Uber’s lobbying activities in France and its ties to French President Emmanuel Macron are facing an official investigation following an inquiry led by the Guardian last year.
A panel of French parliamentarians will investigate the relationship between public officials, including Macron, and ride-hailing companies after journalists revealed widespread lobbying of politicians by the company.
An Uber file project published by The Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed that the company viewed Mr Macron as a key ally during his tenure as economy minister.
Macron tried to help Uber, but At one point, he claimed to have brokered a “deal” with its political opponents, the files show.
The document, provided to The Guardian by former Uber European lobbyist Mark MacGann, said he had come to believe the company was exploiting its drivers.Uber admits mistakes in handling investigation He said the new CEO had overhauled the company’s practices.
French parliamentarian Daniel Simonet, who submitted the motion for an investigation, said that in addition to the economic impact of the gig economy, the commission would investigate “the role of public officials” and “the relationship between public and private decision-makers.” rice field. .
Phrases look like A euphemistic reference to Uber’s relationship with Macron. An earlier motion by Simonet was rejected last year on the grounds that it explicitly referred to the French president.
The French inquiry is the second parliamentary inquiry into Uber’s political affiliations launched as a result of the files. A two-month Belgian inquiry into Uber’s files was due to start on Thursday.
Separately, Uber’s files were discussed during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
Several MEPs have expressed concern over last year’s report, and the ongoing lobbying of MEPs by private interests in general. Others have sharply criticized Uber’s business model, accusing the company of exploiting drivers.
Kim van Sparrentak, Green MEP in the Netherlands, said: “People who are having trouble finding work deserve real jobs with rights and fair wages, not gig work apps that follow their every step.”
Agnes Jongerius of the Dutch Labor Party has said that the lobbying of MEPs has intensified since Uber submitted its inquiry, telling parliament to “look at the influence of big tech companies as well.” asked.
“If you don’t do this just once, this [gig economy] Models can become something of an oil slick for the entire economy,” she said.
Uber denies abusing its drivers. In response to an investigation in the Uber files, the company “moved from an era of confrontation to an era of cooperation, demonstrating a willingness to sit at the negotiating table and find common ground with former adversaries, including labor unions and taxi companies.” said.
The company said Uber is “currently regulated in more than 10,000 cities around the world, and all levels of government are working to improve the lives of the people who use the platform and the cities it serves.” says.
Jylva Johansson, who spoke on behalf of the European Commission, said at a debate in Strasbourg that the Commission “had a very high regard for the role of whistleblowers in the functioning of democracy and the economy”. said.
She also sought further information from former digital commissioner Neelie Kroes after files suggested she secretly helped Uber lobby the Dutch government, and the European Fraud Prevention Agency (OLAF) added that it is currently investigating the matter.