On 25 May 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) unveiled a package of measures in the context of its Digital Single Market (“DSM”) Strategy for the European Union (“EU”) that included four legislative proposals designed to boost e-commerce in the EU by tackling unjustified geo-blocking, cross-border parcel delivery, consumer protection and EU audiovisual rules. The package also includes a communication on online platforms, commented here.
Overall the package is more cautious than might have been expected given some of the rhetoric a year or so ago. The Commission appears to be concerned about interfering unduly with existing market structures and practices, and possibly also about the perpetually difficult interaction between intellectual property and competition law.
One consequence of the package may be that ongoing competition investigations and sector inquiries could have more impact on markets in the short-term than legislation.
Certain aspects of this package will be discussed in three separate notes. This note focuses on the Commission’s legislative proposals on geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market (the “Proposed Regulation”). The second note addresses the Commission’s proposals relating to online platforms, and the third the Commission’s proposed revisions to the Audiovidual Media Services Directive (“AVMS”).