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Unfair geoblocking must be tackled at EU level – Minister Mitchell O’Connor

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor will be in Brussels today to attend a day-long meeting of EU Single Market Ministers.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor will support the proposal for 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.

“I believe that the implementation of this Regulation, after it is agreed with the European Parliament, will prove to be of significant benefit to Irish and European consumers and small businesses when it comes to customers who are looking for choice and value. Many Irish people will be shopping online in the run up to Christmas and we should not be paying over the odds for goods that are cheaper from other locations. This requires EU-wide rather than country specific regulation”, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor will also participate in a discussion on achieving greater progress on Europe’s Single Market, following an Irish-led initiative where the Minister, together with her counterparts from nine other EU countries – including the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom – last week jointly called on the European Commission to introduce ambitious measures to make it easier for businesses to provide services on a cross-border basis into other EU Member States.

“A business should be able to go anywhere in Europe and provide its services without being confronted with disproportionate and unjustified requirements. This is currently not the case”, Minister Mitchell O’Connor remarked. “European service providers are still confronted with too many obstacles across the EU. It is time that we make a real effort to strengthen the Single Market for services, and turn the principle of free movement of services into a greater reality”.

“One important instrument that can tackle specific barriers is the proposed European Services Card”, Minister Mitchell O’Connor continued. “Last week I, together with my Ministerial colleagues from nine other EU countries, called on the European Commission to be ambitious in developing this proposal. The Services Card has the potential to be a catalyst for real improvement in the cross-border provision of services if it can make substantive progress towards removing barriers, especially for small businesses seeking to grow by selling their services into other EU states”.

“We must remember that Irish businesses have access to the largest market in the world – the EU Single Market – and at today’s Ministerial meeting I will be calling for greater progress to be made in realising the full potential of this market for all of our businesses.”

ENDS

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