On February 27, 2018, all Member States of the EU agreed to end geo-blocking.
The Council of the European Union voted in favour of a new regulation proposed by the Commission. The Parliament already approved it in February (see below).
The Member States have to implement the new rules until December 2018.
Read more about the decision of the Council in this press release.
On Tuesday, EU Parliamentarians voted in favor of a new regulation against geo-blocking, drafted by the EU Commission.
Before the regulation can come into force, the Council of the EU has to agree on it as well. Then the Member States would have to implement it to their national laws within nine months.
In a press release, the EU Parliament summarised the most important changes:
"Traders will have to treat online shoppers from another EU country in the same way as local ones, i.e. grant them access to the same prices or sales conditions, when they:
- buy goods (e.g. household appliances, electronics, clothes) which are delivered to a member state to which the trader offers delivery in his general conditions, or are collected at a location agreed by both parties in an EU country in which the trader offers such option (traders would not have to deliver in all EU countries, but buyers should have the option to pick up the package in a place agreed with the trader),
- receive electronically supplied services not protected by copyright, such as cloud services, firewalls, data warehousing, website hosting, or
- buy a service which is supplied in the premises of the trader or in a physical location where the trader operates, e.g. hotel stays, sports events, car rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets."
What is geo-blocking?
When a consumer is discriminated based on his nationality or place of residence while shopping online, it's called geo-blocking. Traders, for example, offer their products for different prices or refuse orders if the consumer lives in another country. With the new regulation, the EU institutions want to abolish such barriers within the European single market.
Find more detailed information about geo-blocking in our article.