The EU Says Uber is Still Counts as a Taxi Service, Even in France

By Tom Pritchard on at

For as long as it's existed, Uber has maintained that it's a technology company designed to link customers with independent drivers who can take them places. It's not a taxi or transport company, so it shouldn't have to be legislated like one, is the argument, but it hasn't had much luck convincing governments and regulators of that fact.

The latest development involves France trying to ban UberPop, which utilities unlicensed drivers to ferry people around. Uber insisted that because it was an information society service, and not a taxi service, it actually falls under the jurisdiction of rules laid out by an EU directive on technical standards and regulations. The Court of Justice of the European Union doesn't agree though, which means France is more than free to ban UberPop if it wants to.

The idea behind the rules is that EU member states have to inform the union about draft rules or legislation that cover technical regulations of information services or products. That way the EU can make sure they conform to the rules governing the digital single market. Because France didn't do this with criminal legislation that's being utilised to charge Uber France, the ECJ noted that “Uber France infers from this that it cannot therefore be prosecuted on the charges”. It then had to remind the company that last year saw the ECJ rule UberPop Spain was a transport service. Seeing as how the services are "essentially identical" in both countries, there's no change.

“As the UberPop service does not therefore come within the scope of the directive, the Court accordingly concludes that the obligation to notify the Commission in advance, provided for in that directive, cannot apply. It follows that the French authorities were not required to notify the Commission in advance of the draft criminal legislation in question.”

An Uber spokeswoman told The Register:

"This case is about whether a French law from 2014 should have been pre-notified to the European Commission and related to peer-to-peer services which we stopped in 2015. As our new CEO has said, it is appropriate to regulate services such as Uber and so we will continue the dialogue with cities across Europe.”

[The Register]

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