EU Guideline Sets Sharing Service Bans As Last Resort

Throughout the European Union, digital services like Uber and Airbnb don't get a lot of love these days. Falling under multiple heavy regulatory hands due to the nature of their services, competing with local options, and originating in another country means that these services often find themselves banned outright in some cities and countries within the EU. Home rental services in the vein of Airbnb and ride sharing services like Uber fall under particular scrutiny, since even local businesses in those areas are heavily regulated. The new guideline would see EU member states exhausting all other options before issuing bans on these services.

The guidelines come on the heels of a strong push to regulate or even outright destroy what's becoming known as the "sharing economy", where private citizens share their private goods and services with others, often at far lower rates than professionals; whereas a hotel manager may have to include applicable room taxes, business licensing fees and the cost of keeping staff into the prices of rooms, a private person sharing their home on Airbnb will likely only have to pay income tax on what they charged their guest, at roughly the same rate as normal employment. Court battles have also broken out as to the nature of these businesses in the past, with some ongoing. Uber, for example, claims exemption from the heady regulations of the EU's transport law by claiming to merely be a digital meetup service of sorts, where willing drivers can match up with willing passengers.

According to the commission, speaking in particular of Airbnb, which has been all but banned in Berlin, imposing a limit on how long a room in a private home can be rented out seems reasonable, making it "difficult to justify" banning the service outright, or taking an approach like Berlin, where city officials have promised to veto at least 95 percent of requests to engage in short-term rental of living space. While those two services and others like them are having a tough enough time with the government, local businesses that compete with them have been petitioning and protesting widely, leading to the current state of affairs.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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