MEPs have voted in favour of ending geo-blocking and country redirects by the end of 2018. On 6 February MEPs adopted a regulation to end geo-blocking, obliging retailers to give people access to goods and services on the same terms all over the EU, regardless of where they are connecting from.
A study by the European Commission, which analysed thousands of websites all over the EU, discovered that in only 37% of cases people were able to complete a purchase from another EU country and buy the goods that they wanted.
Parliament wants this discrimination to end, so that people can benefit, both online and offline, from an integrated single market.
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 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
They will enter into force by the end of 2018.
The Parliament has made sure that the European Commission will carry an evaluation of the end of geo-blocking within two years, while also considering including copyrighted materials such as e-books and audio-visual products that are for the moment excluded from the regulation.