More or Less Europe? Does the ‘Sharing or ‘Collaborative' Economy Support a Theory of Continuing or of Differentiated Integration in the Single Market?'

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
WMB - Gannochy Seminar Room 3 (University of Glasgow)
Adrian John Hawley , Management/Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway University of London
The free movement of services and right of establishment is one is of the four fundamental pillars of the single market, which is the engine of EU integration. Services, however, have proved far more difficult to accommodate than, for example, goods. Latterly a new model,  scarcely imaginable a short while ago, has appeared in the form of the so-called ‘sharing’ or ‘collaborative’ economy, facilitated by internet-enabled platforms, apps and the smart phone. It is so-called because in its for-profit model, such as Uber and Airbnb, it has little to do with ‘sharing’ in the sense of re-distribution or altruism. On the contrary, the evidence shows that there are unwelcome effects, among them precarious employment, social dislocation, dangers for consumers, loss of tax revenue for government and the possible environmental impact (as yet unconfirmed).  Regulation throughout member states (MS) presently ranges from permissive to restrictive (or outright ban) for which a possible explanation will be presented with reference to ideology, institutional pathways and the varieties of capitalism typology (VoC). Very recently the Commission has welcomed the new services and issued guidelines to the effect that they should only be banned ‘as a last resort’. These, however, are not legally-binding  and the Commission can only request MS to ensure that they conform with EU law, which itself is unclear on the status  of such services. Harmonisation appears likely to be strongly contested suggesting that differentiation rather than further integration might be the chief characteristic of this aspect of the would-be single market.   

  • Paper on CE 290517.pdf (484.8 kB)