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It hasn't always been a friendly welcome for ride hailing app Uber in Europe. And now it's facing a fresh setback. The European Court advising Tuesday that France was entitled to charge local Uber managers with running an illegal taxi service. It concerns it's unlicensed chauffeur option UberPOP.
Judges will make a final ruling later his year. Reuters EU correspondent in Brussels, Julia Fioretti, says they generally follow the preliminary advice.>> It basically paves the way for member states to prosecute under criminal law anyone running an illegal transport service. The Court does not say whether UberPOP is illegal or not, but it does mean that member states have more leeway to press criminal charges, as has happened in France.
>> Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry and challenged transportation regulations worldwide. But it hasn't been easy. May of its ventures met with angry protest by taxi operators concerned for their future. It faced a legal action over UberPOP in France in 2015, and discontinued the service. It now only operates with licensed cab drivers in many of its main European markets.
The US tech giant says the case only concerns a service it no longer provides. But there could still be fallout.>> It could open the way for further regulation. It could certainly dent its prospects in terms of its appeal against the criminal charges against its two executives. And it is a setback against its argument that all it does is be a digital intermediary, and therefore should not be subject to tighter EU regulations.
>> The court battle comes to the tumultuous time for the tech company with Chief Executive Travis Kalanick forced to stand down last month. He'd been under pressure from investors after a string of setbacks as well as probes into a culture of sexism at the firm.