PARIS — Pushing ahead with plans to apply a new tax on technology giants from the start of the year, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he expects Europe will soon follow suit.
“It’s a major challenge for the 21st century, and a question of justice and efficiency,” he said in an interview in the French weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche.
The minister said France supports a proposition from European commissioner Pierre Moscovici for the tax and that despite hesitancy on the part of some countries, an agreement with Germany could be within reach between now and the end of March.
The French government has sharpened its tone of threats to tax the so-called GAFA Internet giants — Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — following an increase in public spending prompted by the ongoing yellow-vest protest movement. French President Emmanuel Macron has sought to deflate anger from demonstrators frustrated with rising living costs by pledging a series of measures that include raising the minimum wage.
The government is drafting a bill to tax digital services companies generating annual revenues of more than 750 million euros on a worldwide scale and 25 million euros in France, applicable from Jan. 1, according to Le Maire. The bill will be submitted to ministers between now and the beginning of February, which will then be quickly put to a parliamentary vote, the minister predicted. Le Maire expects France to collect 500 million euros from the measure.