Romania’s Efforts to Regulate Uber and AirBnb Spark Concern

New economy, sharing economy or access economy… It’s clear the digital age has provided a plethora of definitions to define the unspeakable: the virtualization of economic practices and processes in which businesses no longer need brick and mortar headquarters to do just about anything.

Clearly, traditional businesses unwilling to adopt a digital approach have been left behind, and we all know keeping up the pace is essential in any type of economy. So, it did not come as a shock to see the hordes of protesters asking the Romanian government to outlaw Uber because it steals customers and provides an unfair competition to all those licensed taxi drivers who provide a less than average service. Not one word about illegal practices, overpriced rides and refusal to drive customers on short distances.

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Brussels has urged EU members to refrain from outlawing e-businesses such as Uber, Airbnb and the like (most of them US-based). While a set of EU guidelines for regulating the sharing economy has been drafted, it seems that each country deals differently with this issue. Some have banned such services while others are just about to do the same.

Romania is in the process of passing a law which forces any web platform acting as a middleman for services like car/home sharing or freelancing to open local offices otherwise it faces a permanent ban.

Lo and behold! It’s amusing to read the draft project and realize Romania is far from understanding what’s been happening for a decade or so in the digital landscape. Why not clean our own house first and then think of banning others from entering it?

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About Cristina Popa

Cristina is a WordPress blogger who regularly writes or shares updates on media, public affairs and various topics of interest. You may follow her on Communication for Development WP blog or Twitter @CristinaPopa0
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6 Responses to Romania’s Efforts to Regulate Uber and AirBnb Spark Concern

  1. ledrakenoir says:

    Believe Romania is so far in the process that the outside danger is invaders
    Who will only milk for its own profit and not fertilize the Romanian soil with prosperity for the romanian society – the reason for the boycott of Uber is that they avoid tax and rules – believe it’s an oneway ticket and not for the advance of Romania.

    • Oh, yes! It’s true lawmakers must ensure an appropriate legislation free from confusing terms. We’re still a long way from having an appropriate legal framework. Hence, protests in full swing

  2. You are right about such services as Uber and Lyft providing a much needed service. I only know about them here in the U.S. but agree that your country is right to seek legislation to regulate such cyber based services. The focus should be on what is good for your people as workers of these services, to ensure a fair salary and give clarity to the working relationship.

    Here the drivers are independent agents paid per ride. They have to hustle to make money and in most cases it is their own auto. They pay for their own insurance and maintenance. There are no guaranteed salaries or hours.

    I think there is a place for traditional car service and Uber, Lyft and other cyber based car services. There have been times where Lyft cancelled my reserved ride at the last minute, while I was waiting at a train station far from home. At such times I was grateful for the traditional car service available at the station. The price was higher but at least I got to my destination.

    Perhaps Romania needs to develop it’s own version of Lyft or Uber. I do agree with the other commenter who said that Uber is an outsider coming in for their own benefit.

    • Uber already operates and is fiscally authorized in Romania as a web service provider. The problem is, nobody really knows whether drivers using it are actually licensed to deliver taxi services. Taxes are reported differently in Romania and in the EU. So, while Uber might not pose any problems in the US, it does pose a lot of problems over here. It really boils down to drivers, not particularly Uber which is the middleman and does not need a license. Although it might be forced to make sure drivers own that license…

  3. Thanks for making that clear..

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