From 3rd of December Irish people will be able to shop online without unjustified geo-blocking wherever they are in the EU.
Geo-blocking is the practice of using territorial licensing restrictions in online and offline transactions of physical goods and the provision of electronic services. It stops customers in one country from accessing websites in other countries.
Currently some traders still make it difficult for customers from another EU Member State to buy online or to benefit from equally advantageous prices in comparison with local client.
At the European Parliament recently we met to take stock of the progress made in breaking down the barriers to e-commerce in the EU and discuss next opportunities and challenges.
As of 3rd December, Europeans will be able to shop online without unjustified geo-blocking wherever they are in the EU. Citizens will be able to compare parcel delivery costs more easily and benefit from more affordable prices for cross-border parcel delivery.
Other proposals are being currently discussed in the European Parliament or negotiated between the institutions, such as contract rules for sale of goods and supply of digital content and the new deal for consumers. The aim is to agree on these new rules before the end of the current European Parliament legislature so that consumers and businesses take all the advantages of online commerce.
I also encourage companies to apply for the Enterprise Ireland Online Retail Scheme which is now open for applications. The €1.25m fund is aimed at helping online retailers develop their online presence.
Having a good online presence can be very valuable for companies. If a retailer is trying to sell goods further afield it is important that they have a good website to display their products. I would encourage businesses to apply for funding as part of this initiative. The retail sector is vital to the Irish economy and it is great to see initiatives such as this being made available to encourage companies to grow and develop.
The Online Retail Scheme is open to applications from retail SMEs with 20 – 249 employees (FTEs) based across the island of Ireland, and who have a retail outlet. Further information on the Scheme and details on how to apply are available at www.enterprise-ireland.com/