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European Commission confirms priorities: End Unjustified Geo-blocking

Fri 15th May 2015

Yesterday an important step was made in the direction towards removing global pricing discrimination.

A year ago, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the former Prime Minister of Luxemburg, promised to take steps towards getting rid of the idea of geo-blocking. Now Juncker is making good on that promise, with the creation of the European Digital Single Market fit for a new digital age.

The European Commission has released it priorities for better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe.

Priority 4. “to end unjustified geo-blocking – a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons when online sellers either deny consumers access to a website based on their location.”

Geo-blocking leaves many Europeans unable to use the online services available in other EU countries or redirects them to a local store with different prices. Geo-blocking is often in place without any justification. Such discrimination cannot exist in a single market says Junker.

Digital technology has become something we rely on, on a daily basis. From studying to watching television and film, making purchases online to connecting with friends via facebook or twitter – the internet offers us a plethora of opportunities. But every day people and companies run into many barriers – from geo-blocking or cross-border parcel delivery inefficiencies to unconnected e-services. Digital services too often remain confined to national borders.

The European Commission has made it a priority to remove obstacles such as geo-blocking and create a Digital Single Market. In the process, this will enable the EU’s single market freedoms to “go digital”, boosting growth and jobs on in the European Member countries.

In March Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “Let us do away with all those fences and walls that block us online. People must be able to go freely across borders online just as they do offline. Innovative businesses must be helped to grow across the EU, not remain locked into their home market.

The Commission acknowledged it would be an uphill struggle, but set out its priorities for an ambitious reinvention of Europe trade law for a digital future. Europe should benefit fully from the digital age: better services, more participation, and new jobs.

To realise these economic benefits EU executive has unveiled plans to reverse the fragmentation of internet shopping and other online services. The Commission has outlined its priorities have called for a digital single market in Europe covering everything from e-commerce to broadband spectrum, courier and parcel delivery rates, and uniform telecoms and copyright rules.

Today’s announcement confirmed the three main points of focus:

1. Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services
2. Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish
3. Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential

The Digital Single Market project team will deliver on these different actions by the end of 2016. With the backing of the European Parliament and the Council, the Digital Single Market should be completed as soon as possible.

Click here to read the #singledigitalmarket press release to watch the @EuropeanCommission video.

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