To this end, the digital single market project is a unique opportunity which we must take to create the methods which will allow us to defend the rules protecting our individual freedoms and confidentiality to which everyone is entitled, which will allow us to protect our companies’ economic data and create European regulations which will at the same time provide legitimate protection to persons and companies, which will allow European actors to emerge in a fair market and which will help compensate for the deep upheaval in the traditional economy sometimes created by this change. Major digital platforms and data protection are at the core of our sovereignty in that regard.
Can the same be said of taxation? This is a debate we must have, because I fully believe in this innovation economy, I fully believe in an open world, but an open world is only worth having if there is fair competition! And we cannot accept having European actors who must pay tax, while their international counterparts do not, and digital actors who pay no tax competing with traditional economy actors who do pay tax!
To that end, France, with its partners, has begun supporting an initiative at the level of economy and finance ministers which I would like to see extended to heads of state and government level, namely the taxation of value created, where it is produced, which will allow us to overhaul our tax systems and to stringently tax companies which relocate outside of Europe for the specific purpose of avoiding tax. This is a fair tax because it taxes across countries the amount of value which is created in each, and simply recalls a fundamental element of our common and democratic philosophies: that there are common goods to be financed and that all economic actors must play their part. In the new economy, there can be no actors who are stowaways from the contemporary world because, as we know, this new economy also creates upheaval and inequality, disrupts territories and therefore creates situations which require compensation and support which the public authorities must be able to resolve. It is therefore fair and legitimate that when they make profits elsewhere, they contribute to this solidarity where they create value.
As you can see, I do not want Europe to simply succeed at this digital transition, but to build a fair framework for it, a framework which will allow us to uphold our values, the fundamentals of our civilizations and the essential economic balances. That is why in this digital Europe we must also defend our copyright, and wherever it exists, we must defend the value created by those who truly create it. And copyright is not a debate from another era, it is not an outdated debate. People stigmatize France by saying “we already know what you’re going to say, you’re going to talk to us about copyright.” As talented directors from around Europe know, without our European imagination — and I will return to that in a moment — Europe is no longer itself; but this is also a question of justice.