Popular ride-hailing firm Uber sees its European operations hampered after claims of unfair competition by local taxi drivers and an EU court ruling
There has been a storm of opposition by European taxi drivers since Uber started operating in Europe in 2011. The popular ride-hailing firm offers rides at cheaper prices than taxis and can be ordered on the internet rather than hailed in the street.
Taxi drivers have taken part in demonstrations, accusing the company of unfair competition. This has led to a legal battle with serious consequences for the company in several countries.
The company suffered a significant blow after the European Court of Justice ruled that Uber provides transport services, not digital intermediation, and must therefore comply with the region's tough transportation rules.
Authorities in Bulgaria, Latvia, Denmark and Hungary are among those who have cracked down on Uber and don't allow it to operate.
More specifically the European Court decided that Uber is a transportation company, instead of an app, and should be regulated as such, that is like a traditional taxi company. It can only use licensed drivers, as well as meet other strict regulations linked to health and safety and background checks on drivers on its digital platform. So not anyone with a car can undertake transportation services through the app.
Control of the sector is therefore up to EU Member States.
Either way, the company's operation will be limited, and Uber will have to adapt the core business plan it had when it entered the European market 8 years ago.