European court orders Uber to be regulated like taxis

European court orders Uber to be regulated like taxis

The European Court of Justice dealt Uber a major blow on Wednesday, declaring that the transportation company should be regulated like a taxi service instead of a technology company.

The top European Union (EU) court said Uber and other similar technology companies are “inherently linked to a transport service” and should be “a service in the field of transport," according to The Associated Press.

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The decision could affect the way governments inside and outside of Europe regulate internet services like Uber that struggle to fit in with long-established laws.

However, the transportation service sought to downplay the ruling in a statement obtained by the AP, saying the court's decision “will not change things in most EU countries where we already operate under transportation law” and the company would “continue the dialogue with cities across Europe. 

Uber said the ruling would only affect its services in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, according to the AP.

The case originally came from a complaint raised by a Barcelona-based taxi drivers association that wanted to block the company from establishing itself in the city.

The law firm representing the Barcelona taxi association said the ruling had “great judicial significance.”

Barcelona is not the only European city where Uber has faced challenges.

The London Taxi Drivers’ Association has raised complaints against Uber's operations in the British capital. In October, Uber filed an appeal to keep operating in London after the city’s transportation regulator, Transport for London, decided to not renew the ride-sharing firm’s license to operate in the city on Sept. 22.