Following demands by the Spanish government, taxi associations and local politicians for the EU to intervene in the ‘battle of the taxi-apps’, the European Commission says it will not intervene in the conflict between taxi drivers and online car-sharing applications such as Uber, as the Spanish government had requested.
“It is not something that is on our horizon nor are we considering it as part of our reaction to yesterday’s protests,” the spokesman for the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, told The Guardian. “In its judgment, in the current political climate, the EC should not be “taking on new powers. When the pertinent directives were passed, it was left very clear that the member states wanted to retain these matters as part of their jurisdiction,” the spokesman pointed out. “The member states who requested it are legally competent to tackle it.” It is well known that European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes supports the new transport services and has warned via her blog that if Europe cracks down on this budding sector, “millions of jobs will go elsewhere and innovation will continue to be focused in the US.” She also called on all the parties – taxi drivers, alternative transport services and authorities – to sit down to talk: “The time has come to face the facts: innovations such as Uber are here to stay. We have to work with them, not against them. Technology is changing many aspects of our lives, and we cannot address the challenge they pose by ignoring innovations, going on strike or trying to ban them,” she said in reference to apps as Uber, DJump, Taxipal, Taxify and Hailo.