EU Top Court Strikes Regulatory Blow Against Uber

PBS NewsHour reports:

Ride-hailing service Uber suffered a new blow Wednesday as the European Union’s top court ruled that it should be regulated like a taxi company and not a technology service, a decision that crimps its activities around Europe and could weigh on other app-based companies, too.

Uber, which is wrapping up a particularly punishing year, sought to play down the ruling Wednesday by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

The court decision could pave the way for new regulation of other internet-based businesses, and reflects a larger dilemma about how governments should treat companies that operate online and don’t fit in with traditional laws.

More from the Guardian:

The decision in Luxembourg, after a challenge brought by taxi drivers in Barcelona, will apply across the whole of the EU, including the UK. It cannot be appealed against.

Lawyers for Barcelona’s Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi argued that Uber was directly involved in carrying passengers. EU rules on the freedom to provide services expressly exclude transport.

Within the UK, it may be noted that the ECJ, repeatedly derided by Brexit supporters, appears to have come to the rescue of hard-pressed taxi drivers across Britain and Europe.