Call For Accessible Labelling On Packaging For Blind People

22 June 2011

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) signed a Written Declaration which calls on the European Commission to launch a consultation on the feasibility of introducing, at EU level, a voluntary system of Braille and alternative labelling to enable access to information on packaging for consumers who are unable to read print.

There are ways to make information about products accessible; these include Braille labelling, but with new technologies possibilities to make information accessible are unprecedented.

Alyn said:

“Information helps us all make decisions, be involved in society and lead independent lives. Blind and partially-sighted people have the right to access information just like every other citizen. Accessible alternative labelling would make life much easier for blind and partially-sighted people for whom shopping is an everyday activity that presents enormous challenges.

“I have signed this Written Declaration because EU regulation in this area is not as strong as it should be and I want to see the Commission encourage voluntary schemes to improve access to information on packaging for blind, deafblind and partially sighted people.“

A Written Declaration is a text of a maximum of 200 words on a matter falling within the European Union’s sphere of activities. MEPs can use Written Declarations to launch or relaunch a debate on a subject that comes within the EU’s remit. A group of up to five MEPs can submit a Written Declaration by presenting a text to be signed by their colleagues. If the Declaration is signed by a majority of the MEPs, it is forwarded to the President, who announces it in plenary. At the end of the part-session, the Declaration is forwarded to the institutions named in the text, together with the names of the signatories.