The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee at the Parliament of Estonia Kalle Palling met with European policymakers from the Bundestags digital agenda committee in Germany yesterday to encourage them to follow Estonia’s example by adopting modern regulations of digital platforms.
By connecting buyers and sellers, these platforms have expanded choice for consumers and created new opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups. The Estonian Parliament is currently reviewing draft legislation which would regulate platforms like Uber or Europe-conquering Estonian companies Taxify and Wisemile for the first time in the single market.
“These platforms can increase choice and create new economic opportunities for Europeans. But outdated regulations are holding many countries back from reaping the benefits of the digital economy. Estonia is leading the way, developing modern regulations that are fit for purpose,” said Kalle Palling.
There has been growing awareness across Europe of the benefits that new technologies like Uber can bring to consumers, people looking for work, and the cities they live in. Competition authorities in Spain, Italy and Germany have said Uber increases competition in the transport sector and have called for reforms. And last month the European Parliament’s internal market committee adopted a report urging Member States to remove outdated, artificial barriers that are hindering the growth of on-demand platforms.
“Technology allows us to make use of existing resources in smart, flexible ways. Regulations should be just as smart and flexible–focused on outcomes, like safety or consumer protection, rather than the means by which those outcomes are achieved.” he continued. “Especially given the current economic situation in many European countries, new platforms like Uber represent a path back to the workforce for the unemployed and a new opportunity for all the people who want to work more. Policymakers can seize this opportunity while protecting consumers with up-to-date, common sense regulations.”
Platforms like Uber, Taxify and Wisemile can also benefit local and national governments by bringing economic activity that was previously off the books into the light. Estonia is already a leader on simple electronic tax filings–most Estonian citizens can file their tax return with just a few clicks online. Earlier this year, the Estonian Tax & Customs Board announced a partnership with Uber to work towards creating a digital tax platform that would simplify tax declarations for drivers.