EU Committee Releases Report on Regulating the Collaborative Economy

Last year, LabGov, a think tank and action platform focused on the urban commons that's based in Rome, Italy, asked us to provide feedback on the draft of an opinion report on how to regulate the collaborative economy. The effort was spearheaded by Benedetta Brighenti — vice mayor of Castelnuovo Rangone — for the European Committee of the Regions. It was clear from the start that the report would have a strong public-interest bent due to the inclusive process LabGov designed to draft it.

Last month, the final report was presented to the EU and made public. It's largely a response to the EU's call to provide "guidance aimed at supporting consumers, businesses and public authorities to engage confidently in the collaborative economy." Here are key takeaways from the report:

  • Avoid regulatory fragmentation across the EU, but do so for the benefit of the public rather than just to spur economic growth
  • Form a collaborative economy forum for cities to help exchange knowledge
  • Conduct a rigorous local impact assessment as the collaborative economy is based in and spans localities
  • Tackle cross-cutting issues within the Urban Agenda for the EU, particularly that which relates to the digital transition
  • Take a holistic approach that considers the economic, social, and environmental assets of systems for sharing goods and services
  • Make sure that the collaborative economy doesn't worsen the digital divide
  • Create an environment in which local services have a chance to thrive in local and world markets in context of a market often dominated by U.S. businesses

Also notable is recognition of the collaborative economy's potential positive environmental and social impact, its social and experiential quality, and the importance of shaping it according to European values.

The report covers much more in its 10 pages. While far from a complete treatment of how to regulate the collaborative economy, it provides a model that other jurisdictions can take inspiration from, especially in considering human values, embracing a broad definition of the collaborative economy, and involving local authorities in crafting regulation that works at multiple levels of government.

Header image of Benedetta Brighenti by the European Committee of the Regions