For a Facts-Based Analysis of Uber's Activities in the EU: Addressing Some Misconceptions

24 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017 Last revised: 9 Jun 2017

See all articles by Damien Geradin

Damien Geradin

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Competition Policy; Geradin Partners

Date Written: March 13, 2017


While it has now been several years since Uber started its activities in Europe, it is striking that in most EU Member States there is still no regulatory framework allowing Uber and similar ridesharing companies to compete and deliver the efficiencies generated by their technology, while assuring that the public interest is guaranteed. Regulatory change is impeded by the emotional nature of the debate where new entrants like Uber are often characterised as villains, stealing business away from taxi companies and replacing “good jobs” with precarious ones. These allegations, which are largely based on misconceptions about Uber’s activities, prevent a constructive, forward-looking debate on how to take advantage of the major opportunities created by Uber and other companies offering online intermediation services in terms of user convenience, affordability and quality of service, road safety, and reduced urban congestion.

The key objectives of this paper are to address some of the most common misperceptions about the nature of Uber’s services, as well as to encourage a facts-based approach to the regulation of these services. Such a facts-based approach is particularly important at a time where the Court of Justice of the European Union has been asked to deliver a preliminary ruling on questions related to the legal nature of Uber’s services. Moreover, the EU seems at a cross-road with innovative, forward-looking regulations being adopted in some Member States, which allow Uber to offer its services, while ensuring that the public interest is preserved. This paper also seeks to show that Uber services do not have to be labelled as “transport services”, which they are not, to be subject to regulation. Under EU law, intermediation services can already be subject to non-discriminatory and proportionate regulatory frameworks designed to protect the public interest.

Keywords: Uber, taxi, transport, information society, intermediation platforms, European Union, competition, regulation, public interest, two-sided markets

JEL Classification: K20, K42, L51, L88

Suggested Citation

Geradin, Damien, For a Facts-Based Analysis of Uber's Activities in the EU: Addressing Some Misconceptions (March 13, 2017). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2017-019, Available at SSRN: or

Damien Geradin (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

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University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Competition Policy ( email )

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United Kingdom

Geradin Partners ( email )

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