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Accessibility of the Built Environment in the European Union

Scope of application
  • Built environment

The purpose of this document is to provide background information related to EU policies, legislation and standards that aim to ensure accessibility of the built environment for all citizens. Accessibility is recognised as an enabling factor for freedom of movement and the full social and economic integration of persons with disabilities. Following the adoption of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the EU and all the Member States, accessibility is also recognised as a right that shall be guaranteed by laws and statutes.

The report sets out the key EU policies contained in legislative acts, followed by relevant European accessibility standards, their scope and areas of application. These policies and regulations support decision makers, planners, architects, designers, engineers and procurement officers in their work to ensure accessibility, safety and usability of everything in the built environment. However, these instruments are not sufficient, on their own and additional measures are needed in the form of awareness raising, education and training of professionals and all stakeholders.

As a response to the shortfall in certain areas of accessibility, the AccessibleEU Resource Centre has been launched to improve accessibility of the Built Environment, ICTs, Transport, Standards and Legislation, with a number of coordinated actions. While the built environment is addressed as a separate target, there is a strong relationship between all five areas.

AccessibleEU will develop actions addressing EU built environment policies, monitoring of implementation and compliance with legislation and standards, improving access to relevant knowledge and skills by professionals, identifying and sharing good practices and carrying out studies.

Accessibility is also identified as a key factor for the achievement of EU policies on sustainable development, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

AccessibleEU Report 05: Accessibility of the Built Environment in the European Union