Photo: European Parliament
As of December 2018, consumers in Europe will be able to make their online purchases from any Member State, irrespective of where they are currently based, and businesses will be able to offer their goods and services to any of the 500 million customers across the EU.
This has been made possible following the signing today – by Ms Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the 2018 Council of the EU, and Mr Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament – of the new rules putting an end to geo-blocking, the practice of denying access to good and services depending on where the consumer comes from or is currently resident.
Ms Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, was also present.
Ms Pavlova said:
"Today is an important day for all of us, as Europeans and as consumers. As of the end of this year, we will be provided with better deals and wider choice of services and goods for our online purchases."
She added that today's final adoption of the rules is a major step towards the completion of the Digital Single Market, which in itself is one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency.
The new rules, which the Commission proposed in May 2016, ensure that all consumers and companies have the same access to the same prices and the same sales and payment conditions when buying products and services in another EU country. The new rules do not apply to copyright-protected content, such as music and videos, but the scope may be reviewed at a later stage.
Pictures and video footage from today's signing ceremony are available here.