In focus: Single market update: Portability Proposal and e-commerce initiatives

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On 25 May 2016, the European Commission tabled its draft proposal on the Portability Regulation together with its proposals and communications on e-commerce.

Portability Regulation Proposal

The aim of the draft Portability Regulation is to ensure the cross-border portability of online content services throughout the single market. The general approach of the Regulation has now been agreed by the European Council, who have stated that the provisions contained within the Regulation should be targeted directly toward online content services provided against the payment of money. The Council also emphasised that that free to air services, such as public broadcasters, should also be able to benefit from the provisions contained within the Regulation, if the so wish, provided that they are able to verify the country of residence of their subscribers.

The responsibility for the Proposal lies with the European Parliaments Legal Affairs Committee(JURI) and is headed by Rapporteur Mr Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE, France). The draft Report written by Mr Cavada was submitted to the Committee on 5 July 2016 and is due to be adopted on 13 October 2016.

Commission proposal for a regulation on geo-blocking

The Commissions proposal on the Regulation of Geo-blocking aims to ensure that consumers seeking to buy products and services in another EU country, be it online or in person, are not discriminated against in terms of access to prices, sales or payment conditions, unless it can be proved that this can be objectively justified for reasons such as VAT or certain public interest provisions.

Commission proposal on revision of audio-visual media services directive

The Commissions proposal on the revision of the Audio-Visual Services Directive includes the following revisions:

  • the simplification of the Country of Origin Principle and the rules which determine which member state has jurisdiction over a provider. An obligation is also placed on the presiding Member State to inform all providers that fall under their jurisdiction that they do so;
  • On commercial communications, the proposed modifications aim to reduce the burden on TV-broadcasters whilst maintaining and reinforcing the rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable;
  • the strengthening of the promotion of European works;
  • the prohibition of hate speech;
  • the simplification of the rules on the obligation to protect minors;
  • Video-sharing and platforms;
  • the independence of audio-visual regulators and the role of the European Regulators Group for Audio-Visual Media Services;

Other Commission proposals and communications from 25 May 2016

The Commission also tabled two further proposals and two communications, which support the Commission’s proposals on opening e-commerce, namely:

  • A proposal concerning co-operation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws;
  • A proposal concerning cross-border parcel delivery;
  • A communication on comprehensive approach to stimulating cross-border e-commerce for Europe’s citizens and businesses;
  • A communication on online platforms and digital single market - opportunities and challenges for Europe.

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