European Sharing Economy Coalition
"Euro Freelancers will launch the European Sharing Economy Coalition (EURO-SHE) at a public hearing in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 25 September 2013. The event will be hosted by Mr Bernardo Hernández Bataller, the Rapporteur of the Collaborative Consumption Opinion of the EESC.
The launch of the European Sharing Economy Coalition followed an invitation from the European Commission to discuss the importance of tackling the Sharing Economy model for the European Union.
The European Sharing Economy Coalition is the first pan-European network to forge a unified voice, advocate and monitor progress towards EU and national policy." (http://www.euro-freelancers.eu/european-sharing-economy-coalition/)
An EU Policy Agenda for the Sharing Economy
"New technology platforms and social tools have enabled more citizens to find new ways of monetising their underutilised assets, providing employment, housing, transportation, food, and improved lifestyles for themselves. Many new Sharing Economy companies have operations in the EU, making the continent an incubator for new business models that create jobs, empower citizens, improve resource efficiency and creates a more sustainable economic development. However, the emergence of the Sharing Economy is not happening without challenges. Innovations face substantial financial constraints and lack institutional support. New comers also struggle with a number of regulatory obstacles that may jeopardise their long-term development.
The Sharing Economy represents a major economic, social and cultural shift. However, it has enjoyed a relatively easy ride from EU lawmakers so far, falling below the radar when it comes to government regulation. This absence of regulatory measures creates uncertainty that may inhibit investments and development of the sector. Rule enforcers are now beginning to realise how big the collaborative marketplace is becoming and the revenues it is generating, hence they need to explore how they could facilitate its growth.
The emerging Sharing Economy industry in the EU is facing several significant challenges, above all outdated regulatory frameworks, the hostility of established enterprises and friction with trade unions and consumer organisations. Companies are finding more and more that their national and international markets are shaped by European regulations. Today’s business strategy must therefore be based on the legal instruments that the EU is likely to introduce if they want to unlock European markets, reduce regulation and generate competitive advantage.
Sharing Economy organisations need to have a long-term vision and engage early with European regulators, especially the European Commission, to design appropriate rules and policies, as the market is now rapidly taking shape. This is particularly the case considering the EU2020 strategy which proposes that "the consumption of goods and services should take place in accordance with smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and should also have an impact on job creation, productivity and economic, social and territorial cohesion". The main goal should be for the EU to recognise the Sharing Economy as an overarching strategy guiding their whole policy thinking in the various sectors.
Drawing inspiration from the Shareable Cities Resolution 87, adopted by the US Conference of Mayors, the European Sharing Economy Coalition advocates for European policy makers to support the Sharing Economy in the following ways:
- Encourage the EU to become an early adopter of shared services by supporting users and providers with the tools that can facilitate growth for the Sharing Economy.
- Commission impact assessment studies on sharing assets in the EU to identify opportunities and help to create more standardised methods for measuring the benefits of the Sharing Economy to the public and private sector, above all in cities.
- Set up networks with leaders from cities (e.g. via the EU Covenant of Mayors or the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities) to build capacity, spread information and ideas about successful models for the Sharing Economy.
- Create local working groups to review and address regulations that could hamper involvement in the Sharing Economy, bringing together residents and neighborhoods, redefining public services, innovation and civic engagement.
- Regulate on the Sharing Economy on a sector-by-sector basis, incorporating feedback from sharing companies and end-users, involving a broad set of stakeholders in consultations.
- Facilitate the transferability of best practice solutions across Member States and incentivise public investments (grants, subsidies) for pilot projects and initiatives on the Sharing Economy.
- Drawing inspiration from the report: Policies for Shareable Cities, European policy makers should play an active role in making publicly owned assets available for maximum utilisation by designing sharable infrastructures, services, incentives and regulations that facilitate the Sharing Economy at local level.
This is particularly relevant in the following areas:
Shareable Transportation: subsidise, incentivise or require car sharing, bike sharing and ride sharing programs. Designate, reduce fees or establish free parking spots for car sharing. Allow residents to lease residential parking spaces for shared vehicles. Create economic incentives for ride sharing, like designated lanes or waived or reduced tolls. Help meet demand for ride sharing by designating convenient locations as carpool pick-up spots.
Shareable Food: Encourage urban agriculture by removing barriers to growing and selling. Provide tax credits to property owners who farm vacant land. Conduct inventories that explore the potential for food cultivation on unused land. Allow food distribution points to increase access to local food production. Support the establishment of food redistribution programs. Support local commercial kitchens and food enterprises.
Shareable Housing: Help establish more housing cooperatives. Permit residents to use their homes for short-term renters. Amend or remove restrictions to co-habitation. Enable the creation of co-housing and eco-villages.
Shareable Jobs: Reduce fees to allow shared workspaces and community-owned businesses. Facilitate the temporary use of empty commercial spaces. Consider Sharing Economy companies whenever contracts are established for public procurement of goods and services. Integrate topics related to the Sharing Economy into high education, vocational training and other programs." (http://www.euro-freelancers.eu/european-sharing-economy-coalition/)