30th November 2017
Minister Pat Breen was in Brussels today to attend a day-long meeting of EU Single Market Ministers.
In a boost for consumers an agreement has been reached on an EU Regulation to prevent geo-blocking, the practice whereby consumers are charged different prices on websites based on their nationality or the location from which they are buying, or where consumers are prevented from accessing cheaper prices on different versions of a seller’s website for specific countries.
Minister Breen said “The new regulation will benefit consumers and businesses who wish to freely buy goods and services cross border but many of whom have been previously subjected to unjustified geo-blocking based on the customer’s nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market. The new regulation brings the Digital Single Market closer to full implementation by enabling customers to choose from which website they wish to buy goods and services, without being blocked or re-routed by traders.”
Minister Breen continued “We are firmly of the view that a stronger and more coherent Digital Single Market is essential to boost jobs and economic growth in all regions across Europe and to open new growth opportunities for our SMEs and to ensure our global competitiveness. The October European Council, building on the Digital Summit and the Tallin Ministerial Declaration on e-Government, has been very successful in further raising the profile of the Digital Single Market. We need to see the completion of the DSM in all its elements and we are strong supporters of the core objectives of the Digital Single Market Strategy to improve access to goods, services and content.”
During his visit to Brussels, Minister Breen also met with Commissioner Phil Hogan in advance of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting in Buenos Aires in December. The Minister and the Commissioner also discussed other Free Trade Agreement negotiations proceeding at present, and the Minister confirmed Ireland’s commitment to global trade, which is essential for facilitating Ireland continued jobs creation and economic growth.
Minister Breen also took the opportunity, while in Brussels, to meet with his UK Ministerial counterpart, Lord Henley, and reinforced the importance of making progress on all three Phase I priorities, especially as regards Northern Ireland, in order to move to Phase II future relationship issues.
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