On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") ruled that an intermediation service, such as Uber, the purpose of which, by means of a smartphone application and for remuneration, is to put non-professional drivers using their own vehicles in contact with persons who wish to travel in the city, must be regarded as being inseparably linked to a transport service and as falling within the category of "services in the field of transport".
The preliminary question put to the CJEU stemmed from a Spanish court referred by a professional association of taxi drivers which accused Uber Systems Spain of misleading commercial practices and unfair competition. The applicant claimed that Uber and its drivers, who did not consider themselves bound by the regulation on taxi services in the urban area of Barcelona, should have had the licences and other approvals provided for in this regulation. Uber, on the other hand, were of the opinion that their activity falls within the scope of Article 56 TFEU (freedom to provide services) and the Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market and the Directive 2000/31/EC on e-commerce .
The CJEU has ruled that a service such as the one offered by Uber is more than an information society intermediation service and has excluded the service provided by Uber from the scope of Article 56 TFEU, Directive 2006/123 and Directive 2000/31.
It considers that this service is linked to a service of transport and should therefore be classified as a "service in the field of transport" under EU law.
Member States are free to regulate the conditions under which such services may be provided.
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