Macron Wants to Make France Gateway to Europe for Tech Firms

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Macron Wants to Make France Gateway to Europe for Tech Firms

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted "Tech for Good" summit on May 23, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron says his innovation policies aim to make France the gateway to Europe for tech companies.

Speaking in English in front of CEOs and other leaders of the tech industry, Macron said "France is changing like crazy so that we can say that France is back and you could choose France."

He said his labour changes have boosted investment in the country over the past year. Macron also pushed for tougher EU regulations and a European digital tax.

The speech at the Vivatech trade show in Paris comes a day after Macron met Facebook, Microsoft, Uber, IBM and other CEOs to discuss personal data protection and taxes, among other issues.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is to speak later in the day at Vivatech.

Earlier, Macron took on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Internet giants Wednesday at a Paris meeting to discuss personal data protection and taxes as France pushes for tougher European regulations.

Macron welcomed Zuckerberg and the leaders of dozens of other tech companies, including Microsoft, Uber, and IBM, at a "Tech for Good" conference meant to address how they could use their global influence for the public good.

The meeting came as Facebook, Google and other online giants are increasingly seen by the public as predators that abuse personal data, avoid taxes and stifle competition.

Macron, who also met privately with Zuckerberg at the presidential Elysee palace, said beforehand that he would keep asking the Facebook co-founder to make "commitments."

"France defends the idea of tough regulations" such as a 3 percent digital tax on tech companies' gross revenue in the European Union, Macron said, adding that it's "crucial" that Internet giants pay taxes. He also wants new regulations to combat extremist propaganda online and cyber-bullying.

Privacy was another issue Macron raised with Zuckerberg and the other tech executives in one-on-one meetings and at a group lunch in the presidential palace with philanthropists and politicians.

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Further reading: Emmanuel Macron, Facebook, Uber, Microsoft
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