BRUSSELS, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Local leaders of regions in the European Union (EU) urged the politico-economic union to boost sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb while ensuring legal certainty and fair competition.
Local leaders of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on Friday adopted a formal position on the sharing economy, the first EU body to do so.
Sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb have made the concept of the "sharing economy" both popular and controversial as they lack clear legal rules at the EU level, the leaders said in a statement.
Therefore, the leaders said a holistic and coordinated approach at the European level that respects the ambivalent character of the sharing economy was urgently needed.
"The sharing economy is a growing part of the economy and has potential to improve the quality of life, foster growth and jobs, especially in local economies as well as reduce the environmental impact of businesses and consumption," Benedetta Brighenti, deputy mayor of the municipality of Castelnuovo Rangone stated.
"At the same time, we have to ensure that sharing-economy platforms do not allow businesses to avoid tax, or bypass antitrust, social security and consumer protection rules and thus disrupt pre-existing markets without bearing similar fixed costs," she added.
The local leaders stressed in their newly-adopted opinion that EU institutions and legislation should provide a sound framework for the subject, which would include offering institutional and legal guidance, ongoing access to expertise, and assistance for implementation.
However, at the same time, they said the new rules should not be too stringent or so wide-reaching that they would stifle economic innovation.
The leaders found that the sharing economy had assumed many different forms and arrangements in different areas of Europe.
For that reason, the local leaders said EU cities and regions should be allowed to promote sharing-economy initiatives addressing the specific needs of local communities in strategic fields, such as sustainable mobility and tourism, health and social services, and the environment.