Court´s opinion could spell end for Uber and Airbnb in Europe
People could be prevented from using or working for services such as uber and airbnb following an opinion issued by the European Court of Justice today.
The opinion from the Advocate General of the ECJ follows a case that has been brought by Spanish taxi drivers against the ride sharing service Uber. It found that Uber should be regulated like a transportation company, not as an ‘information society service’.
If the opinion is upheld it will subject these kind of services with new regulations, for example they be could required to apply for specific licences or be restricted in number as is the case with taxis in a number of European cities in an attempt to keep prices artificially high.
The final verdict of the ECJ will be produced in the coming months and will determine if Uber should be classified as a transport company or as a passive internet intermediary, or possibly a combination of the two. Typically the ECJ judges follow the opinion of the Advocate General. It is also feared that the case could have knock-on effects for other sharing economy services such as blablacar and Airbnb.
Speaking after the opinion was issued, Dan Dalton, European Conservatives and Reformists spokesman on the EU internal market said:
“The opinion given today has huge implications for innovative, consumer driven digital services all across Europe.
“Consumers embrace services like Uber because they deliver good services at good prices, in contrast to old monopolies which have not kept pace with digital evolutions. Workers embrace them because they offer flexible working times & conditions.
“It is right that there are safeguards for consumers, but applying analogue era regulation to the digital world only strangles innovation and entrenches privileged monopolies.
“The European Union talks of prioritising the digital single market because of the benefits for growth and for consumers. How exactly is the Digital Single Market delivering for consumers when services they like and want to use are banned?”