Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. The European Commission also made statements on fair taxation packages and the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of revelations on emission tests on monkeys and humans by the German car industry. Parliament decided to set up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST). Parliament adopted agreed first-reading positions on, inter alia, a regulation on ending unjustified geo-blocking and two regulations on EU external action funds – among the priorities for 2018 in the Joint Declaration agreed by the Council, Commission and Parliament.
This leaflet provides abstracts of selection of latest publications prepared by the European Parliament’s Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policy at the request of the IMCO Committee in relation to the geo-blocking phenomenon.
Online buyers will have wider and easier cross-border access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets in the EU.
Geo-blocking practices commonly restrict cross-border sales of tangible goods as well as of electronically supplied services and electronically delivered content services in the EU. In May 2016, the European Commission proposed a new regulation that prohibits online sellers of tangible goods, and of some types of electronically supplied services, from discriminating among customers based on their nationality or place of residence within the European Union. In November 2017, after protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed to ban some types of unjustified geo-blocking practices. However, the ban will not apply initially to content and services protected under copyright (for instance, e-books and downloads of music and audiovisual content). At the request of the Parliament, a review clause has been introduced which requires the Commission to re-examine the situation two years after the entry into force of the regulation.
Good news for online shoppers: geo-blocking and country redirects could stop by the end of 2018 in the EU under new rules to be adopted by MEPs.
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has adopted its position on the mid-term review of the Digital Single Market. Rapporteur Alin Nica (RO/EPP), Mayor of Dudeștii Noi, highlights that cities and regions are in key position to harness the growth potential of the digital economy but draws attention to the digital divide, the prevention of cyberattacks and the protection of personal data.
In May 2016, the European Commission proposed a new regulation that prohibits online sellers of physical goods and of some types of electronically supplied services and content from discriminating among customers based on their nationality or place of residence within the European Union. The Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal during the February I plenary session.
Since 1995, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have driven productivity gains and growth in the EU. The concept of ICTs covers a broad spectrum of technologies, ranging from information technology (IT) through telecommunications, broadcast media, and all types of audio and video processing and transmission to network-based control and monitoring functions. Over the past three decades, technological ‘convergence’ has been blurring the boundaries between telecommunications, broadcasting and IT. Although linear broadcasting continues to be the principal medium of information distribution and entertainment in Europe, more and more audiovisual content is available on demand, while exponential growth in 4G and 5G internet connectivity and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) gives the internet an increasingly ubiquitous dimension. With a view to addressing the different challenges, the Commission launched the digital single market in 2015 to deliver the main legislative proposals set as priority, such as boosting e-commerce, copyright, audiovisuals, the telecoms review, ePrivacy, harmonisation of digital rights, affordable parcel delivery, harmonised VAT rules and cybersecurity.
Some difficulties still hinder cross-border sales.