Uber In Europe: Are There Still Judges In Luxembourg?

By Margherita Colangelo & Mariateresa Maggiolino – 

Uber is the most emblematic example of platforms that are challenging legislators, regulators and courts all over the world. Its advent has been a disruptive element in the taxi industry, showing how technological advances have created new ways to operate carriage of persons services and bringing the operation of traditional taxi services into question. Despite the differences between the countries concerned, there has been a general and strong reaction by taxi drivers against Uber. In Europe several lawsuits have been brought by traditional operators claiming that Uber would compete unfairly with them. Given the uncertainty over the legal qualification of Uber, the European Court of Justice (“CJEU”) has been called to give a preliminary ruling on the matter and it released its first judgment in December 2017, taking a clear stance on the definition of Uber’s activities as proper transport services. The paper analyses the CJEU’s decision and the insights for antitrust lawyers deriving from the current state of play, concluding by suggesting that policy makers should not limit the competitive pressure coming from Uber, but rather rethink the regulation that applies to anyone offering private transport services.

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