On 20 November 2017, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission reached an agreement to end unjustified geo-blocking for consumers who wish to buy products or services online within the EU. The Commission submitted a draft Regulation to the Council and the Parliament on 25 May 2016.
The new rules aim to put an end to unjustified discrimination of consumers when shopping online by defining specific situations where there can be no justification for different treatment between consumers from different EU Member States. For example, it also bans automatic re-routing to another website for reasons related to the consumer's nationality or place of residence without the consumer's prior consent.
It should be noted that digital copyrighted content, e.g. e-books, music or video games, is for the time being excluded from the scope of the draft Regulation.
The draft Regulation still needs to be put to a vote by the Parliament in an upcoming plenary session and formally approved by the Council. It will enter into force after nine months from the publication in the EU Official Journal, to allow small businesses in particular to comply with the requirements.
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