Top EU court : Members can ban taxi services like UberPop

Top EU court : Members can ban taxi services like UberPop

The Spanish case was brought by a taxi drivers' association in Barcelona, where belief runs high that Uber is a taxi company that should be subject to rules governing such vehicles.

The European Court of Justice said Tuesday it was OK for EU member States to ban illegal Uberpop services without giving the European Commission prior notification of the ban or any sanctions.

It's another blow for Uber after the ECJ ruled it should be regulated like a taxi company.

The EU's top court on Tuesday dealt another blow to USA taxi hailing giant Uber by backing the right of France and other member states to ban an illegal taxi service without notifying Brussels regulators.

The French company Uber France provides, by means of a smartphone application, a service called UberPop, through which it puts non-professional drivers using their own vehicle in contact with persons who wish to make urban journeys.

Uber had argued that France should have got the European Commission's backing for a new taxi law, which included a measure saying only official taxis could use geolocation technology to show available cars.

But in its Tuesday ruling, the European Court of Justice argued that since Uber was offering a transport service under EU law, the obligation to notify the Commission in advance did not apply.

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Uber, which allows users to summon a ride through an app on their smartphones, has roiled the traditional taxi industry since it launched in Europe in 2011, triggering protests and clashes with local authorities.

Last week, Uber announced it would suspend its licensed service in Greece after the approval of local legislation which imposes stricter regulation on the sector.

The proceedings concern UberPOP, which has now been suspended in France and elsewhere, while Uber's other services continue to operate, unaffected by the court proceedings.

It has also been forced to quit countries such as Denmark and Hungary.

Under EU law, Brussels should be pre-noticed on any legislation affecting digital services to ensure that it does not distort a single market.

The ECJ said that since Uber was offering a transport service under European Union law the obligation to notify the Commission in advance did not apply. Uber is still appealing against London's decision a year ago, which stripped the company of its license to operate after deeming the start-up unfit to run taxi services.

Following EU court ruling on Tuesday, Uber which has been classified as a transport service now has no protection against undue national regulation applied to digital services they usually enjoy under the EU law.

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