Chapter 14 Disability and standardization
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The wide-ranging disability policy of the European Union (EU) is designed to make a transformative contribution towards equality for people with disabilities. Increased accessibility of products, services and the physical environment is critical if disabled people are to participate as equals in their communities. The European Commission looks to EU standardization policy as a key instrument in pursuit of this objective. The chapter begins with an overview of the EU’s standardization policy, its Treaty basis and the status of standards in EU law. The development of EU standardization policy up to the current Standardization Regulation is then reviewed. The Commission’s Mandates for the development of disability-specific European standards are briefly reviewed. Lastly, the potential for standards dealing with services is explored, the limited participation of people with disabilities in the European standardization system is discussed, and an argument is presented for the need for accessibility to be mainstreamed in tertiary education.

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