Commission publishes its short-term review of the Geo-blocking Regulation

Today, the Commission published its review of the EU Geo-blocking Regulation, which is in force since December 2018 and prohibits unjustified geographical restrictions on access to goods and services within the EU. The report’s findings show that half of consumers are aware of the EU Geo-blocking rules. Some initial positive effects include better cross-border access to websites and an easier registration of consumers to foreign websites operating in the EU. Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “The pandemic has shown to which extent we rely on digital technologies across all EU countries and that cross-border access to goods and services online should be without any barriers or friction for European consumers, regardless of their location, residence, or nationality. This first review of the Geo-blocking Regulation already shows first positive results. We will further monitor its effects and discuss with stakeholders, notably in the context of the Media and Audio-visual Action Plan to ensure the industry can scale up and reach new audiences, and consumers can fully enjoy the diversity of goods and services in the different EU Member States.” The report looks at the potential impact for consumers of extending the scope of the Regulation for cross-border access to copyrighted content such as series, music, e-books or videogames to answer to the demand including from people living in border regions and from linguistic minorities. To further assess the potential impact of the Regulation on the audiovisual sector, the Commission will launch a stakeholder dialogue to explore concrete ways of fostering the circulation of, and consumer access to, quality content across the EU. The Commission will also continue to raise awareness, notably through the European Consumer Centres, monitor its implementation via the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network,  while taking into account the impact of other internal market measures, such as on cross-border VAT and new digital contract rules. More information here