The following blog post was written by James Thurston – Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft. James works with Microsoft’s global subsidiaries, NGOs, and governments around the world to develop public policies that support broad digital inclusion.
Yesterday Microsoft co-hosted an important policy discussion with the European Disability Forum (EDF) at the European Parliament here in Brussels, Belgium. EDF is a non-governmental organization that is committed to creating a more inclusive Europe for persons with disabilities. The partnership between EDF and Microsoft was inspired by a shared belief that collaboration between civil society and industry is indispensable to achieving the common goal of a more inclusive society for all.
Yesterday’s discussion brought together accessibility thought leaders in Europe to focus on the important topics of accessible e-government and e-voting. Both topics are timely and noteworthy due to recent and forthcoming legislation (i.e. the Directive on Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites and the European Accessibility Act), the European Year of Citizens and the upcoming European elections.
Caption: MEP Pablo Arias speaks during the EDF-Microsoft panel discussion on e-government.
The goal of this event was to gather innovative ideas and share expertise from a broad range of perspectives – government, civil society, and industry. We succeeded. Here are some highlights:
That is just a flavor of the excellent discussion between the more than 40 attendees from yesterday. Our next joint accessibility and inclusion policy dialogue with EDF will be early in 2014.