Uber Technologies, the ride-hailing app company, got hit with a legal blow on Thursday (May 11) in its fight not to be regulated as a taxi service, when the European Union’s main court rejected arguments that Uber is merely an app.
According to a report in Bloomberg News, the non-binding ruling by the EU court on Thursday implies Uber may not be able to avoid national restrictions, such as getting a license and other necessary authorizations.
“The Uber electronic platform, whilst innovative, falls within the field of transport,” Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, of the EU Court of Justice, said in a statement on his opinion in Luxembourg on Thursday, reported Bloomberg. “Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations under national law.”
Uber has long claimed that it shouldn’t have to meet the requirements of normal transportation companies under the EU rules. In a court hearing last year, lawyers for Uber said the company’s activities aren’t just mere transport activity. In a statement to Bloomberg on Thursday, Uber said it will await the final decision, which is expected later in 2017.
“Being considered a transportation company would not change the way we are regulated in most EU countries, as that is already the situation today,” Uber said in the statement to Bloomberg. “It will, however, undermine the much-needed reform of outdated laws, which prevent millions of Europeans from accessing a reliable ride at the tap of a button.”
Bloomberg noted the final decision by the EU court will be binding, and Uber won’t be able to be appealed. The ruling may also impact its labor battles over whether drivers should be classified as employees. The report noted the ruling by the EU could also hurt it in the U.K., where it could end up on the hook to pay added tax as a transport service supplier.