Digital Single Market: New EU rules allow Europeans to shop online without borders
On 3rd of December 2018 the new regulation proposed by the European Commission in May 2016 to end unjustified geoblocking online will enter into force. Europeans will not have to worry about a website blocking or re-routing them just because they, or their credit card, come from a different country. Wherever they are in the EU, they will be able to access goods and services online.
On this occasion, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová, and Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said:
"In 2015, 63% of the websites did not let shoppers buy from another EU country. As a result, nearly two-thirds of consumers who wanted to shop online abroad were prevented from doing so. On 3rd of December we are putting an end to this practice. We want a Europe without barriers, and this also means removing barriers to online shopping.
Together with the end of roaming charges, the new rules on data protection and the possibility for citizens to travel with their online content, the end of unjustified geoblocking is another essential initiative that makes the Digital Single Market a reality for all, delivering concrete benefits to citizens and businesses.
The new rules will enable consumers to have a wider choice of products at competitive prices and consequently better deals. At the same time businesses will see their customer base expand across borders and enjoy lower transaction and administrative costs. The Regulation is also part of a wider EU effort to boost e-commerce in the Single Market, which includes measures to better protect consumers online, ensure more affordable cross-border parcel delivery and simplify VAT rules to make it easier to buy and sell goods online.
We now call on all Member States to ensure an effective implementation of these rules and do all that is in their power so that effective enforcement of the Regulation takes place as of Day One. We also call for an agreement on harmonised rules for the sale of digital goods and services and online purchases. All these elements are crucial for creating a well-functioning and competitive Digital Single Market."
Member States are in charge of the enforcement of the Regulation and need to put in place the necessary structures to ensure a smooth start to its application. In particular, Member States must designate bodies entrusted with its enforcement and bodies which will provide practical assistance to consumers. In addition, Member States must set out effective, proportionate and dissuasive measures applicable to infringements of the Regulation. The Commission will conduct a first review of the Geo-blocking Regulation by March 2020. This assessment will cover the possible extension of the non-discrimination principle in accessing goods and services to non-audiovisual electronically supplied services whose main feature is copyright protected content, such as e-books, music, games and software. The Commission will also carefully analyse whether in other sectors, such as services in the field of transport and audio-visual services, any remaining unjustified restrictions based on nationality, place of residence or place of establishment should be eliminated.
Consumers and businesses – especially SMEs – show an increasing interest in shopping and selling across the EU. Online sales of products are growing by 22% per year. However, frequently traders refused to sell to customers from another EU Member State or to offer equally advantageous prices in comparison with local clients.
The Regulation (EU) 2018/302 ("Geo-blocking Regulation") which enters into force on 3 December aims to provide consumers and businesses within the EU's internal market with more opportunities. In particular, it addresses the problem of some customers not being able to buy goods and services from traders located in a different Member State, even at the same conditions as locals, only because of their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment. In 2015, a Commission survey found that only 37% of websites actually allowed cross-border customers to reach the final step before completing the purchase by entering payment details.
The Geoblocking Regulation is part of a wider set of measures aimed at boosting e-commerce in the Single Market, such as the revised Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, the new rules on cross border parcel delivery services, the new rules for digital contracts, and the new VAT rules for electronic commerce.
For more information
Factsheet on how you can make the most out of eCommerce in the EU as a consumer
Short guide on the geoblocking rules for online sellers
Questions and answers on geo-blocking with information for national authorities enforcing the new rules and practical assistance to consumers
Political agreement to end unjustified geoblocking
Political agreement to make cross-border parcel delivery more affordable
Political agreement on simpler and more efficient VAT rules for online companies
Latest News from
Public consultation: appropriate age for introduction of complementary feeding of infants19/04/2019 09:25:00
EFSA is seeking feedback from stakeholders and other interested parties on its scientific opinion on the appropriate age for introduction of complementary feeding of infants.
Stronger EU borders with a new standing corps of 10,000 border guards18/04/2019 15:25:00
TheEuropean Parliament hasadopted the ECs proposal to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard Agency with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027.
European Parliament's vote on new rules to improve fairness & transparency of online platforms18/04/2019 13:37:00
The European Parliament has approved the new Regulation on platform-to-business trading practices that is aimed at establishing a fair, trusted and innovation-driven environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms.
WTO Boeing dispute: EU issues preliminary list of U.S. products considered for countermeasures18/04/2019 12:25:00
The EC has launched a public consultation on a preliminary list of products from the USA on which the EU may take countermeasures in the context of the ongoing Boeing dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Registered substances mapped for regulatory action18/04/2019 09:25:00
The first report of the Integrated Regulatory Strategy presents a mapping of the universe of registered substances that are on the EU market. This information helps authorities to identify, plan and monitor the progress on identifying and regulating substances of concern.
The United States is Europe's main soya beans supplier with imports up by 121%17/04/2019 16:25:00
New figures released by the EC, show that imports of U.S. soya beans by the EU increased by 121% over the current market year (July 2018 to mid-April 2019), compared to the same period in the previous year.
EC updates the EU Air Safety List to maintain highest level of protection for passengers17/04/2019 15:37:00
The EC has updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the EU.
EC launches debate on more efficient decision-making in EU social policy17/04/2019 13:25:00
In his 2018 State of the Union speech, President Juncker announced a comprehensive review of all passerelle clauses provided for by the EU Treaties. As a result, three Communications have already been adopted: on common foreign and security policy (September 2018), on taxation (January 2019) and on energy and climate (April 2019). The Communication on the passerelle clauses in social policy is the fourth one.
EC welcomes adoption of new measures denying terrorists & criminals the means and space to act17/04/2019 12:37:00
The European Parliament has adopted 2 important Security Union legislative initiatives proposed by the EC on interoperability and explosive precursors.