France Pushes for Stricter EU Regulation of U.S. Online Giants

3:40 AM PST 09/20/2013 by George Szalai

Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.com would be affected by suggested tax changes and new rules that would make it easier for European firms to challenge U.S. giants.

France is pushing for new Europe-wide regulation and changes to tax rules that would affect U.S. Internet and tech giants, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple.

The Wall Street Journal reported that France wants the European Commission, the EU's executive body, to discuss the changes during a European Union leadership meeting about digital issues next month.

STORY: Apple iPhones Go on Sale in China, Post Haste

France wants to create new rules for "a tax regime for digital companies that ensures that the profits they make on the European market are subject to taxation." The revenue would be shared by the EU member states, according to the report.

Germany and the U.K. have also suggested changing current tax rules that allow U.S. Internet firms to avoid paying much of the corporate taxes in Europe.

France is also suggesting new regulation that would support the emergence of European Web players, according to the Journal. It said the rule proposals include making online user profiles portable to make it easier for European competitors to challenge U.S. giants.

"We don't want to regulate the net," French technology minister Fleur Pellerin told the Journal. "We want to regulate a small number of Internet platforms that today are blocking innovation from all of the other actors. The current situation makes it difficult for European champions to emerge at a global scale."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

comments powered by Disqus