The saga continues, as Brussels Minister of Mobility, Pascal Smet, will now file an official complaint (article in Dutch) with the public prosecution service against the increasingly controversial – but growing – Uber.
Smet is seeking a ban against what he refers to in the local press as an illegal service, following full or partial Uber bans in other parts of the world (including Spain, Thailand, India, the US, Brazil and The Netherlands) as licensed taxi drivers increasingly revolt against the American company.
The Brussels-Capital Region will join an earlier complaint filed by the local taxi industry with the Commercial Court of Belgium, and Smet this morning said he will also personally pursue prosecution against Uber next week.
In a conversation with Belgian newspaper De Morgen, Smet says Uber and similar initiatives are ‘welcome’ in Brussels, as long as they comply with local laws, echoing statements made by government officials around the globe – often under loud pressure from taxi drivers and associations.
Smet also insinuates that the government has tried to reason with Uber to no avail, and now wants to explore which laws, if any, the company is breaking exactly, and what can be done about it.
Notably, the Minister wants to take things a step further by writing a letter of complaint to the Belgian ‘Computer Crime Unit’, seeking to block people from using the app in the country.
Even more notably, Smet will also write a letter to American technology giants Google – a major investor in Uber – and Apple to request the removal of the Uber app from their application stores.
I wouldn’t want to hold my breath for the latter to happen, but a hard ban in Belgium in the near future is looking increasingly likely.
We’ve reached out to Uber for comment but have not received a response yet.