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European Court of Justice, Uber France service & Approximation of laws: Advocate General’s Opinion

According to Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, Member States may prohibit and punish, as a matter of criminal law, the illegal exercise of transport activities in the context of the UberPop service, without notifying the Commission of the draft law in advance. Advocate General declares that, irrespective of whether the UberPop service falls within the scope of the directive, Member States may prohibit and punish the illegal exercise of a transport activity such as UberPop without having to notify the Commission of the draft law in advance.

Particularly, the opinion filed by Advocate General recalls that, in accordance with the other Opinion of 11 May 2017 filed in the Uber Spain Case-434/15, the UberPop service falls within the field of transport and, consequently, does not constitute an information society service within the meaning of the Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998. In such a situation, the directive is not applicable and notification of the draft law to the Commission is unnecessary.

The Advocate General also examines the situation should the Court find that the UberPop service constitutes an information society service within the meaning of the directive. In that situation, the Advocate General concludes that prohibiting and punishing the activity of an intermediary, such as Uber, in the illegal exercise of a transport activity does not constitute a ‘technical regulation’ within the meaning of the directive, with the result that notification of the draft law to the Commission would not be necessary in that situation either.

The above said has been filed by Advocate General Szpunar in Case C-320/16.

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