In 2016, the European Commission published an ambitious communication aimed at spurring the development of Europe’s Collaborative Economy. Ride-sharing, homesharing and other forms of task-sharing “creates new opportunities for consumers and entrepreneurs,” the Commission began. It can “make an important contribution to jobs and growth in the European Union if encouraged and developed in a responsible manner.” The communication focused on how existing EU law should be applied to the Collaborative Economy. Yet several years later, regulatory uncertainties still abound. All stakeholders – be they private companies, local authorities, communities or consumers – struggle with a patchwork of expansive local regulations and legal uncertainty. This fragmentation does not fulfill the intended objectives of the (Digital) Single Market, nor does it fully ensure transparent and necessary safeguards for consumers.
A new outlook, a new impetus, and above all, a new consistent pan-European approach, is required. The effective and uniform application of existing regulatory frameworks is essential, but is it enough? Would it be preferable to propose new legislation or policy tools? What measures can and should be taken to encourage the growth of the Collaborative Economy – while at the same time preserving Europe’s vaunted social model, including its tax base, strong labor protection and high standards of consumer safety? The incoming European Commission is readying to take office and review its options on how to address the challenges and opportunities of the Collaborative Economy. This CEPS Task Force will bring together various stakeholders to debate how best to move forward, including some suggestions on specific regulatory proposals that could be considered for the Collaborative Economy sector.
Key subjects to be tackled include:
- Diversity or divergence?: Defining the Collaborative Economy in Europe today
- The role of the Collaborative Economy in the broader regulatory and social ecosystem: what impact and opportunities for consumers, workers and local authorities?
- What’s next for the (Digital) Single Market: maintaining market access and freedom to establish services in the face of regulatory fragmentation and cross-border considerations
- Liability and responsibility across the Collaborative Economy value-chain: content moderation, notice and action, user responsibility, insurance provisions
- Data-sharing and taxation issues: examining the multitude of ways
- Collaborative Economy platforms can contribute to tax revenues, whilst bearing in mind stakeholder obligations around privacy and the sharing of personal data
- The role of Collaborative Economy platforms in driving a more sustainable future
Organization and Methodology
The Task Force will ensure a venue for a structured closed-doors dialogue involving high-level policymakers, academics, and Collaborative Economy companies (spanning various sizes, sectors and geographies). The dialogue will be informed by the findings of the independent research conducted by CEPS and other relevant institutions cooperating in the Collaborative Economy across the EU.
Governance of the Task Force
The Chairperson(s) will be external experts appointed by CEPS.
The Rapporteurs will organize the meetings, conduct research independently and draft the final report.
The Task Force members – a group of stakeholders, industry representatives and observers (academics, policymakers, regulators, supervisory authorities, consumer/investor associations, etc.) – will inform the research agenda of the meetings and actively participate in the discussion and, together with the Chairperson(s), review the final report and comment on the list of recommendations.
All participants (except for the special guests) are required to attend (or designate another person) at least two (2) out of the three (3) closed-door meetings and will be invited to the public event dedicated to the launch of the final report. The roles are described in detail in the Annex.
Chairperson: Eva Kaili, MEP Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
Rapporteurs: William Echikson, CEPS Associate Senior Fellow, Head of the Digital Forum
1st meeting: 27 January 2020
2nd meeting: 19 February 2020
3rd meeting: 13 March 2020 (tbc)
4th meeting and launch of report: April-May 2020
Schedule and Content of Meetings
We will have four meetings, each lasting three hours in an afternoon.
Introduction and scene-setting: what is a Collaborative Economy platform?
- Introductions of participants of Task Force and discuss priorities for each stakeholder.
- Refining the scope and goals of the Task Force.
- Reviewing the present state of the Collaborative Economy in Europe and identifying common – and diverging – ground between participating industry partners. Coming to a definition of the Collaborative Economy.
- Examining a definition of collaborative platforms and current relevance: Does the definition of Collaborative Economy under the 2016 Commission Communication still apply? How can this be interpreted according to different business models? What holes and gaps are there
- Defining the policy problem (what is the Collaborative Economy, how much control should platforms exercise, what has caused the most local resistance, etc.)
Proposed launch date: January 2020
Where to next?: the future of the Digital Services Act
- How does the e-Commerce Directive and its main legal provisions impact Collaborative Economy platforms today?
- What will the main frontiers of the future legislative discussion be for these types of platform: liability, responsibility, country of origin, content moderation, Good Samaritan safeguards, and data-sharing with public authorities?
Proposed date: February 2020
Collaborative Economy platforms in the broader ecosystem: impact on consumers, service providers, business supply-chain, and localities
- Consumers: what are the obligations and challenges for platforms regarding their consumer base (transparency obligations, use of algorithms, encouraging sustainable choices)?
- Labor: reviewing the impact of the Collaborative Economy on labor – best labor practices across EU
- Insurance: reviewing challenges of insurance providers on cross-border collaborative platforms, and dealing with Member State regulation requirements
- Working with local and national regulators: how to understand taxation in the context of Collaborative Economy services, and what role for platforms in supporting host obligations?
- Local Impact and Environment: Understanding the impacts of Collaborative Economy on the local level. Jobs, spaces, housing, marketplaces, and environment.
Proposed date: March 2020
Presentation of the Task Force Report
The Task Force report will be published and launched at a CEPS event, bringing together stakeholders. A PowerPoint presentation by the Chairwoman will kick off the discussion. Panelists from the EU, academia and companies will then respond before opening up the discussion to the audience.
Proposed date: April-May 2020
How to join?
For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact William Echikson by email William.firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on +32 475 66 97 36
You may also contact project manager Jesse Goldberg by email Jesse.Goldberg@ceps.eu or +32 484 65 83 87
CEPS acknowledges support from Airbnb, Badi, FREE NOW, Zurich Insurance Group and Uber for this task force. It is conducted in complete independence. The authors take full responsibility for their findings.