Technology

Former European Commissioner joins Uber policy board

Nellie Kroes at an EU press conference in 2009. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Kroes spent 11 years as a European Commissioner

Car-booking service Uber has appointed a former vice-president of the European Commission to its new public policy board.

Nellie Kroes spent 11 years with the European Union's executive body as commissioner for competition and also head of its Digital Agenda initiative.

The board will advise the company on its global expansion and held its first meeting earlier this week.

In office, Ms Kroes criticised attempts to ban Uber in some European countries.

In 2014, she said he was "outraged" by a decision in a Brussels court to stop its drivers working in the city.

"This decision is not about protecting or helping passengers - it's about protecting a taxi cartel," she wrote on her official European Commission blog.

Others appointed to the board include Roberto Daniño, the former prime minister of Peru, ex-US secretary of transportation Ray LaHood and Allan Fels. previously chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,

A spokesman for Uber told the BBC the board members were chosen because of their experience in public policy affecting the company and mix of nationalities.

Image copyright PA
Image caption London taxi drivers are among those who objected to Uber's international expansion

"As Uber continues to expand globally and introduce innovative products, we're encountering novel policy issues at the intersection of technology, transportation and competition," the spokesman said.

"We know we don't have all the answers and we're excited to get guidance from this group of experienced leaders."

The company's international expansion has been followed by objections from taxi operators and governments.

Image copyright PA

In London, protests took place in January this year because black cab drivers said the service was "unfair competition", although the city's transport authority, Transport for London, disagreed. In France, the government intervened to close a version of the app following nationwide protests by taxi drivers last summer.

Uber's chief advisor David Plouffe said the company believed car-booking apps would form a part of transport networks worldwide and the new public policy group would offer advice on the challenges the company faces.

"Uber has a reputation for getting straight to the point (sometimes a little too quickly) and we want their feedback to be equally direct," he said.

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