seminar for academics in English
  • Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 October: Seminar for members of the judiciary in English and Spanish
  • Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 November: Seminar for legal practitioners in English and German
  • Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 November: Seminar for members of the judiciary in English and Polish

6th European eAccessibility Forum

""e-Accessibility is gaining momentum, as demonstrated by the increase in governmental initiatives and commercial interest in the field. The domain of a few dedicated specialists until a few years ago, it is today a regular preoccupation in the ICT sector.

This achievement must not, however, be overstated. e-Accessibility is still considered a necessary, yet costly, add-on to the development of information systems. Features are optional and developed specifically for disabled users, with no consideration for return on investment. In sum, e-Accessibility is thought to be peripheral to the development of the Information Society.

It is increasingly apparent that by ‘externalizing’ e-accessibility in this way, the sector is significantly hindering progress. From a technical point of view, declining to take accessibility into account from the outset when designing a new device or website will necessarily result in a complex and costly retrofit. From a financial point of view, by focusing on disabled users, decision makers are neglecting to see the greater benefits of e-Accessibility for business and society as a whole. Finally, from a political perspective, society must accept that it is legally and collectively responsible for disability and that accessibility is therefore in everyone’s interest. For all these reasons, integrating e-Accessibility at the core of information systems is a technological, economical and socio-political necessity.

It is in this context that the Institute of e-Accessibility (IAN) is proud to organize the 6th European Forum on e-Accessibility on the theme: “Putting e-Accessibility at the core of information systems”.

Five key areas will be addressed:

  • e-Accessibility at the core of the information process
  • e-Accessibility at the core of the economical understanding of the ICT field
  • e-Accessibility at the core of Web projects
  • e-Accessibility at the core of the publishing processes
  • e-Accessibility at the core of industrial design

This conference will also be an opportunity for disabled users and industry specialists to share their experiences and to promote good practices harmonization.

AEGIS Workshop and Conference

""The AEGIS Workshop and Conference “Accessibility Reaching Everywhere” on 28-29-30 November 2011 in Brussels, Belgium offered an excellent platform to bring together beneficiaries, accessibility experts, policy makers, researchers and related eInclusion projects. Many of you participated, and contributed to the success of the event.

We have covered these 3 days via our various social media channels (the links you will find below), ensuring that also those that could not physically participate, could follow us online in real time, while also ensuring that all those that did participate can now track back the interesting presentations, the papers and the many pictures.

The links to follow are:

Please note that the video recorded sessions will be released in the course of 2012.

How Social Institutions Impact E-Accessibility Policy

I will be presenting a paper “How Social Institutions Impact E-Accessibility Policy” at the Universal Design 2012 conference in Oslo on 11-13 June 2012.

This paper examines how social institutions (i.e. the differences in norms, values and procedures) impact the design and implementation of national and supranational policies to promote accessibility of information and communication technology (E-Accessibility). Due to its social and political importance, the paper focuses on web accessibility (Internet and intranet websites, web based applications, and non-traditional and emerging technologies).

Based on original research currently in progress the paper presents preliminary findings based on a content analysis of policy documents from the UN and the EU, and the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway. The paper describes the emergence of E-Accessibility on the UN and EU policy agenda, and then compares how and to what extent the US, UK and Norway have responded to or anticipated these supranational policies to promote E-Accessibility.

Achieving E-Accessibility depends on whether policymakers can regulate the market to address the needs of all people, including persons with disabilities. Social regulation policies aim to influence market function and the behavior of non-governmental actors in an attempt to promote social objectives. While policy measures for social regulation may take different forms, many of them will be covered by the distinction between legislative means, financial incentives and persuasion strategies.

The paper argues that the US, UK and Norway have not only adopted different policy instruments, they also have different approaches to ensuring or enhancing opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the information society. E-Accessibility policy programs and approaches in these countries have been influenced and framed by different national policy traditions, the distribution of roles, and the relationships between actors participating in the design and implementation of E-Accessibility policy.

How E-Accessibility Policy Balances Economic and Social Needs

""I will be presenting a paper “How E-Accessibility Policy Balances Economic and Social Needs” at the 8th International Conference on Evaluation for Practice at the University of Tampere in the City of Pori Finland on 18-20 June 2012.

The paper examines how national and supranational policy for promoting accessibility of information and communication technology (E-Accessibility) balance regional and international economic and social needs (e.g. as reflected in policies for ‘reasonable accommodation’ and ‘undue hardship’, the definition of ‘accessibility’, and the conditions regional authorities comply with E-Accessibility requirements). Due to its social and political importance, the paper focuses on web accessibility (Internet and intranet websites, web based applications, and non-traditional and emerging technologies).

Based on original research currently in progress the paper presents preliminary findings based on a content analysis of policy documents from the UN and EU, and the United States, United Kingdom, and Norway. The paper briefly describes the emergence of E-Accessibility on the UN and EU policy agenda, and then compares how and to what extent the US, UK and Norway have responded to or anticipated the needs and interests of business and regional authorities (e.g. in regulations of public procurement of accessible web solutions by regional authorities).

Achieving E-Accessibility depends on whether policymakers can regulate the market to address the needs of all people, including persons with disabilities. Social regulation policies aim to influence market function and the behavior of non-governmental actors in an attempt to promote social objectives. Policy dialogue between public authorities including standards organizations and monitoring agencies, business, and advocacy organizations has also impacted the nature of policy provisions and the achievement of policy goals.

The paper argues that the US, UK and Norway have different approaches to ensuring and enhancing economic opportunities for private enterprises and social opportunities for persons with disabilities. E-Accessibility policy programs and approaches in these countries have been influenced and framed by different national policy traditions, the distribution of roles, and the relationships between actors participating in the design and implementation of E-Accessibility policy.