The European Commission today released five long-awaited digital market proposals:
- The draft amendment to Europe’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This amendment would broaden the scope of audiovisual regulation by including new forms of short videos. It would impose a 20% minimum European content on VOD providers, and allow European Member States to tax some VOD services to support national cultural policies. The draft would also require video sharing platforms to implement co-regulatory measures to protect against hate speech and content harmful to children.
- The communication on regulating digital platforms. Accompanied by a detailed working document, the draft communication proposes a “problem-driven” approach to regulation, as opposed to a horizontal, one-size-fits-all, approach. Platform-based businesses are extremely diverse, and already governed by multiple legislative texts, including privacy and consumer protection rules. The Commission’s communication recommends addressing platform-related problems through these existing bodies of law wherever possible.
- The draft regulation on geo-blocking. As expected, the proposed legislation intents to ensure that consumers seeking to buy products and services in another EU Member States, be it online or in person, are not discriminated against in terms of access to prices, sales or payment conditions, unless this is objectively justified for reasons such as VAT or certain public interest legal provisions. However, in order to avoid introducing disproportionate burden on companies, the proposed Regulation contains specific exemptions, mainly for small businesses that fall under a national VAT threshold (see our earlier blog post on a leaked draft here).
- The draft regulation on parcel delivery. The Commission’s 2012 Communication on e-commerce identified improving the physical delivery of goods ordered online as one of the key elements for e-commerce growth. This draft Regulation attempts to make markets work more effectively by a) making the regulatory oversight of the parcels markets more effective and consistent and b) encouraging competition; and increase the transparency of tariffs in order to a) reduce unjustifiable tariff differences and b) lower the tariffs paid by individuals and small businesses, especially in remote areas.
- The draft consumer protection regulation. This draft Regulation is intended to develop more efficient cooperation mechanisms among national authorities in charge of the enforcement of EU consumer legislation, improve the enforcement of Union consumer law by national authorities and harmonise the cooperation framework between national authorities in the EU.