Thursday March 26,2015 : EUROPEAN COMMISSION WOULD LIKE TO SEE AN END TO GEO-BLOCKING
But don't get your hopes up…online gambling would be an exception.
The European Union's commissioner for a single digital market, Andreas Ansip, gave an insight Wednesday on his strategic plans for the future, due for publication in May this year.
These include moves to put a stop to geo-blocking in the EU, which in Ansip's logical mind "cannot co-exist" with the concept of an EU internal market.
Ansip wants “Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services; shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish; and creating a European digital economy and society with long-term growth potential”.
Unfortunately for the online gambling industry, he immediately qualified that broad objective by saying that it would not apply to internet gambling
“When for example in one country online gambling is prohibited, then geoblocking is absolutely acceptable,” he told the publication EU Observer.
“If there are differences in national legalizations, and [geo-blocking] is the only possibility to protect people in the country, then it's acceptable. But deep in my heart I would like to say: I hate geoblocking. I think this is old-fashioned, this is not fair. We don't have to use that kind of instruments in the 21st century.”
Ansip pointed out that despite years of campaigning for an open EU market, many of the borders that no longer exist in the physical environment exist, remain online in the form of geo-blocking for a variety of motivations.
“There are two logics. The logic of geo-blocking and the logic of internal market. We have to make our choice. Those two, they cannot coexist," said Ansip.
The commissioner is under no illusions regarding the magnitude of the task, or the opposition that will be encountered by different member nations. "It will be an uphill struggle," he predicted, observing that vested interests are set to lobby MEPs and national governments, who have the final say on the EC plans.
One area where he has already encountered opposition is in the proposal to abolish cellphone roaming charges, which a number of national governments have already delayed for years.