In the next series of posts we will be going through the legal text of the Web Accessibility Directive (WAD), explaining the meaning of each section.
What is a directive?
A directive is a legal act that defines a goal to be achieved by all member states of the European Union. However it is up to the member states how they achieve these goals. So each member state must transpose a directive into its national (and regional if applicable) legislation in such a way that it is equivalent to the directive published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The WAD starts with this title:
DIRECTIVE (EU) 2016/2102 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 26 October 2016
on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies
(Text with EEA relevance)
This is basically the title of the directive indicating the date it was published, what it is about and that also applies to the EEA in this case.
The title is followed by this preamble setting out the treaties under which the directive is published and the process taken to create the legislation.
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 114(1) thereof,
Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,
After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,
Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee,
After consulting the Committee of the Regions,
Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,
This is saying that this directive is adopted by European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. It is published with regard to the treaty defining how the EU functions (basically the Treaty of Rome) and is based on a proposal by the European Commission. The legislation was sent to the national parliaments for adoption in national legislation. In addition the European Economic and Social Committee as well as the Committee of the Regions were consulted before final publication of the WAD using the usual procedure for such legislation.
Or, in other words: “We have agreed that…”