EU snubs Spain's request for help in Uber row

George Mills
George Mills - [email protected] • 12 Jun, 2014 Updated Thu 12 Jun 2014 13:38 CEST
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The European Union has turned down calls from Spain for assistance in the conflict between the taxi industry and the taxi app Uber, saying the issue is a national one.


"It's not something the Commission is considering," Ryan Heath, spokesperson for European Commission Vice President Nellie Kroes, Heath said on Thursday.

"It is not part of our reaction to the protests from yesterday," he added in the wake of Spanish and European taxi strikes on Wednesday by drivers who fear Uber may steal business from them.

Those protests led to the Spanish government calling for the European Union to intervene  — a suggestion the EU hasn't taken kindly too.

"In the current political climate, we don't think the European Commission should decide it wants to have more power," Heath said.

"When the relevant (transport) directives were approved, it was very clear that the member States wanted to be allowed to continue to have control on issues like this.

"Member States asked for this, and are fully capable (of dealing with the situation) because they are legally competent to tackle the issue," the spokesperson said. 

Spain's response to the taxi app with an estimated value of €13 billion has been confused. 

On Monday, the public works and transport ministry said it would fine users of Uber up to €600 ($800) and then backtracked on Tuesday after the EU said the measure was extreme.

Authorities in Catalonia, meanwhile, have announced fines of up to €6,000 for drivers who use Uber to connect with passengers.  

Taxi drivers in Madrid are saying they may strike again on July 1st, El Mundo reported on Thursday.

Regional authorities have power over the licensing of taxi services in Spain, with each region establishing its own laws. 



George Mills 2014/06/12 13:38

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