On the move: how the EU has made it easier to shop and access content online 

 
 

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Travel, shop, watch and call throughout the EU with no barriers and no additional costs. This is what the EU's internal market is all about and what Parliament is fighting for.

 Online shopping: fewer borders make for better deals

 

The majority of shopping websites in the EU do not let consumers buy from another EU country, according to European Commission figures. However, this Christmas might be the last time consumers have to put up with this so called geo-blocking. In November 2017, the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council, representing national governments, to eliminate it for online shopping. By Christmas 2018, online shoppers should no longer face such forms of discrimination while automatic re-routing to the local version of the website would also be banned. Goods and services affected by the new rules include among others household appliances, electronics, clothes, hotel stays, rentals and event tickets.

 

Opening up the EU online market also makes it necessary to improve the conditions of delivery and the protection of consumers. For more affordable and efficient parcel deliveries to other EU countries, MEPs asked for a regulatory oversight of the delivery prices all over the EU.

 

Consumers also need to be protected in case the product they purchased doesn't work. The first ever EU-wide rules on digital contracts were approved in November 2017. Under these rules, online shoppers will be entitled to repairs or refund in case games, apps and songs bought online in the EU do not work.

 

Improving access to digital content

 

More than half (53%) of EU citizens watch films and TV series online more than once a week and from 2018 they will be able to continue to do so when they are in another EU country. In May 2017, MEPs approved new rules that will allow users to enjoy their online subscriptions when travelling in the EU. Everyone who has paid for the right to watch, listen or read online content from a provider in their home country, will be allowed to do so in any other EU country where they are staying for a limited period. Member states have to apply the new regulation over the course of 2018.

 

In order to enjoy digital content users need reliable high-speed connections. WIFI4EU, a funding scheme to promote free wifi connectivity in public spaces across the EU could be open for applications from public entities in early 2018. MEPs approved it in September 2017.  The objective of the WIFI4EU European initiative is to provide more than 6,000 communities across the EU with free high-speed wifi connection by 2020.

 

In addition from 15 June 2017, wherever you are travelling to in the EU, you can call, send a text message and browse the internet at the same conditions you enjoy in your home country. In the Telecoms reform, adopted in October 2017, Parliament's internal market committee also asked for lower prices for international EU calls.