The European Union unveiled proposals Wednesday to make firms lift international barriers for Internet shoppers, and to force Netflix and Amazon to accept quotas for European movies and TV shows.
The plan is the latest step toward what Brussels calls a "digital single market," in which the EU's 500 million people will no longer be blocked from buying goods and services more cheaply abroad online. Critics, however, have branded the separate proposal to compel streaming giants like Netflix to devote 20 percent of their content to European programming "prehistoric" and protectionist. A key part aims to ban "geoblocking," whereby customers are limited to websites in their home countries for services like car hire or travel, and are blocked from seeking better prices on foreign sites.
Automatically rerouting customers to a local version of the online service will be forbidden. Greater access is considered vital, as an EC study in March showed an increasing number of goods and services are traded over the Internet while cross-border online sales within the EU are only growing slowly.