MEPs vote to end unjustified geoblocking
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to end unjustified geoblocking and country redirects by the end of 2018.
The vote – which took place on Tuesday (6 February) – will obliging online retailers to give people access to goods and services on the same terms all over the EU, regardless of where they are connecting from.
In a statement published on the European Parliament’s website, Polish EPP member Róża Thun, the MEP in charge of steering the new rules through Parliament, said: “What we have achieved is that the online shopping and shopping in the real world come closer and closer together, that nobody can be discriminated against on the internet.”
The European Commission’s Vice-President Ansip and the Commissioners Bieńkowska and Gabriel welcomed the Parliamentary vote in a joint statement: “The European Parliament voted to end unjustified discrimination when people shop online in the European Union. Banning unjustified geoblocking is great news for consumers in Europe.
“Thanks to the European Parliament, another building block of the Digital Single Market has been put in place delivering concrete benefits to citizens and businesses. It is a great step forward for e-commerce in Europe.
“We are encouraged that all EU institutions share a common vision on what the future of the Digital Single Market will look like.
“From Christmas 2018, people will not have to worry about a website blocking or re-routing them just because they – or their credit card – come from a different country. Wherever they are in the EU, they will be able to access goods and services online.
“But this achievement does not stand alone to make e-commerce more comfortable and easier for consumers and businesses alike: it is an important piece of the puzzle together with more transparent and affordable cross-border parcel delivery prices, simpler value added tax rules for e-commerce and stronger consumer protection. We also call for an agreement on harmonised rules for the sale of digital content and online purchases. All these elements are crucial for creating a well-functioning and competitive Digital Single Market.”
The new rules will apply to a wide range of goods and services, including:
- physical goods such as furniture and electronics
- online services such as cloud services or website hosting
- entertainment services such as tickets to leisure parks and concerts.
Some products, including copyrighted materials such as e-books and audio-visual products, online computer games and films, are currently excluded from the regulation.