Successful service providers such as Uber or Airb BnB are an example of how strongly the sharing-economy is not only influencing, but also changing existing business models. Necessarily, that also leads to discussions about the need to revise existing regulatory frameworks. In the following week, the European Commission is expected to publish guidelines about how existing EU laws and regulations can be applied to Uber & Co.
We talked to Czech ALDE Member of the European Parliament Dita Charanzová:
In Berlin, Uber and Air BnB are strictly regulated. Estonia is trying a different approach. Do Uber and Air BnB need to be treated differently than traditional service providers?
First of all I would say we need a European approach, because if we will have one French approach, then an Estonian approach etc., then the market will be very fragmented. Second, I think we have to treat the traditional businesses in the way like Uber and Air BnB, not the other way round. The world has changed, we are currently living the digital revolution. We have to all admit it and we have to adjust our business models to it.
Do new online platforms allow for self-regulation which could replace legislative and bureaucratic regulation?
Definitely – I think what we need is ex-post controls, not ex-ante. Because I think the whole process is driven by the consumers. So if the consumer is not happy, then the business will sooner or later end their business. So I think the whole is about what we will do if something goes wrong. But I will definitely be against any ex-ante controls.
Sharing economy is part of the digital agenda. What is the European Parliament preparing at the moment which would be of relevance for the citizens?
I think what we have experienced now is that there is a lot of discrimination on the basis of your nationality, IP addresses…. So one of the key issues that we have to deal with is how we really make the digital single market working and how we get rid of the discrimination, which is now a reality in the online world. We don’t have it in the offline world, but we have to get rid of the discrimination in the online world. So we will have a lot of legislative proposals now coming from the Commission: being on geo-blocking, on portability, but also the question how we will deal with collaborative or sharing economy.