On March 7, 2019, the Dutch Data Protection Authority issued a statement that under the GDPR a website cannot require visitors to accept tracking cookies to use the website (see link).
The basis for the decision was that for consent to be a valid legal basis for the processing of personal data, it must be specific, informed and freely given. However, with cookie walls, consent is not freely given because if a visitor does not consent to accepting tracking cookies, the visitor cannot use the website.
Based on that March 7th decision, a complaint was filed on April 3rd against Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe with the Irish Data Protection Commission (see link to the complaint). IAB is a industry association focused on online advertising. The complaint focuses on the cookie wall on IAB Europe's website. You must agree to all cookies to gain access to their website. It will be interesting to see if the Irish DPC agrees with the Dutch DPA concerning the lawfulness of cookie walls.
Image by Andrew Magill on Flickr and licensed under CC BY 2.0.