On 7 February 2017 the European Parliament and The Malta, which acts on behalf of all 28 EU states in its role as the bloc’s current holder of the rotating presidency, reached an agreement to let consumers access their online subscriptions for services like Netflix or Sky when they travel across the bloc.

The agreement means that subscriptions to online music, games, films and TV shows can be accessed by EU citizens whilst they are travelling abroad. Currently, EU Citizens visiting another EU country are prevented from accessing and using their online content services, even though they are subscribed to these services in their member state. This is due to cross-border portability restrictions as well as territorial and exclusive licensing practices.

The new rules will facilitate the removal of these restrictions for all new subscriptions and also retrospectively, for those purchased before the rules enter into force. EU citizens will therefore be able to access this online content while abroad on for studies, business or holiday.

Maltese Minister for the Economy Chris Cardona said “Europeans travelling within the EU will no longer be cut off from online services such as films, sporting broadcasts, music, e-books or games they have paid for back home.”

The new rules will however only apply only to online fee-based services. Free-of-charge services will not be subject to the rules, but their providers will have the option of making them portable EU wide.

The agreed text must now be formally confirmed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Once adopted, the rules will become applicable in all EU Member States by beginning of 2018 as the Regulation grants providers and right holders a 9 month period to prepare for the application of the new rules.