New accessibility requirements in connection with IT products and services will enter into force in Italy
Legislative Decree No. 82 of May 27, 2022 (“Decree 82/2022”), published in the Italian Official Journal on July 1, 2022, and entered into force on July 16, 2022, implemented Directive (UE) 2019/882, known as the European Accessibility Act (“EAA”).
The EAA is intended to remove barriers to the accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities currently present in the internal market due to divergent rules in Member States (further information is available on the European Commission dedicated webpage). According to the recitals of the EAA, there is a need for concerted action to ensure that IT products and services are fully available to persons with disabilities: “It is therefore necessary to harmonise accessibility requirements across the digital single market and to ensure that all Union citizens, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy its benefits.” To this end, the EAA has established the accessibility requirements that products placed on the market after June 28, 2025 and services provided to consumers after the same date must meet, as well as economic operators’ obligations to ensure accessibility.
In transposing the EAA, Decree 82/2022 largely mirrors the scope and measures set forth in the EAA (except for minor differences, e.g., as to urban, suburban, and regional transport services). Such measures will apply from June 28, 2025 forward, notwithstanding a transitional period through June 28, 2030.
Decree 82/2022 covers both products and services placed on the market after June 28, 2025, listed under Section 1 of the same. Products include computer hardware systems and operating systems for those hardware systems; self-service terminals for payment and for the provision of the other services regulated by Decree 82/2022; consumer terminal equipment with interactive computing capability used for electronic communications services and same equipment used for accessing audiovisual media services; and e-readers. Services falling under the scope of Decree 82/2022 are electronic communications services, with the exception of transmission services used for the provision of machine-to-machine services; services providing access to audiovisual media services; certain elements of air, bus, rail, and waterborne passenger transport services, including for urban, suburban, and regional transport services; consumer banking services; e-books and dedicated software; and e-commerce services.
Decree 82/2022 also applies to answering emergency communications to the single European emergency number 112.
Furthermore, specific content of websites and mobile applications is excluded from the scope of Decree 82/2022.
Section 3 of Decree 82/2022 identifies the accessibility requirements to be applied to services (microenterprises providing services are exempt), products, and the answering of emergency communications to 112 among those listed in Annex I. Pursuant to Section 13 of Decree 82/2022, such requirements do not apply if the economic operators determine that compliance would lead to fundamental alteration of the basic nature of the product or service or impose a disproportionate burden, to be assessed according to the criteria provided in Annex V.
Obligations of economic operators
Decree 82/2022 introduces several obligations for economic operators dealing with products, meaning manufacturers, importers, and distributors, as well as for service providers. Just by way of example:
- manufacturers shall, among others, ensure that products have been designed and manufactured in accordance with the applicable accessibility requirements; draft technical documentation according to Annex III on the conformity assessment procedure for products; in case of positive assessment under Annex III, draw up an EU declaration of conformity stating that fulfilment of the applicable accessibility requirements has been demonstrated (the EU declaration of conformity shall be drafted in Italian as well based on the model structure set out in Annex III to Decision No. 768/2008/EC); and affix CE marking (subject to the general principles set out in Section 30 of Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008);
- importers shall place only compliant products on the market and, among others, shall ensure that the manufacturer has complied with the abovementioned requirements;
- distributors shall, among others, verify that the product bears CE marking, that it is accompanied by the required documents and by instructions and safety information in Italian or English, and that the manufacturer and the importer have complied with the respective accessibility requirements;
- service providers shall prepare the necessary information in accordance with Annex IV regulating the information on services meeting accessibility requirements. Such information shall be made available to the public in written and oral format, including in a manner accessible to persons with disabilities.
The Ministry of Economic Development (Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, “MISE”) is responsible for market surveillance of products, while the Agency for Digital Italy (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, “AgID”) is the supervisory authority for market surveillance of services. Oversight is similar for both products and services: in case of noncompliance, the supervisory authority shall first require the economic operator to take corrective measures to ensure compliance within a reasonable period of time, and second, should the economic operator fail to comply with said request, the supervisory authority shall take the necessary steps to recall the product from the market—this shall be communicated to the European Commission and Member States to assess whether it is justified—or shut off/block the service.
The MISE and the AgID shall each adopt, respectively and to the extent of their competence, a decree and dedicated guidelines within 180 days of the entry into force of Decree 82/2022 to implement the above procedure.
A specific procedure is set out for product “formal noncompliance,” cases of which, e.g., lack of CE marking, are listed in Decree 82/2022.
Sanctions and overlap with the Stanca Law
Decree 82/2022 establishes that, with the exception of an occurrence that constitutes a crime, administrative fines shall be levied ranging from 5,000 to 40,000 euros for noncompliance with accessibility requirements specifically identified by Section 24 and ranging from 2,500 to 30,000 euros in case the economic operator fails to comply with the supervisory authority’s measures to ensure compliance or does not ensure the necessary cooperation under Decree 82/2022 (ad hoc exceptions apply).
Private providers falling under the scope of both Law 4/2004 (known as the “Stanca Law”) and Decree 82/2022 are subject to the sanctions established in the Stanca Law and, from June 28, 2025 forward, such providers shall comply with the measures of Decree 82/2022, and the main provisions of the Stanca Law, e.g., compliance with technical rules for accessibility set out in the Guidelines, shall no longer apply to them.
 For instance, during the transitional period, service providers may continue to provide their services using products that were lawfully used by them to provide similar services before June 28, 2025, and service contracts entered into before June 28, 2025 may continue without alteration until they expire, but no more than five years after that date.