The collaborative economy, sometimes called the sharing economy, covers a great variety of sectors and is rapidly emerging across Europe. Many people in the EU have already used, or are aware of collaborative economy services, which range from sharing houses and car journeys, to domestic services. The collaborative economy provides new opportunities for citizens and innovative entrepreneurs. But it has also created tensions between the new service providers and existing market operators. The European Commission is looking at how we can encourage the development of new and innovative services, and the temporary use of assets, while ensuring adequate consumer and social protection.
Short-term accommodation rentals
- Register for the workshops on short-term accommodation rentals - 22 October and 10 December 2021
- Public consultation on tourist services (short-term rental initiative)
- EUROSTAT data on short-stays via collaborative economy platforms - June 2021
- Eurobarometer ‘Short-term rentals in the EU’ - October 2021
- Empirical study on short-term accommodation rental in Amsterdam - 2021
Guidance and policy recommendations for the collaborative economy
The collaborative economy offers greater choice to consumers and new opportunities to entrepreneurs, but citizens and businesses must be aware of existing rules and obligations. With the Communication on the European agenda for the collaborative economy of June 2016, the EU provides clarity on applicable EU rules and policy recommendations to help citizens, businesses and EU countries fully benefit from the new business models and promote the balanced development of the collaborative economy.
Conference to evaluate the development of the collaborative economy
On 11 October 2018, the Commission organised the high-level conference, 'Collaborative economy: opportunities, challenges, policies' in Brussels to take stock of policy, regulatory and market developments since the adoption of the Communication on the collaborative economy in June 2016. Over 250 participants from public authorities, stakeholders and academia discussed opportunities created by the collaborative economy, challenges associated with its development and policy solutions. On the occasion of the conference, the Commission published the results of a new Eurobarometer survey (see below) indicating that 1 in 4 EU citizens have used services offered via collaborative platforms and 1 in 5 say they either have offered such services or can imagine doing so.
- Opening Speech by Commissioner for the Internal Market, Elżbieta Bieńkowska
- Summary of 'Collaborative economy: opportunities, challenges, policies' conference
- Summary of workshops on short-term accommodation rental services discussed during conference (see also, below)
Workshop series on short-term accommodation rental
In December 2020 and January 2021, the Commission organised three workshops with EU cities (Dublin, Lisbon and Valencia) to present and discuss regulatory practices, focusing on collaborative short-term accommodation rentals. This followed a series of workshops for EU countries and stakeholders launched by the Commission in 2017. Through this project the Commission, in partnership with competent authorities of EU countries and industry, wished to translate the general guidance and policy recommendations into more concrete indications for the tourism accommodation sector. The aim was to promote best practice across the EU and fight market fragmentation in the Single Market. The workshop series was closed with a concluding debate at the conference that took place in October 2018 (see above).
- SIMFO workshop report on short-term accommodation in Lisbon
- SIMFO workshop report on short-term accommodation in Valencia
Local events and workshops on the collaborative economy
As part of the Single Market Forum and in cooperation with local partners, the European Commission has been organising a series of stakeholder workshops on the collaborative economy in several European cities. The purpose of the workshops is to develop a deeper understanding of the collaborative economy and thus hear from the business community, local and national authorities, as well as civil society.
The findings of the workshops show that the collaborative economy is changing the market and a variety of new business models are emerging in Europe.
Collaborative economy workshops
- 25 November 2015, Stockholm, Sweden
- 3 February 2016, Berlin, Germany
- 3 March 2016, Bucharest, Romania
- 25 May 2016, Barcelona, Spain
- 13 June 2016, Single Market Forum closing conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 10 November 2016, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 7 December 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark
- 28 March 2017, Lisbon, Portugal
Eurobarometer surveys on the collaborative economy
In October 2021, the European Commission released the results of the first Eurobarometer survey on short-term rentals in the EU. It identifies citizens’ perceptions and practices in relation to short-term rentals. The results of the survey, country factsheets and an infographic are available. This 2021 survey complements two previous flash Eurobarometers on the collaborative economy conducted in 2018 and 2016.
A public consultation on the regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy ran from 24 September 2015 to 6 January 2016. The full synopsis report (594kB) is available.
From 24 January to 14 March 2017, we consulted citizens providing accommodation for short-term rental via collaborative platforms in the EU to better understand the development of the collaborative economy and its main features in this sector. The report is available.
A series of external analytical papers contracted by the Commission shed light on some of the most relevant regulatory and economic aspects of the collaborative economy.
- Analytical paper on market access requirements in the short-term accommodation rental sector in Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam (1MB)
- Analytical paper on market access requirements in the short-term accommodation rental sector in Paris, Rome, Milan and London (924kB)
- Analytical paper on market access requirements in the short-term accommodation rental sector in Stockholm, Budapest and Brussels (1MB)