On the initiative of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, the new EU rules against geo-blocking will be signed tomorrow, on 28 February 2018, just one day after their formal adoption by EU ministers. The speedy final endorsement will help to ensure the quick implementation of the rules, putting an end to a widespread discriminatory practice within the EU. The move reflects the importance of the measures, which are designed to remove barriers for consumers in the EU. In addition, it demonstrates the Bulgarian Presidency's commitment to contributing to the setting-up of a true Digital Single Market.
The signing ceremony will take place at 12.00 on Wednesday 28 February 2018 in the European Parliament's Paul-Henri Spaak building. The rules will be signed on behalf of the Council by Ms Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, and on behalf of the European Parliament by EP President Mr Antonio Tajani.
Following their swift signing, the anti-geo-blocking rules will enter into force at the beginning of December. EU citizens will subsequently have much greater freedom when shopping online, enjoying a wider choice of products and services and access to better deals.
The European Commission proposed the new rules in May 2016. Three Council presidencies – the Netherlands, Slovak and Maltese Presidencies – worked on them before the Estonian Presidency concluded the negotiations with Parliament in the second half of 2017.
The rules will ensure that all consumers have access to the same prices, sales and payment conditions when buying products and services in another EU country. They will not apply to copyright-protected content, such as music and videos, but their scope may be reviewed at a later stage.
Digital economy and skills for the future is a key focus area of the Bulgarian Presidency. It is one the Presidency's four main priorities under which Bulgaria is working to complete EU's digital single market in order to develop the digital economy and skills.
More information about the new rules is available here.
More about the Presidency priorities in the digital domain is available here.