European High Court Issues Ruling Impacting Digital Single Market, EU Member States

BY Heather Greenfield
April 10, 2018

Brussels, BELGIUM — The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled on the question of whether France needed to notify the European Commission before passing a law impacting Europe’s Digital Single Market (DSM). Under EU rules, Member States must communicate to the Commission any draft technical regulations that relate to the taking-up or pursuit of information society services prior to their adoption.

This procedure allows the Commission to check draft national proposals against their compatibility with existing EU laws, analyse whether they are justified and proportionate, and to send feedback notifying Member States if there are concerns. Today’s judgment stems from a French court referral to the CJEU of a case brought by a taxi driver against Uber France.

In today’s ruling the CJEU said that France did not need to notify the Commission before passing a law that included a provision making the intermediation of unlicensed transport services a criminal offence. In December, the CJEU wrote in a separate judgment that it considered Uber a transport company, though it acknowledged it is also an online service that connects riders with drivers.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association is an international non-profit organization that represents technology companies from telecommunications to Internet services and has advocated for decades in favour of innovation and competition that brings advantages to consumers and society.

The following statement can be attributed to Jakob Kucharczyk, Vice President, Competition & EU Regulatory Policy:

“The importance of this case goes beyond any particular company. It is about the Commission’s effective oversight powers, and we regret to see those being curtailed after today’s judgment. Unfortunately, the Court has given Member States more room to thwart the Digital Single Market through restrictive, disproportionate and unjustified measures at national level.”

“If Member States are allowed to pass laws targeting innovative online services without a EU-level sanity check, the Digital Single Market will remain a vision rather than a reality for businesses of all sizes in Europe.”

For additional background information on this case, please see Kucharczyk’s post in CCIA’s Disruptive Competition (DisCo) blog.

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