EU Lawyer Argues Uber Is a Transportation Company, Not an App

Opinion could have far-reaching financial impact on ride-sharing company's European operations.

May 12, 2017 5:00 am

A legal adviser to the European Union’s highest court said Thursday that should Uber be considered a transportation company, a decision that would make the ride-sharing company subject to a slew of regulations and potentially slow its growth on the continent.

Even though the opinion, which came from Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, is non-binding, the Court of Justice of the European Union often follow such recommendations.

The case will determine if Uber is legally categorized as a taxi service or a digital app that connects independent drivers and riders. A decision is expected in the next few months, Reuters reports.

If the EU court follows the recommendation, Uber’s business in Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, and Finland—where it operates as a low-cost alternative called UberPOP that uses amateur drivers—would be affected. The Silicon Valley-based company would also be subjected to the same regulations as taxi companies, its primary company.

Uber started operating in Europe five years ago, but has skirted regulations so far by claiming it’s an app.

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