The Opinion presents a list of characteristics which make it possible to define the sharing economy model and to distinguish between genuine practices that require special arrangements and those that are sometimes wrongly described as such merely to get around regulations that should apply to them.
The social and environmental dimensions of the sharing economy have the potential to strengthen solidarity between people, boost local economies, create jobs, rationalise household consumption by pooling the use of certain goods, reduce energy footprints and promote more responsible and sustainable consumption.
The Commission should undertake policy measures in order to ensure that the numerous varieties of the sharing economy and the different ways it operates are supported, implemented, and gain credibility and trust at EU level and in the various Member States.
New business models need to comply with the applicable national and EU legislation.
The rights of all partners operating in the sharing economy, including prosumers, must be protected by adapting these relations across the existing EU acquis on consumer rights.
The EU must urgently define a clear and transparent legal framework within which these activities should be developed and implemented in the European area.
The Commission should publish without further delay the long overdue "European agenda for the collaborative economy" in order to provide a clear definition of the complementary role that self- and co-regulation must play in the sharing economy.
Other relevant EESC opinions on sharing economy:
- Collaborative or participatory consumption: a sustainable model for the 21st century (INT/686 - CESE 2788/2013)
- Building a sustainable economy by transforming our model of consumption (INT/497 - CESE 959/2010)
- Circular economy (NAT/651 - CESE 5002/2014)
- The circular economy: job creation and the Green Action Plan for SMEs (NAT/652 - CESE 5003/2014)
- Economy for the Common Good (ECO/378 - CESE 2060/2015)
Other relevant EESC opinions on self-regulation:
- Better Regulation (SC/41 - CESE 3697/2015)
- Self-regulation and co-regulation (INT/754 - CESE 4850/2014)
- Programme REFIT (INT/750 - CESE 4458/2014)
- Better regulation: implementing acts and delegated acts (INT/656 - CESE 248/2013)
- The Single Market Act - identifying missing measures (INT/688 - CESE 3154/2013)
For more information please contact the INT Section Secretariat.