Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

Uber to appeal decision to halt Brussels ops

  • UberPop has been ordered to stop operating in Brussels after a complaint from the city's top taxi firm (Photo: Arild Nybo)

The popular peer-to-peer car-hailing service Uber will appeal a Belgian court decision to shut down the unlicensed version of its controversial app in Brussels.

A spokesperson from the US-based company told Reuters on Thursday (24 September) that they would appeal a legal decision that requires them to end the Brussels service within 21 days.

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

Uber allows people without taxi permits to sell rides via mobile phone app UberPop.

The court delivered its verdict on Thursday following a complaint from taxi operator, Taxi Vert. The court decision does not affect the premium version of the app known as UberX that relies on professional drivers.

Traditional taxi services in Brussels last week blocked streets as part of a broader protest against Uber, which they say is unfairly undercutting their business.

Filip Nuytemans, general manager of Uber Belgium, said in response to the protests that laws "should be adapted to allow competition and innovation".

Unlike taxi drivers, UberPop drivers are not licensed. Uber fares are also cheaper and its app provides on-the-spot service that allows users to estimate rates before hailing a vehicle.

The latest court verdict means Belgium could join France, Germany, Italy, and Spain where UberPop is outlawed.

The company lost an appeal in France after the French constitutional court upheld its ban on Thursday.

The Belgian court had already issued an injunction in April 2014. That verdict, which went largely ignored, threatened Uber drivers with a €10,000 fine for every pick-up attempt.

Neelie Kroes, who was EU Commissioner for the digital agenda at the time, said the court decision was "not about protecting or helping passengers – it's about protecting a taxi cartel".

The European Commission launched a competition probe over the summer, following a complaint from Uber that Germany's laws on taxis violate EU law.

Meanwhile, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is in the process of determining whether the Uber app is a transport service or a digital service.

The verdict could have large ramifications. If the judges declare Uber is a transport service, then company would fall under tougher national regulations.

A judgement is expected 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.

Opinion

Brussels: The city that just doesn't give a damn

Welcome to Brussels - the global headquarters of hypocrisy, where calls for budget cuts and flexible labour forces are made by well-paid bureaucrats with jobs for life.

Magazine

Uber still divides Europe

Uber says national regulations are often outdated, but taxi drivers still see the app as unfair competition.

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  2. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  3. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  4. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  5. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  6. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  7. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  8. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us