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MEP: Hungarian taxi demo could backfire

In Hungary

Kaja Kallas at hosts a debate on Euranet Plus on April 22, 2015. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Euranet Plus)

Although everyone has the right to demonstrate, to show their opposition to issues that affect them, the case of the Hungarian taxi drivers, who have been demonstrating against U.S.-based ride-sharing application Uber for the third consecutive day, may backfire, Estonian MEP Kaja Kallas said yesterday.

Kaja Kallas hosts a debate on Euranet Plus on April 22, 2015. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Euranet Plus)

In an interview with Hungarian online daily index.hu, the MEP said that “the message I would send to Hungarian drivers is that they stop demonstrating, because when London-based taxi drivers did the same, more people started using Uber, people who had not heard about the existence of the application before, therefore they might be hurting their own business”.

According to Kallas, Uber should not be banned, but out-of-date regulations must be changed. She added that the real issues should be addressed, those issues that taxi drivers are demonstrating against. She mentioned Estonia as an example, where Uber was able to agree with the tax authority that it would send a notification to the tax office every time someone sat in an Uber car, making tax payments more transparent, index.hu reported. She added that if Uber drivers in Hungary pay less for social security, then employment regulations must be modernized to a degree that the traditional employer-employee hierarchy is no longer applicable.

Hungarian taxi drivers began demonstrating on Monday morning, and also met Budapest Mayor István Tarlós, although as mayor he said he was unable to help them claiming that he lacked the tools to affect regulatory change. Some taxi drivers said they will continue to protest until midnight tonight.

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