Uber and the Mill of Sanssouci

Freedom of enterprise is considered a second-class freedom in Spain, rather than a fundamental right. It is clear that this has been the view not only of successive Spanish governments since the current Constitution was promulgated in 1978, but also of the judges of the Supreme Court of Spain (Tribunal Supremo) and the Constitutional Court of Spain (Tribunal Constitucional). Spanish regulation of unscheduled urban transport services provided by private-hire passenger vehicles (PHVs) perfectly illustrates the former’s interventionist impulses (as part of the close and pernicious relationship between politics and business, in which economic freedoms are used as a bargaining chip) as well as the deference to power shown by the latter.

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