July 27, 2017

Uber suffers setback as EU court aide says it’s more than an app

UBER Logo on black background
Image Courtesy of UBER

Uber Technologies suffered a legal setback in its fight against being regulated as a traditional taxi service, after an adviser to the European Union’s top court rejected the argument that the car-hailing application is just that, an app.

The question has vexed regulators and lawmakers across the region for years and Thursday’s non-binding opinion gives an indication that Uber might not be able to shake off national restrictions, such as the obligation to get a license or other authorizations.

“The Uber electronic platform, whilst innovative, falls within the field of transport,” Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, of the EU Court of Justice, said in a statement on his opinion in Luxembourg on Thursday. “Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations under national law.”

The car-hailing application accessed via smartphones and tablets has faced roadblocks, real and regulatory, across Europe, amid complaints brought by taxi drivers who say the company tries to unfairly avoid regulations that bind established competitors. Uber sees itself as an app, and defended that position last month again in the EU court in a separate, French case, which continued to puzzle the EU’s top judges.

Uber claims it should be exempt from the obligations normal transportation […]

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