On Thursday 25 February, Andrus Ansip, the European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market, as well as Kalle Palling, the Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee, spoke out in support of an Estonian bill which would see digital platforms such as Uber, Taxify and Wisemile fully regulated for the first time in Europe.
Palling, who earlier in the day introduced the bill to the Estonian parliament, stated that “We need to create rules that work in today’s world. Technology allows us to make use of existing resources in smart, flexible ways and we cannot allow over-regulation to hold us back from reaping economic benefits of such innovations.”
Andrus Ansip went on to note that Estonia’s leadership marks an important moment for the digital economy in Europe.
“The Estonian Parliament doesn’t have to vote for or against the collaborative economy, – people have already embraced it. The parliament’s task is now to adjust to what people want and remove barriers so that the collaborative economy can grow and expand in Estonia. And the same goes for Europe,” Ansip said.
Ansip further noted that the European Commission, which is currently in the process of reviewing the possibility of implementing a Digital Single Market, would not seek to hold technological progress back: “The European Commission does not have any plans to kill innovation by over-regulating markets.”
The comments were made during a Collaborative Economy conference which took place in Tallinn and attracted entrepreneurs, experts and politicians from across Europe as well as representatives of digital companies such as the CEO of Taxify, Markus Villig, the CEO of Wisemile, Arti Kütt and Uber’s Head of operations in EMEA, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty. By connecting buyers and sellers, these platforms have expanded choice for consumers and created new opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
“We welcome the proposal put forward today which shows that Estonia continues to lead Europe in all matters digital and technological innovation. Digital platforms such as Uber bring great economic benefits to cities and develop new flexible working opportunities for thousands of people in Estonia,”said Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s Head of Operations for EMEA.
“We welcome clear and simple regulation for ridesharing in Estonia and around Europe, as this is the only way to create fair competition for all market participants. Until now many smaller technology companies don’t dare to offer sharing economy platforms due to the unclear regulation and potential legal risks involved,” said Markus Villig, Founder and CEO of Taxify.
„We are glad to see that Estonian public sector is very innovative and open-minded about new opportunities offered by different sharing economy platforms, such as Wisemile and Uber. Today´s public transport is heavily supported by subsidies. In the same time there are a lot of half empty passenger cars on the highways, where the average occupancy rate is just 1.4. Through Wisemile ridesharing the transport management will be much more cheaper and efficient. Also it has great positive environmental impact,“ said Arti Kütt from Wisemile AS.
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