The European Court of Justice on Wednesday said that Uber Technologies should be regulated as a transport company, a decision that opens the ride hailing firm up tougher regulation.

The long-awaited decision by Europe's highest court found that Uber operated like a traditional taxi firm, not a digital service.

The ruling means that Uber will have to work more closely with national and local governments that set the rules governing car and transport services in Europe.

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Uber "must be classified as 'a service in the field of transport' within the meaning of EU law," the ECJ's judges said Wednesday. "Member States can therefore regulate the conditions for providing that service."

The ruling cannot be appealed. Uber had argued that it was a digital service that connected drivers and customers through an app and therefore should be classified as an "information society service."

Uber said the ruling will not change the way it operates in Europe. The company is under pressure in the U.K., in September London refused to renew its operating license over safety concerns, a decision which it is now appealing.

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