Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Commission to publish guidelines on Uber-like activities

  • "We have to allow new business models to appear in Europe," Katainen (l) and Bienkowska (r) said. (Photo: Thierry Monasse)

The European Commission will publish guidelines next year on how the EU should deal with the so-called sharing economy sector, exemplified by online platforms such as Uber or Airbnb, it said on Wednesday (28 October).

The move is part of a larger Single Market roadmap presented by the Commission's vice-president for growth and jobs Jyrki Katainen and industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The Commission will push for harmonisation on regulated professions, like hairdressers. (Photo: wikipedia)

The road map will also include more powers to guarantee consumers' protection, a streamlining of procedures for service providers who want to operate in other EU countries, a simplified VAT regulation and a review of regulated professions in Europe.

"Many areas in our market have changed," Katainen said, adding that "challenges from outside of Europe have not been addressed" by the Commission.

"We have to create new opportunities in the internal market," he said.

'It will grow'

Among these challenges, the emergence of new players like the taxi service Uber or the accommodation platform Airbnb have caused unrest in several countries.

"It is a relatively new phenomenon," Katainen acknowledged.

"In various member states, there tends to be a basic instinct to kill new business models in favour of traditional ways to do things, which is not necessarily always good."

"We have to look at constructive ways to fill the regulatory gap and at the same time allow new business models to appear in Europe."

In 2016, the Commission will therefore publish guidelines to tell member states how EU law can apply to these new business.

The guidelines will come out of a review of existing EU laws like the services directive, the e-commerce directive or the unfair contract terms directive.

"These companies have to pay taxes, and the consumer and health protection must be fulfilled," Bienkowska said.

The commissioners did not, however, sound hostile to the Uber-like businesses.

"Whether we want it or not, it will grow," Bienkowska said. "We cannot stop this way of doing business. We just have to have common European rules."

"It would be sad if Europe was [the] only continent to deny new business models," Katainen said.

With its roadmap on Single Market, the Commission wants to support the Juncker investment plan as well as the energy and capital market unions and the digital single market.

"Once we have implemented all this, Europe will be a totally different continent: more competitive, more growth-friendly and it will create new innovations to create more jobs," Katainen promised.

Services

The commissioners insisted on the need to implement and enforce existing rules. But they announced new initiatives next year.

The EU executive will develop a "services passport", allowing service providers to file only in the first EU country where they want to work. But it will not reopen the services directive.

To help labour mobility, the Commission will also push member states to harmonise the 5,000 regulated professions in the EU - some of which are only regulated in one country.

Unveiled a few days before British prime minister David Cameron outlines UK demands for EU reforms, the roadmap was welcomed by the UK's business minister.

"We have been calling for the EU to open up the single market and it’s encouraging to see this ambitious package that will bring real benefits for working people as well as new opportunities for British businesses,"Lucy Neville-Rolfe said.

"The UK government has led the way in pushing for these reforms and will continue to press for further action, as more needs to be done to get the EU backing innovative businesses," she said, referring to the Commission's position on sharing economy.

In a press release, the Liberal ALDE party "welcomed' the Commission's plans but said that "much more must be done to open up the single market, in particular to help SMEs and digital start-ups."

"It will be successful only if it promotes real new opportunities and further enhances cross-border activities," ALDE said.

Reacting to plans to simplify EU VAT regulation, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said that "reducing complexity of VAT regulations for small companies’ cross-border operations is a laudable aim" but that "it rarely turns out to be the case that small businesses are given adequate consideration."

Opinion

It's time to ditch EU anti-Uber business rules

Should Uber drivers be licensed in the same way as taxi drivers? A case at the EU court of justice should be an opportunity to make innovation and entrepreneurship easier.

Baltic states demand bigger EU budget

The leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania say in a joint letter that they are open to talks on creating "new own resources" for a bigger EU budget after the UK leaves the EU.

Opinion

Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme

Growth predictions are positive, exports increasing, unemployment dropping and credit-ratings up, says the head of Greece's Syriza delegation to the European Parliament. Now the government in Athens is looking to design its own reform programme.

Analysis

We are not (yet) one people

Talks on the next EU budget will start on Friday. Brussels wants to do much more than before – and needs a lot more money. But arguing about funds won't be enough.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  2. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  3. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  4. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired
  5. Luxembourg and Ireland pay highest minimum wages
  6. Freedom of expression under threat in Spain, warn MEPs
  7. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  8. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  4. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  5. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  2. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  3. European far-right political party risks collapse
  4. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table
  5. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  6. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  7. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  8. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?