EU Adviser: France May Regulate Uber On Its Own

An adviser to the European Union's top court states that France, a member state of the bloc, has the right to make its own regulations concerning ride-sharing platforms like Uber without the need to inform the EU. This opinion, even if non-binding, is seen as a major setback to the ride-sharing platform in its efforts to evade regulations imposed by EU member countries. According to the opinion submitted by the advocate general of the EU Maciej Szpunar, Uber's nature of operations should merit the platform's recognition as a transport service. Based on the current EU rules, individual member countries may impose its own rules and regulations regarding transport services. However, Uber claims that the rules imposed by the French government are technically digital service regulations. Thus, France should have notified the EU about the new rules before it can be imposed. Uber recognizes itself as a digital service and therefore, any rule imposed by member countries on the platform should go through the EU.

The Szpunar's opinion was submitted to EU Court of Justice as part of case asking that the EU's opinion on the decision made by a French criminal court against Uber. In the said decision, France fined the ride-sharing platform and two of its executives a total of 850,000 Euros ($965,000) after Uber was found guilty of violating a law imposed by the government concerning transport services. Back in 2014, Uber operated a peer-to-peer service dubbed as UberPop. Through the service, unlicensed drivers can use their vehicles to pick up commuters for very low fees. At this point, UberPop no longer operates in France, but not before relevant French laws were passed.

Uber has been dealing numerous legal troubles in different countries, ranging from sexual harassment charges to intellectual property theft. In order to transform the company, major changes have taken place in Uber's management including the resignation of its CEO Travis Kalanick. Aside from Kalanick, several major figures within the company have also left, especially those involved in lawsuits and controversies. As its CEO leaves, it is interesting how much the business strategy and workplace environment will now change once the new management team steps in.

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