26 May. 2023 12:30

The single market that isn't

As it stands at the moment, traders may freely choose to restrict deliveries to specific areas. In certain cases, that is reasonable and makes perfect sense. Nobody expects to order a pizza from Italy and have it delivered in Finland. As the recital of the Geoblocking regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/302) also states, there are in some cases national rules (e.g., related to labelling or various conformance requirements) that make it impractical for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to serve the entire EU/EEA market. However, these exceptions are being abused by companies whose delivery restrictions in many cases appear to be motivated by a simple "I cannot be bothered" approach or worse, a downright xenophobic attitude. As a case in point, I often order computer parts from suppliers across Europe as their offer is generally wider and better priced than what I can find locally in the Czech Republic. It then becomes an obstacle course trying to find a supplier that will agree to ship to this country, even though logistically it would not make any difference to them. I propose that the relevant EU e-commerce laws be reviewed and where necessary, modified in such a way that, where a business serves a substantial part of their own national market (as opposed to their local area), they are in principle obliged to also ship to all other EU countries, provided that the items being sold are not per se illegal in the destination country. Responsibility for any compliance issues (such as labelling, etc.) could be transferred to the buyer in a caveat emptor approach. The current situation only benefits the e-commerce giants, none of which are European, creating a serious risk of market distortion.

26 May. 2023 12:30

Review of request


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