News

Geo-blocking: end to geographic discrimination

02.02.2018 - 11:45
Loading Video...

Ever been faced with a “not available in your country” message when you want to buy something online?

Stopping unjustified blocking of online cross-border sales

One of the greatest achievements of the European Union, the Single Market, accounting for 500 million consumers and 21 million small and medium-sized enterprises, still faces an obstacle - geographical blocking when buying online. Online traders can deny you access to their websites and online services when you are based in another Member State. It is pure discrimination on the grounds of nationality and residence!

The Single Market, accounting for 500 million consumers and 21 million SMEs, still faces an obstacle - geographical blocking when buying online

Geo-blocking had been highest when consumers try to buy physical goods, especially when buying household appliances and electronics. According to a survey carried out by the European Commission, 63% of websites use geo-blocking.

But this type of discrimination will end now!

Better prices for consumers, less legal insecurity for sellers

In May 2016, the European Commission made a proposal to end this unjustified geo-blocking within the internal market. The European Parliament had its say in developing the law and, with Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein MEP from the EPP Group leading the process, significant improvements were made to the Commission’s proposal, that will benefit both consumers and traders.

Consumers will now benefit from better prices for goods all over Europe, while traders will be better protected with clearer rules and will not have to be afraid of selling to consumers from abroad

Consumers will now benefit from better prices for goods all over Europe and traders will be better protected with clearer rules, including no obligation to deliver a good, and will not have to be afraid of selling to consumers from abroad. This is especially good news for small traders who will be now better protected from passive sales restrictions from suppliers, as they would not be obliged by suppliers to geo-block for business reasons.

Small traders will be now better protected from passive sales restrictions from suppliers

The new rules ban blocking access to websites or sending customers to another country-specific website without his or her consent. So no more of this: when trying to rent a car for your holiday in Malta from a Maltese car rental website while in Estonia, you end up being directed to a car rental website in Estonia with different prices. Or finding a cool one-of-a-kind refrigerator in Germany and not being able to purchase it is because your credit card was refused as you reside in another Member State.

extending the Digital Single Market to additional sectors

However, although the new rules cover buying physical goods online in the European Single Market, they do not include copyrighted material, such as e-books, e-music, video games or e-films. Yet, thanks to the EPP Group, the legislation includes a “review clause” to ensure that, in 2 years’ time, the European Commission has to review the rules, with a view to ending geo-blocking in additional sectors, such as for audio-visual or transport services.

Thanks to the EPP Group, the European Commission will have to review the rules, with a view to ending geo-blocking in additional sectors, such as for audio-visual or transport services

As a European citizen and a consumer, you have the right to profit from the whole Single Market, without any discrimination. Ending unjustified geo-blocking has been one of the EPP Group priorities.

Background information: this Regulation is part of an e-commerce package, together with a legislative proposal on cross-border parcel delivery services and a legislative proposal to strengthen enforcement of consumer rights.

Latest

EU future, terror financing, journalist murders, Facebook scandal
19.04.2018 - 12:45

EU future, terror financing, journalist murders, Facebook scandal

The European Parliament debated the French President’s future-minded EU reform ideas with the EPP Group calling for greater security for...
Money laundering
19.04.2018 - 11:07

Tough rules against terror money and tax evasion

New money laundering rules also apply to virtual currencies "Shady money transactions will become much more difficult. The financial system...
Jan Kuciak's commemoration
19.04.2018 - 09:46

What has the Slovak Government done to protect journalists

Today, the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) paid tribute to the memory and legacy of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fianc...
Exhaust pipe
18.04.2018 - 16:15

European Parliament stops Dieselgate from happening again

"The public rightly expects us to fix the Dieselgate loopholes." Ivan Štefanec MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Type Approval “I...

Highlights of the week

23.04.2018 - 27.04.2018
Construction workers working on cement formwork frames

Towards new rules on the posting of workers

Members of the Employment Committee will vote on the final agreement between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council on the revision of the...
Flowers and car

Action needed to combat mileage fraud in Europe

The Transport Committee will demand action from the European Commission on mileage fraud in Europe on Wednesday. In cross-border car sales, research...
Photo of ready meals containting meat

Dual quality products in the Single Market

As a consumer in the EU, you have the right to be treated equally with others. A high-level conference to discuss the discriminatory practice of dual...