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Uber files EU complaint over Spain ban

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Uber files EU complaint over Spain ban
A man using the Uber app in front of the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. Photo Quique Garcia/AFP
13:41 CEST+02:00
The company behind the global drive-sharing app has filed a complaint on Monday with the European Commission over its ban from operating in Spain.

Uber, the US-based car-ride service, is fighting back after being banned from operating in Spain in December 2014.

The company stated in its complaint with the European Commission that the Spanish ruling to ban Uber was "protecting the monopoly of the taxi", according to Spanish daily El País.

The popular car-sharing app was prohibited from operating in Spain after a lawsuit was filed by a Madrid taxi association, which accused the company of unfair competition.

San Francisco-founded Uber allows users to send out a ride request and then be picked up by crowd-sourced drivers.

Uber originally defied the court’s ruling and continued to operate in Spain, but was finally forced to close after telecommunications companies and payment companies cut off their services to the app.

"We operate in 20 of the 28 countries in the EU and Spain has taken the regulation to extremes," Mark MacGann, the director of Uber’s legal department, told El País.

MacGann is trying to convince the EU Commission that the ban is disproportionate and is against EU regulations.

One of Uber’s main arguments is that the company does not transport passengers, but is merely the technological intermediary "that offers a social service, a connection service for people who want to share their cars".

In reality, though, Uber’s service is more taxi service than car-share: users tell the driver where they want to go and pay a fixed tariff, 20 percent of which goes to Uber as commission.

Uber has also filed complaints with the EU about France and Germany.

The EU has not yet decided whether to class Uber as a technology or a transport company.

The Spanish ban is not the first to befall Uber in Europe. Germany banned the app - twice - while French police recently raided the offices of Uber in Paris as part of an investigation into its ride-share service.

 

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