France: Google, Amazon tax shows need for EU majority vote

PARIS • The European Union’s (EU) inability to agree on taxing Internet giants like Google and Inc shows the need for majority voting at the soon-to-be 27-member bloc, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

“Finland, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden shouldn’t be allowed to block 23 countries from imposing a tax that they think is needed and just,” Le Maire said at a press conference in Paris as he presented a French tax that would apply to about 30 Internet giants like Facebook Inc and could raise €450 million (RM2.08 billion) in its first year.

France’s tax, which Le Maire called “simple, targeted and efficient”, is a temporary measure.

“These giants have created much value and they have created many jobs, and I will never denounce their success,” Le Maire said. “But we must fight against the distortions that these giants have created, especially on tax optimisations and on the dominant positions many have created. We must create taxation for the 21st century.”

The bill, including the tax, was approved at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting and will be presented to Parliament in early April.

Le Maire said 23 of the EU’s 28 members favour some sort of Internet tax, though the tax that Germany has agreed to support has a narrower base than that being unilaterally rolled out in France.

The levy of 3% of French sales starts retroactively from Jan 1 and potentially could raise €650 million annually by 2022. — Bloomberg