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EU Commission Says Sharing Economy OK with ‘Responsible’ Use

collaborative_sharing_economy_1In efforts to ensure fair play, competitiveness, consistency and quality, the European Commission said the sharing economy can prove to be an opportunity if “done right”, contributing to jobs and growth if developed in a responsible manner.

Following a year-long consultation, the Commission issued on June 2 guidance to member states to help ensure the balanced development of the collaborative economy, which includes everything from Airbnb and Uber to local property owners and individual proprietors.

Titled “A European Agenda for the Collaborative Economy”, the Communication provides guidance on how existing EU law should be applied, clarifying key issues faced by market operators and public authorities including what type of market access requirements can be imposed, who is liable if a problem arises, how does EU consumer law protect users, when does an employment relationship exist, and which tax rules apply.

“A competitive European economy requires innovation, be it in the area of products or services. Europe’s next unicorn could stem from the collaborative economy,” said Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

“Our role is to encourage a regulatory environment that allows new business models to develop while protecting consumers and ensuring fair taxation and employment conditions,” Mr Katainen said, encouraging consumers, businesses and public authorities to engage confidently in the collaborative economy.

EU states will have to review and revise existing legislation according to this guidance as the Commission monitors developments as well as trends on prices and quality of services, and identifies possible obstacles and problems arising from divergent national regulations or regulatory gaps.

For details on the Commission’s European agenda for the collaborative economy press here.

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