Just to clarify, this isn't a gouge to force you to use an EU operator's SIM card with the associated astronomical data and voice tarriffs.
Once the phone is activiated with a SIM from it's home region, an unlocked phone can then be used with a SIM from ANY other region worldwide. If you first start up the phone using a SIM code from outside of the region, it will still work wih a SIM card from within the region, but will be blocked from using a non-regional SIM code.
See uk mobile review for more info...
It isn't aimed at locking you into a region's carriers with their roaming tarriffs - it is to stop parallel import channels, although they could still work around it by shipping a PAYG sim to whereever for the user to use before their local carrier SIM.
Oh, and there are already region unlock codes available from variou sources for an additional charge.
Not draconian, and no real impact to me as an end user. I don't believe it is the thin end of the wedge either, especially with the degree of vituperation displayed based on this misunderstanding. As it has only just been discovered, but has in fact been in place since July on the Note 2, S4 and other models, it seems to be working as expected (unless you are buying from a grey importer).