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Hotrec: Summary of EP report on the collaborative economy

Napsal/a Klára Hájková | 06.16.2017
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Summary of EP report on the collaborative economy

 

On 15 June 2017, the European Parliament adopted its own initiative report on the collaborative economy in plenary. The European Parliament speaks about the collaborative economy as a new form of economy to be supported, however highlights as well the importance allowing for a level playing field and especially adequate protection of consumers.

 

The Parliament says that “if developed in a responsible manner, the collaborative economy creates significant opportunities for citizens and consumers”. The Parliament at the same time also acknowledges that the collaborative economy can have a significant impact on long-established regulated business models in many strategic sectors, such as the accommodation or restaurant industry. MEPs stress the importance of ensuring a high level of consumer protection and fully upholding workers’ rights and ensuring tax compliance. The EP also considers that the establishment of a level playing field is an essential precondition for a flourishing collaborative economy in the EU.

 

Market access requirements must be necessary, justified and proportionate. A distinction between professional providers or private individuals is necessary among well-defined criteria, making latter ones subject to lighter requirements, however ensuring a high level of consumer protection.

 

Regarding the competition with the ‘regulated’ economy, the EP believes that a level playing field among comparable categories of service providers is highly recommended and calls for the removal of unnecessary regulatory burdens and unjustified market access requirements for all business operators.

 

As mentioned, the protection of consumers is important to the EP. MEPs call for action to be taken to guarantee constant compliance with consumer protection rules by occasional service providers on the same or comparable basis as professional providers. The report also calls for greater clarity regarding safeguards for consumers in the event of disputes and calls on platforms to ensure effective systems for complaint procedures and settling disputes.

 

Regarding platforms, the EP calls on the Commission to clarify the liability regimes of collaborative platforms, especially in light of the E-Commerce Directive, in order to promote responsible behaviour. MEPs also note that platforms’ self-regulating capacity (e.g. via reputation systems) does not replace the need for existing rules and other possible rules.

 

The report encourages the Commission to foster a level playing field for competition in comparable services. The EP stresses also the need for proper tax compliance and emphasises the importance of the cooperation of platforms with the authorities on the tax collection. MEPs also agree that similar tax obligations should be applied to businesses providing comparable services, whether in the traditional or in the collaborative economy.

 

The EP also recognises that there is room for manoeuvre for national / local authorities to adopt context-specific measures in order to address clearly identified public interest objectives with proportionate measures. However, at the same time it condemns the regulations being imposed by some authorities seeking to restrict the supply of tourist accommodation via the collaborative economy.

 

Regarding accessibility, the report also calls for barrier-free accessibility to ensure that the elderly and people with disabilities can also have access to the various resources available in the collaborative service economy.

 

 

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