Disclaimer: This page is currently being reviewed in view of WCAG 2.1 and other initiatives in the area of accessibility (e.g. the use of easy-to-read format). An update is planned for autumn 2019.
All new Europa websites and mobile applications must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, conformance level AA. This has been the case since 2010.
Directive (EU) 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (the ‘Web Accessibility Directive’) entered into force in 2016.
Although the Directive does not apply to EU institutions, recital 35 states that they are: ‘encouraged to comply’ with it.
The Directive requires that public sector organisations apply European standard EN 301 549 V2.1.2 (2018‑08) to their websites and online tools. The standard is based on the latest version of the guidelines, WCAG 2.1, conformance level AA.
Full compliance with the Directive requires:
There are 3 compliance phases:
New websites (published after September 23, 2018) – from September 23, 2019
Older websites (published before September 23, 2018) – from September 23, 2020
Mobile applications – from 23 June, 2021
It is recommended that all Europa websites, mobile applications and online tools comply with these deadlines as far as possible.
WCAG 2.1 supersedes WCAG 2.0 and provides additional success criteria to address:
See the links in the References section below to find out how to apply them.
For more information on how to make web content accessible to the widest possible audience, see the Accessibility checklist.
The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines are intended for all web content providers and developers (including page authors, webmasters and site designers).
Following the guidelines will make web content more accessible not only to people with disabilities, but to all users, regardless of the device or software they are using (e.g. desktop browser, smartphone, in-vehicle computer, voice browser) or the constraints of their environment (e.g. noisy surroundings, bright or dimly-lit rooms).
By implementing the WCAG, you can help users to find information on the web more easily. The guidelines also help content producers to use images, video, audio and other content in a way that makes it more accessible to the widest possible audience.
The aim of web accessibility is to ensure all users to have equal access to information and functionalities on the web. More specifically, web accessibility means that people with all abilities and disabilities should be able to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the web, these are the four principles of web accessibility. It also means that the content of the websites should be compatible with current and future browsers, devices, software and assistive technologies.
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been signed by the European Union, persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Users can experience problems when using the web because of different kinds of disabilities, functional limitations, environmental factors or technology-related issues, such as:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview - an introduction to WCAG, supporting technical documents and educational material.
How to Meet WCAG 2 (Quick Reference) – a customizable reference to WCAG 2 requirements and techniques
Understanding WCAG 2.1 – in depth guidance on implementing WCAG 2.1.
Techniques for WCAG 2.1 – specific details on how to meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria, including code examples, resources and tests
If you require further assistance, please contact:
Europa Web Communication
The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. More information about the web guide.