PARIS — France’s president wants Uber’s cheapest car service shut down and its vehicles seized, but Uber refuses to stop the service until a ruling by the country’s top court.
The standoff, and a violence-marred taxi strike that upended Paris travel, reflects larger tensions in France over how to regulate fast-moving technology and stay globally competitive while ensuring labour protections.
France’s top security official, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, said Friday that Uber is facing multiple investigations. He spoke to RTL radio a day after striking taxi drivers attacked Uber livery cars and setting fire to tires on a major artery around Paris.
Some taxi drivers continued the protest Friday, but the strike did not appear to seriously disrupt morning travel around Paris, and no violence was immediately reported.
Uber’s cheapest service, called UberPop in France, was banned here, but Uber officials insist they will continue their activities until France’s highest court rules on the service.
Cazeneuve called that “cynical and arrogant.”
French President Francois Hollande said Friday, “The UberPop group must be dissolved and declared illegal, and the vehicles must be seized.” But he said that the executive branch can’t do that without further action through the courts.
Hollande, speaking at an EU summit in Brussels, accused Uber of not respecting “the social and fiscal rules.” French authorities are frustrated that Uber doesn’t pay the same taxes and social charges as traditional taxis do.
Uber argues that the French taxi system is outdated and needs reform to keep up with apps and geolocalization, and that traditional taxis are just trying to quash competition.
The company faces similar legal challenges and criticism from taxi drivers’ associations around the world.
Furious taxi drivers in France say the low-cost UberPop service is ruining their livelihood. Uber drivers have been repeatedly ambushed, sometimes with customers inside.