Sunday

20th Jan 2019

Focus

EU court to classify Uber: taxi or information company?

  • Uber says “established companies” are using the current rules to "protect themselves from new and innovative services like Uber" (Photo: Lucía Ponce)

A Spanish judge has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to determine what kind of company Uber is, and if Spain was allowed to ban its app UberPop.

The referral to the European court was announced Monday (20 July) by Mark MacGann, head of public policy at Uber, in an online press conference.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The EU's highest court will determine if Uber provides “a mere transport activity, or an electronic intermediation or information society service”.

The court will rule “whether the restriction that Spain is imposing on Uber, which is incorporated as company in the Netherlands … [is] allowed; if the Uber service is able to benefit from the principle of the freedom to provide services” as guaranteed in EU law.

Uber has been struggling with local and national authorities in Europe. A European ruling in their favour could change its fortune in the bloc.

Its service UberPop, which allows drivers without a taxi license to sell rides, has been banned in several EU member states. Most judges have in essence argued that UberPop is providing a taxi service, and that its customers need the same safety guarantees that taxi consumers have.

In some member states, like Spain and France, Uber suspended its app. Two executives of the company will face trial in France at the end of September.

Uber, for its part, says “established companies” are using the EU's “patchwork of rules and regulations … to protect themselves from new and innovative services like Uber to the detriment of European consumers”.

MacGann said Uber “welcomes” the referral to the court, as well as a separate decision by the European Commission to investigate a complaint by Uber against Germany.

Even if the Luxembourg-based court rules Uber is a transport company, MacGann said it may still profit from rules which prohibit unfair and disproportionate limits on companies based in other EU countries (in Uber's case the Netherlands).

“The decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the decisions of the European Commission rarely, if ever, have the effect of closing markets or restricting competition,” noted MacGann.

He said Uber expects a decision by autumn 2016.

Uber suspends taxi app in Spain

The American app company Uber has suspended its ride-sharing service UberPop in Spain, after a court in Madrid banned the app.

Bad week in Europe for Uber

Two European courts banned the service UberPop, and a regional minister from Brussels announced tough measures.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?

The success of the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) will depend on whether data protection authorities enforce the new rules - which, in turn, will be at least partly determined by how many people they employ.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us