A judge in Madrid ordered Uber to immediately stop operating in the country on Tuesday, the BBC reports.
The judge cited “unfair competition” as a reason to ban the service from the country. In addition, the judge said Uber’s drivers are not authorised to drive in the country.
The complaint was filed by the Madrid Taxi Association.
Drivers “lack the administrative authorization to carry out the job, and the activity they carry out constitutes unfair competition,” the Spanish court services said, according to BBC.
Spanish publication The Local reported that Uber was not represented in court since it’s housed in the US, and that the judge “said his ruling was not a philosophical statement on the free market or the sharing economy but was a precautionary measure based on existing Spanish law.”
An Uber spokesman provided this statement to Business Insider:
This is a highly unusual commercial court proceeding and preliminary ruling brought against us by a Madrid taxi association. UberPOP is our ride-sharing solution and is about sharing the costs of vehicle ownership and helping people give up their cars and we will continue to run the service. Getting more people in fewer cars is good for the environment and good for our cities. This ruling is inconsistent with broad political acknowledgment in Spain and across the European Union on the benefits of sharing economy services, at a time of high unemployment and a floundering economic recovery.
Competition regulators across the European Union have called for full deregulation of the taxi industry, which currently acts as a barrier to consumer choice and economic opportunity. Uber will continue to comply with Spanish law and is currently assessing its legal options under this sudden and unusual proceeding.
Uber has faced opposition from several countries as it sets its sights on global expansion. This week, a Dutch court ruled that in the Netherlands, Uber can’t work with unlicensed drivers; drivers with licenses and drivers who don’t seek payment can still legally operate, however.
In addition, Uber’s services were banned in Delhi after an Indian driver allegedly raped and beat a female passenger. The driver had been arrested for another sexual assault three years ago. He was later acquitted, but Uber still let him drive. Thailand banned Uber’s operations this week in light of what happened in India.