April 24, 2016 Questions to the EU Commission

Enable wider access to content in the EU

MEP Tonino Picula turned to the European Commission because EU citizens who travel within the EU are denied to watch certain movies, series, sports transmissions, music, e-books or games, for which they paid in their countries. This happens because of the geo-blocking - restricting the purchase, payment or delivery between buyers and sellers from different countries .

Picula pointed out that this is one of the reasons for small scale cross-border shopping and stresses that geo-blocking, in addition to limiting the availability for certain customers, is a significant obstacle for the development of a Digital Single Market and has a significant economic impact.

That is why he asked the Commission: "what specific steps will the Commission take to ensure that in the Member States the importance of the digital single market will be emphasised more strongly, as this will help to reduce the economic disparities between Member States in terms of access and business practices?"

"All citizens who travel throughout the EU must have access to music, movies and games that they subscribe to in the same extent as if they were at home", warned MEP Picula. He asked the EC as regards the proposal for a regulation on the cross-border portability of online content services and the stated intention of considering what proposal might be needed to translate service portability into reality, when will binding legislation be adopted to enable subscription content to be made portable across borders. 

"Taking into account communication COM(2015)0192 and going beyond individual investigations into entities allegedly infringing single market rules, what additional legislative measures will the Commission take with a view to lowering the incidence of geo-blocking in all its forms (related to the type of goods or services being purchased, payment, delivery, and so on)?"

In 2015, 63% of Europeans shopped online. There are, however, considerable percentage differences from one Member State to the next (the figure for Croatia, for example, is 40%). This applies particularly to cross-border shopping, an option of which 18% of consumers in the EU (12% in Croatia) make use.

One of the reasons for the modest scale of cross-border e-commerce is geo-blocking, that is to say, restrictions imposed on buying, payment, or delivery when buyers and sellers are not from the same country. As well as limiting accessibility for individual buyers, geo-blocking is a major obstacle to the development of the digital single market and has far-reaching economic consequences.

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