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Germany Web Accessibility

Germany Web Accessibility Laws
The main web accessibility law in Germany is the European Directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies, known as EN 301549. The E.U. Web Accessibility Directive was enacted in 2016, ratified by the E.U. Parliament and the Council of the E.U. It primarily applies to government agencies but does have consequences for private organizations as well. As of today, all public sector bodies in E.U. Member States must comply with EN 301 549 standards, including Germany.

Accessibility Standard EN 301549 applies to government agencies, government-funded bodies, and third-party contractors who provide services to the government. Non-compliance may result in exceeding penalties, as mechanisms for complaint were put in place by the legislators.

BGG compliance
The German Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG), passed in 2002, sets the legal framework for web accessibility in Germany. It requires public sector bodies and certain private sector entities to make their websites and mobile applications accessible.
Under the BGG, public sector websites and mobile applications must comply with WCAG 2.1 AA level. The law also applies to private sector entities that provide services of public interest, such as transportation, communication, banking, and more.

BITV 2.0 guidelines
The German government has issued regulations known as the Barrier-Free Information Technology Ordinance (Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung - BITV 2.0) that provide detailed guidelines on web accessibility implementation. These guidelines align with WCAG 2.1 and cover aspects such as content, navigation, forms, multimedia, and more.
Additionally, several German states (Länder) have their own regulations and guidelines related to web accessibility. For example, the State Treaty on Broadcasting (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag) includes provisions for web accessibility of online media services provided by broadcasters.

At EqualWeb, we recommend you remediate and audit your website against WCAG 2.1 guidelines to avoid any legal risk and to open your doors to the large population of individuals living with disabilities.

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