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Business

Brussels presents package to reform digital economy

The European Commission has come up with a package of measures to help create a single digital market in the 28-member bloc. The focus is on providers of video streaming services and TV advertising.

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a reform of the bloc's broadcasting rules which included an obligation on providers of online video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon to devote at least a fifth of their catalog to European films.

Member countries would also be put in a position to make such streaming services invest more resources in the production of European films, Brussels said.

The EU executive also came out in favor of introducing new rules to stop websites from denying access to online shoppers from other member states, referring to a common practice called geoblocking.

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The success of streaming services

Removing discrimination

"All too often people are blocked from accessing the best offers when shopping online," European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip said in a statement. "Discrimination between EU consumers based on the objective to segment markets along national borders

has no place in our single market,"

Internal Market Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska added.

Another proposal in the package of measures sought to grant television stations more freedom with regard to advertising airtime. While continuing to allow them to reserve 20 percent of their airtime for advertising between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., stations would now be able to spread their blocks in a more flexible way, Brussels announced.

The Commission said it would also take measures to help lower fees for delivering parcels across borders within the bloc, but a cap on costs was not on the table right now, it added.

The new rules will become law when approved by the European Parliament and national governments.

hg/jd (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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