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Geographically based restrictions undermine online shopping and cross-border sales in the Digital Single Market. The Commission put an end to unjustified geo-blocking rules, which apply since 3 December 2018.

What is unjustified geo-blocking?

Discrimination between EU customers to segment markets along national borders and to increase profits to the detriment of foreign customers, is considered as unjustified geo-blocking.

The regulation

The geo-blocking regulation defines three specific situations of unjustified geo-blocking:

  • The sale of goods without physical delivery

Example: A Belgian customer wishes to buy a refrigerator and finds the best deal on a German website. The customer will be entitled to order the product and collect it at the trader's premises or organise delivery himself to his home.

  • The sale of electronically supplied services

Example: A Bulgarian consumer wishes to buy hosting services for her website from a Spanish company. She will now have access to the service, can register and buy this service without having to pay additional fees compared to a Spanish consumer.

  • The sale of services provided in a specific physical location

Example: An Italian family visits a French theme park and wishes to take advantage of a family discount on the price of the entry tickets. The discounted price will be available for the Italian family.

There are also justified reasons for traders not to sell cross-border. Such as the need to register at a tax authority in the country of destination, higher shipping costs or costs arising from the application of foreign consumer law. While outside barriers create additional complications and extra costs for the trader, differences in the treatment of customers are based on objective criteria.

For better understanding of the regulation, the Commission issued a detailed Questions & Answers document and a MEMO.

This regulation was part of an e-commerce package together with a legislative proposal on cross-border parcel delivery services and a legislative proposal to strengthen enforcement of consumers' rights.

First Report

Within two years after the entry into force of the new rules, the Commission had to carry out a first evaluation of their impact on the internal market.

The Commission included in its evaluation an assessment of the scope of the rules. This included possible application of the new rules to certain electronically supplied services which offer copyright-protected content such as music, e-books, software and online games, as well as of services in sectors such as transport and audio-visual.

The Report was adopted on 30 November 2020.

Read the main conclusions of the evaluation report 


The Commission will continue monitoring data and evidence related to the application of the Geo-blocking Regulation and invites all stakeholders and citizens to provide feedback via e-mail on the Report and the accompanying evidence, also in view of the possible long-term effects of the COVID-19 on cross-border commerce.

Useful links

Implementation of geo-blocking by Member States

Flag of Austria Austria

Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of Belgium Belgium Flag of Latvia Latvia
Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria Flag of Lithuania Lithuania
Flag of Croatia Croatia Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg
Flag of Cyprus Cyprus Flag of Malta Malta
Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands
Flag of Denmark Denmark Flag of Poland Poland
Flag of Estonia Estonia Flag of Portugal Portugal
Flag of Finland Finland Flag of Romania Romania
Flag of France France Flag of Slovakia Slovakia
Flag of Germany Germany Flag of Slovenia Slovenia
Flag of Greece Greece Flag of Spain Spain
Flag of Hungary Hungary Flag of Sweden Sweden
Flag of Ireland Ireland  

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Big Picture

Online Platforms

The European Commission wants online platforms to thrive, and users to be treated fairly and be protected against illegal content.

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