Online retailers could soon be banned from redirecting European shoppers to country-specific stores under a new 16 point plan to create a single European digital market.
EU bosses say such ‘geo-blocking’ is often “discriminatory” as it stops consumers shopping around for the best prices and deals.
While stores selling restricted items such as tobacco will still be able to limit access to ensure compliance with national laws, most retailers could be forced to accept orders from shoppers in any EU country.
Stricter consumer protection rules and more consistent enforcement are promised to help encourage more people to take advantage of this new right to shop cross-border.
The Digital Single Market initiative would also entitle citizens to access digital content they bought in their home country while travelling to another EU country.
Services such as the BBC’s iPlayer, Sky and BT Sport – which all block their content to viewers outside the UK – could be forced to change their policies as a result.
And US tech giants including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are set to come under scrutiny from a new inquiry into the role search engines, app stores and social media networks play in the digital economy.
Other proposals include making it easier for business to trade cross border and closer harmonisation of copyright laws across all EU nations.
Publishing the Digital Single Market plan, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said: ”Today, we lay the groundwork for Europe’s digital future.
“I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe.
“Exactly a year ago, I promised to make a fully Digital Single Market one of my top priorities. Today, we are making good on that promise.”