The Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice handed down his opinion on this issue on 11 May. The opinion is not binding on the judges but the judges follow the Advocate General’s advice in up to 80% of the cases before the Court.
The Advocate General believes that UBER while having some aspects of a digital platform is a transport service company and thus is subject to the rules and constraints on transport. It needs to get the necessary authorisations and licences from the different Member States. Since the start of the case UBER changed its practices and now only uses licenced drivers and so a judgment could be considered to have limited impact. However, it may also have a long term impact on what labour or tax rules apply to UBER itself and its employees/drivers.
The case originated in Barcelona where the local taxi drivers association brought a case against UBER claiming that it competed unfairly by using unlicensed drivers.