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Uber Foresees Partial Shutdown in EU Capital After Ruling

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(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. said most of its Brussels drivers may no longer be able to work for the company from Friday after a ruling by the city’s court of appeal.

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A Wednesday ruling extends a 2015 cease-and-desist order against an earlier service to drivers that hire cars and offer taxi services via the Uber app, the company said in an emailed statement.

“We are deeply concerned about the 2,000 Brussels” drivers “who will lose their ability to generate earnings from Friday,” Laurent Slits, head of Belgium for Uber, said in a statement.

Uber is fighting legal battles across Europe over how it employs drivers and fits in with taxi regulations. The company has had a strained relationship with Brussels authorities and local taxi firms since launching there in 2014. The following year, it was forced to abandon its UberPop service, which saw people use their own cars to offer rides in the city. Brussels hosts most of the European Union’s institutions and ministerial meetings.

The court ruling wasn’t immediately available and the court didn’t immediately respond to an email and a phone call outside of its office hours.

A few hundred drivers with licenses from the nearby Flemish region will still be allowed to use the app, but drivers in Brussels with so-called LVC licenses won’t be able to accept trips from 6 p.m. on Friday, Uber said. The company can still appeal the decision at the Supreme Court, but hasn’t said whether it intends to.

The company is also battling with Belgium over a ruling that a ban against the use of mobile phones to accept passengers applies to the ride-hailing company’s licensed drivers.

Shares of Uber were down 0.7% at 12:06 p.m. in New York on Wednesday.

(Updates with context in fourth paragraph.)

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