The European Parliament has today voted on the outcome of the geo-blocking trilogue. While the new regulation introduces some new limits, by excluding videos, music, ebooks and online gaming, the final regulation falls far short of putting an end to geo-blocking.
Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur Julia Reda comments:
“By excluding the content in which most consumers experience geo-blocking, this regulation fails to do what it says on the tin. Videos, music, ebooks and online gaming are the services in which people most often run into the dreaded "not available in your country" error. It is frustrating that EU Member States refused to allow them to be included in this regulation. This not only turns a blind eye to the daily experience of online consumers, especially those minority language speakers who find themselves on the wrong side of a national border, it also ignores the position of the European Parliament agreed last year.
“While this is a missed opportunity, there are some wins for consumers in the final deal. Online shoppers will be able to access lower price offers from other EU countries, helping to bring some fairness to the digital single market.”
The positive elements of the final deal include:
- E-commerce websites will no longer be allowed to forcibly redirect consumers to a particular national site
- Prices can't vary according to which country a consumer orders from. For example, if someone rents a car to drive from Germany to Slovenia, the price must be the same if it is ordered from Germany or Slovenia.