Europe's top court to decide what exactly Uber is

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Europe's top court to decide what exactly Uber is

If the court sides with Uber, the European Union will make significant headway toward that goal, but it will have some highly dissatisfied taxi companies on its hands.

Deciding on exactly which it is - or combination of the two - will mean regulators can be clear about which rules apply to its operations, and will also have potential implications on the operations of other so-called sharing economy operators.

"Clearly, the European Union court's decision will have a great impact", said Georgios Petropoulos, a research fellow at the Brussels-based policy group Bruegel.

"Electronic inter-mediation is a service in itself and it's separate from the final service for which the user and the provider are being connected", Fernandez told the court Tuesday. "Uber's services can't be reduced to merely a transport service", The New York Times reported a member of Uber's legal team telling the court.

The company's local executives were hauled to court in Paris over UberPop, its most controversial service, which lets unlicensed drivers use their own vehicle to pick up riders for low fees. Anti-Uber protests in France turned violent past year, and two European executives were arrested on charges of operating an illegal transportation service. The Spanish judge then sought guidance from the Court of Justice.

"If there is a transport service provided, a company should not be able to hide behind the thin veil of a different service", its lawyer Montse Balague Farre said. Others "have to obtain an administrative authorization and in Spain they have to pay about 150,000 euros to do this", she said.

In response, Uber officials said they would place a detailed action plan of their service within three weeks.

The San Francisco-based company has faced complaints around the globe about its drivers' working conditions.

There was no prompt comment from Uber, which launched its on-request auto ride services in Dhaka on Tuesday saying it would diminish movement in one of the world's most congested urban areas by empowering ride-sharing. Uber, which was represented by DLA Piper, said it will appeal the ruling.

The notice warns the owners and drivers of Uber against the continuation of the service and says anyone found to be using Uber will be "punished accordingly".

Last month UK Uber drivers won the right to be classed as workers rather than self-employed after succeeding in a landmark legal challenge.

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