Europe forbids unjustified geo-blocking by online retailers

Europe forbids unjustified geo-blocking by online retailers

The European member states today reached a common position on the European Commission’s proposal to address geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination. Online stores in Europe are now no longer permitted to offer different prices to customers from other European countries.

Vice-President Ansip welcomed the member states’ consensual position to tackle geo-blocking, one of the forms of discrimination the European Commission wants to fight in order to develop a Single Market. The member states today agreed to the rules they proposed in May this year and Ansip said that it’s an important step forward.

“When you enter a shop in another EU country, the owner doesn’t ask  for your ID to adjust the price or refuse the purchase on the basis of your place of residence. Too often this happens in the online world, preventing Europeans from choosing from which website they wish to buy”, he said.

Europe wants to address such discrimination and after the member states agreed, the European Commission now wants to speed up the work with the Parliament to find an agreement under the upcoming EU presidency by Malta. So, there’s officially no law yet that prohibits online retailers to offer different prices to foreign consumers. Also, online retailers won’t be obliged to deliver their products to countries were they aren’t active.

The Digital Single Market is coming

The European Commision wants to offer consumers across Europe more and in 2017, it wants to stop unjustified geo-blocking, it wants to stop roaming charges and it wants to give European consumers who are travelling in the EU full online access to the films, music and e-books they subscribed to at home. “I count on the equal support of Member States on our other initiatives to create a Digital Single Market”, Ansip said.

Simplified tax rules to help sell cross-border online

He also said they will propose simplified EU tax rules to help businesses, especially the smallest ones, sell online across borders. “This will remove another major barrier to e-commerce in the EU, and will get us closer to a Digital Single Market.”


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