UberPop to be banned across EU
The EU Court of Justice’s general attorney stated on Tuesday that any state member can legally ban the UberPop service from their territory without having to notify the Commission. The EU court has still to rule a final verdict, but generally the advice of its general attorney is followed most of the time.
Bad news for the Californian company who tried to fight the ban in France with that argument at the Lille court which appealed to the European Court itself to get clarification. But it doesn’t mean the end of Uber in Europe, because it still can offer its other services.
Taxi drivers protest
In 2015, taxi drivers were so furious at the arrival of UberPop in Paris, that they manifested and blocked the French capital. The UberPop service invited private individuals to offer their services themselves as taxi driver without any licence, insurance or authorisation.
The conflict was so important that the French government decided to ban UberPop in the whole of France, so did a large number of Union members among which Belgium. Uber defended itself by claiming to be a simple intermediary and not a transport company. Two years after the EU was asked to judge, its general attorney advocates that each member state can decide to ban the UberPop service, without the need of notifying the Commission.
The ban only applies to UberPop, not Uber itself and its many other services such as UberX, UberBlack or UberVan. These services use the same app, but use real licenced professional drivers. The Californian company insists: “the notice only concerns UberPop and not all other Uber activities, that exclusively use professional drivers. The Uber app and the different services will therefore continue to be offered in the different EU territories”.
While its services remain active, the decision doesn’t rejoice the Californian company that recently had to see its controversial boss Travis Kalanick step down under pressure from investors. It the Court follows the advice of the attorney general, Uber might risk to loose some of the pending cases brought to court by the authorities and some taxi companies.
It could also loose money along the way. The Court of First Instance of Lille and the Barcelona Commercial Court will have the last word on the judgment.