Accessibility compliance in Denmark and Lithuania

Maverick Affiliate Senior Associate, Will Awad has written extensively about the European Accessibility Act (EAA) and its goal of removing barriers to products, services, and infrastructure for individuals in Europe affected by disabilities.

In Breaking Down Barriers: An Overview of the European Accessibility Act and Its Implementation Across the EU Countries (Ireland and Germany), Will examined the implementation of EAA and other local guidelines in the UK, Ireland, and Germany.

In a new post for Maverick, Will provides an overview of the legislative developments with respect to accessibility in Denmark and Lithuania. His insights will help European publishers understand their local requirements and help avoid compliance issues while developing inclusive technologies and solutions.

Danish Accessibility Act
The Danish Accessibility Act was enacted in 2022. This act ensures that people with disabilities can access a range of consumer products and services, fostering a more inclusive society.

The Act specifies exemptions, details definitions, and delineates responsibilities for manufacturers, service providers, importers, and distributors to guarantee adherence to accessibility standards. The accessibility requirements are thoroughly detailed in Annex 1, covering aspects like user interfaces, operational controls, and support services to cater to various disabilities. Moreover, the law mandates documentation, compliance assessments, and the use of the Conformité Européenne (CE) marking to signify conformity.

An Overview
The legislation covers a range of products and services, such as computer hardware, payment terminals, electronic communication devices, e-readers, and services including electronic communication, audiovisual media, passenger transport, banking, e-books, and e-commerce.

One of the standout mandates of the Act is that all e-books must support assistive technologies, include text-to-speech functionality, and feature flexible navigation and layout to accommodate users’ needs. This ensures that individuals with visual, auditory, or physical impairments can effectively engage with digital literature.

All e-books must meet these accessibility requirements by June 28, 2025, regardless of their publication date. The law also provides for exemptions under certain conditions, which may relieve publishers from updating less popular or rarely accessed e-books, thus balancing the burden of compliance with the necessity for accessibility.

Legal Framework and Compliance
The Act’s Chapters 2, 7, and 11 detail the technical and functional requirements, the mechanisms for oversight and enforcement, and the penalties for non-compliance. The Danish Safety Agency is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the law. It can issue corrective orders, halt sales, or demand the withdrawal of non-compliant products from the market. Entities that fail to comply may face fines and potentially, criminal charges.

Lithuania’s New Accessibility Law

Lithuania’s New Accessibility Law: Elevating Standards for Inclusivity, is a groundbreaking move that sets a new benchmark for accessibility standards within Lithuania.

On December 8, 2022, Lithuania passed the “Lietuvos Respublikos gaminų ir paslaugų prieinamumo reikalavimų įstatymas”, numbered XIV-1633, setting stringent accessibility standards for products and services. This legislation, mirroring the European Accessibility Act, aims to facilitate the free movement of goods and services within the European Economic Area, ensuring inclusivity for all, including people with disabilities. The law will come into effect on June 28, 2025, and affects manufacturers and providers of consumer electronics, electronic communication devices, audiovisual media services, and electronic readers.

Accessibility Provisions
The legislation mandates comprehensive guidelines to make products and services more accessible. This includes making consumer interfaces user-friendly and incorporating features, such as language conversion technologies and touch-sensitive controls in self-service terminals. These provisions aim to cater to diverse user needs, particularly enhancing accessibility for those with disabilities.

Market Surveillance and Enforcement
The Ministry of Social Security and Labor leads the initiative, with crucial support from the Ministries of Economy and Innovation, and Transport. These bodies ensure the integration of accessibility into the framework of Lithuanian society.

Market compliance is strictly monitored. Non-compliance results in penalties outlined in Article 23, ranging from fines for minor violations (€500 to €2,500) to significant fines for repeated offenses or obstruction (€1,000 to €6,500). The law also mandates the withdrawal of non-compliant products from the market and compensation for damages caused.

Learn More

Maverick’s Accessibility Program helps publishers comply with legal requirements in Europe and North America while creating opportunities for greater discoverability and usability for all readers. Our unique structure allows us to assemble teams with the exact skills needed to support each project. Contact your Maverick representative or for a free consultation.

By Will Awad

Will Awad is a digital accessibility expert and an experienced publishing professional with a background in the academic publishing information technology and publishing services industries. He has advised on digital accessibility compliance per W3C/WCAG guidelines – and overseen access audits and remediation of digital documents (i.e., EPUBs and PDFs) ensuring they meet the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the European Accessibility Act (EAA) and PDF/UA. Will also holds a master’s degree focused on international law.

Further Reading

Breaking Down Barriers: An Overview of the European Accessibility Act and Its Implementation Across the EU Countries

Accessible eBooks, intentional workflow

Maverick Accessibility Program service sheet