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15th Apr 2024

Brussels to file EU sanctions for violent games sale

  • EU urges crack down on the sales of violent computer and video games (Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org)

The European Commission is planning to introduce a list of common sanctions against retailers selling violent video games to children while leaving it to member states to identify such games.

EU justice and security commissioner Franco Frattini told journalists on Wednesday (10 January) that he would file new and stricter rules governing the sale of video games to children under 16 before this year's summer break.

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"I do want to harmonise rules punishing people illegally selling products, people not controlling and checking identity," he said, according to Reuters.

However, he stressed that the EU executive would abstain from suggesting what kind of video material should be banned for younger kids, adding "We cannot judge from Brussels which videogames should be prohibited."

Speaking about the topic in the European Parliament last December, Mr Frattini suggested that the Brussels' package could include new age restrictions on certain games as well as stronger parental advisory warnings.

The commissioner is confident he can push through the proposal as he has so far received support from eight countries - Germany, Britain, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Finland, France and Spain.

The German presidency has put the issue of violent video and computer games on the agenda of the forthcoming informal meeting of justice and interior ministers gathering in Dresden on 15 - 16 January.

The EU's initiative came after last November's incident in a German town of Emsdetten where 18-year old Sebastian Bosse - known to be a computer games addict - wounded eleven students at his school and then killed himself.

The industry currently operates a self-regulated ratings system for video and computer games, based on the 2003 Pan European Game Information.

But retailers in most EU countries are not legally obliged to restrict the sale of adult classified products. Moreover, there are huge differences among the member states on how they judge unacceptable material.

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