Europe Leaders Call for Action to Support the Collaborative Economy

Leaders in Europe have called for action to challenge complex and fragmented rules that are holding the collaborative economy back in parts of Europe. During a meeting of EU’s Competitive Council yesterday, leaders said recent guidance calling for a consistent approach to collaborative economy rules across member states is only truly meaningful if it is enforced.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner, said: “Our main job is to ensure that existing EU law is consistently applied across the EU Single market. Our guidance is meaningful only if it is enforced, that is why we have to make a next step. There are different approaches across the EU and from my perspective this is a problem for now for Europe. We have to treat the collaborative economy as an opportunity for Europe.”

Peter Žiga, Chairman of the Competitiveness Council and Slovak Minister of Economy, said: “There is a strong push for this part of the economy and its opportunities. Rules should be applied in a proportionate manner and allow new forms of economy to flourish. In this sense, some ministers warned against new regulatory barriers and called for a more coordinated EU approach.”

Earlier this year, the EU Commission voiced its  support for the collaborative economy and called for rules that are consistent across Europe. It said national rules must be proportionate and that it will work with member states to ensure unnecessary barriers to participation in the collaborative economy are removed.

Speaking after the gathering of EU leaders yesterday, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, UK Business Minister, said:

“It is important to support new business models and develop new businesses in areas like sharing accommodation. The Commission’s guidance rightly says that national laws regulating these sectors need to be proportionate – not over burdensome. I have been making the point to my colleagues that this type of business model is not just good for business but it’s really good for consumers.”

We are grateful for the support of leaders across Europe. We want to work with them to help grow the collaborative economy sustainably and to ensure its benefits are available to everyone.

Many member states have already introduced progressive rules that support regular people who share their homes, and we are proud to work with them. But we know there is still work to do in other parts of Europe.

Last week, we were grateful for the opportunity to welcome Commissioner Bieńkowska to Airbnb’s headquarters in San Francisco, where we discussed the benefits of the home sharing and how we can ensure its benefits are available to everyone.

Recently, we released new data that shows there were over 16 million guest arrivals on Airbnb in Europe this summer and that seniors hosts are the fastest growing host demographic on Airbnb.

Speaking yesterday on the growth of senior hosts in Europe at the Digital Assembly in Bratislava, Vice-President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip said:

“Hosts, aged over 60, are consistently the best-rated Airbnb hosts. Their numbers have almost doubled in the past year. To me, this says clearly that new online uses and technologies are not just for geeks and teenagers.”