EU Council removes geo-blocking in e-commerce

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The EU Council for Competitiveness on Monday agreed on a draft regulation to ban unjustified geo-blocking between member states.

Geo-blocking is described as a discriminatory practice that prevents online customers from accessing and purchasing products or services from a website based in another member state.

The draft regulation is intended to remove discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment and to boost e-commerce.

Croatia’s Economy Minister Martina Dalic, who attended the Council’s meeting, said the objective of the draft regulation would be to enable citizens and entrepreneurs to have access to online shopping regardless of the geographic area they come from.

Peter Ziga, the President of the Council and Minister of Economy of Slovakia was quoted as saying that “shopping online from another EU country in the same way as locals do is something that many citizens expect nowadays. The new rules to stop unjustified geo-blocking will considerably improve the e-commerce economy and give citizens access to a wider choice of goods and services.”

The draft regulation was reached by qualified majority. It will serve as the Council’s common position to launch negotiations with the European Parliament under the EU’s ordinary legislative procedure.