Uber suffers new blow as European Union court rules it's a taxi service

Uber loses landmark battle as top EU legislators say it is a taxi firm

The company had argued it was an intermediary technology company, not a provider of transportation services. He said it is too early to say which other companies might be affected but called the overall message from the ruling worrying for startups. But the highest court in the European Union isn't having it.

The company is banned in Germany, is reviewing its operations in France and has been blocked from operating in London.

The EU ruling is separate from a string of ongoing legal challenges Uber has faced around Europe and the world, including in Britain. The company can continue to operate pending an appeal process, which...

The court noted that the service provided by Uber is more than an intermediation service and also that Uber exercises decisive influence over the conditions under which the drivers provide their service.

He said Uber will "keep talking with EU governments to enable affordable transportation services for millions more Europeans".

Uber has faced a number of legal challenges in the European Union over the last few years.

The decision stems from a complaint by a Barcelona taxi drivers association, which wanted to prevent Uber from setting up in the Spanish city. The case largely targeted UberPop, a peer-to-peer service that literally converts anyone with a vehicle to a cab driver.

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Reuters says the decision will not have an immediate impact on Uber's operations, as the company has cut back the use of unlicensed services like UberPOP. But it's still operational in other countries including Finland, Poland, Estonia, and Czech Republic.

While the EU Court of Justice's ruling covered UberPop - which used drivers without taxi licenses and has already been shuttered in many countries because of the legal issues - it's a real blow as the first definitive finding that Uber must be regulated by transport authorities.

While the ruling is valid EU-wide, it remains limited to Uber's services and won't directly affect other disputes Uber is facing over how its drivers are treated. The association speaks for companies like Uber, Amazon.com Inc., Google and Facebook Inc.

In what may be a further reckoning for Uber in Europe, the European Commission is due this week to revise its Written Statement Directive concerning workers' rights, a change that is expected to usher in new rights for workers and greater responsibilities for "platforms".

To start with, Uber was hit with a sexual harassment scandal a few months ago.

Following changes in top leadership and a series of legal battles, Uber recently adopted a more conciliatory approach under its new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, who took the job in August.

"There has also been a benefit in incumbent London taxi cabs, which are now taking credit cards, which they resisted for years". But the biggest blow came from the United Kingdom where the ride-hailing service lost its license to operate in London.

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