Uber, Taxi, Uber App, Uber Files

How the driving service Uber allegedly influenced politics

The driving service Uber has apparently lobbied heavily for its entry into the German market. An international investigation into the so-called “Uber Files” now provides insight into the startup’s lobbying work.

Since its launch in Germany in 2013, Uber has not always had it easy: disputes with the taxi cooperative, court orders and finally the ban on Uber Pop across Germany in March 2015.

As international research has now revealed, Uber is busily pushing the tube during this time. The so-called Uber files in which in Germany Southern German newspaper, GDR and WDR were involved give an insight into the lobbying work of the American company.

What did the Uber files reveal?

The international team involved in examining Uber’s files took a close look at Uber’s global lobbying work.

Among others, French President Emmanuel Macron is in the spotlight. After Uber was banned in Marseille, the then economy minister is said to have intervened with the authorities at the request of the company. The ban was lifted a few days later.

What role does Emmanuel Macron play?

When asked, Macron said that “as economy minister, he came into contact with many companies in the service sector.” According to the research, even the former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes lobbied for Uber.

And this already during maternity leave, during which as a high-ranking European politician she should not accept any lobbying work in her former area. During this time she is said to have organized meetings with Dutch top politicians. Internally, Uber management demanded “absolute discretion”.

After maternity leave, Kroes joined Uber’s advisory board and also worked as a consultant to the company. The politician today denies that he was working for Uber at the time.

What did Uber’s lobbying work look like in Germany?

But not only at the European level, but also in Germany, Uber wanted to secure market entry through intensive lobbying. The “big lobby campaign” was led by former FDP Bundestag member Otto Fricke. The main attention was paid to the Passenger Transport Act. But the work in the lobby was not really fruitful.

In the field of science and media, on the other hand, Uber has been more successful. Among other things, be in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung featured a guest article by economist Justus Haucap, partially edited by Uber.

How does Uber approach lobbying in Germany today?

Germany’s Uber opposed Süddeutsche Zeitung commented on the allegations. Accordingly, “the conduct of our former CEO and certain executives surrounding our entry into the German market is inexcusable.”

The mistakes made by the company during this time have been thoroughly scrutinized and deservedly attracted worldwide attention years ago.

According to the San Francisco headquarters, the company has learned from these mistakes. At first, Uber worked in the “confrontational era”. Meanwhile, however, man has entered the “cooperative era.”

This shows the company’s willingness to find “common ground” with “former opponents” such as taxi drivers or unions.

Today, Uber is one of the largest work platforms in the world and an integral part of the daily lives of more than 100 million people.

What’s behind the Uber file research?

of Guardians received the documents that served as the basis for this research. The British newspaper shared the data with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 42 other international partners.

A total of more than 180 journalists from 29 countries participated in the Uber Files investigative research. They were in Germany Southern German newspaper like GDR and WDR included.

In total, journalists reviewed more than 124,000 Uber documents from 2013 to 2017. In addition to the roughly 83,000 emails, there were also strategic memos, invoices, text messages and PowerPoint presentations.

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