French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire called in Chernobbio, Italy, on Saturday, for a “stronger Europe” capable of enjoying its “political independence” and being “technologically sovereign” instead of merely playing the role of a “common market”.
“We want to make efforts for ‘Europe’ that occupies its position as a superpower in the world alongside the United States and China,” he told AFP on the sidelines of his participation in the Davos mini-forum organized by the consulting group “Ambrocity Forum” on the shores of Lake Como. of values.”
Le Maire explained that among those values are “solidarity among nations” and the establishment of “a model of economic development that respects the environment.”
France holds the rotating presidency of the European Council in January. “There is no political supremacy without technological sovereignty,” Le Maire said. We cannot enjoy political sovereignty while we depend on others for semiconductors, electric batteries, or space.”
“We must build this European independence through the transfer of industrial productions and the creation of new value-chains in sectors such as hydrogen, artificial intelligence, electric batteries, biotechnology or health,” he noted.
He pointed out that financing these investments “requires a union of capital markets and a banking union,” adding, “We hope to make progress in these issues, where the financial risks are very high.”
Le Maire announced that France is also seeking to “reach a European consensus under its presidency (of the Council) regarding minimum taxes” on multinational companies.
Ireland, Hungary and Estonia are reluctant to join the agreement reached in July by the Group of 20 countries that imposes a global tax of at least 15% on profits of multinational companies and adopts a better distribution of tax revenues from them.
European consensus on taxes? –
“I am not worried about our ability to find consensus among Europeans on the global tax, we have agreement in my Group of 27 and in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” Bruno Le Maire said, adding that “the political debate has changed profoundly.”
“We had constructive discussions with the Irish” on the sidelines of President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Dublin at the end of August, he added. He pointed out that “there are discussions and work that must be completed, but I am confident in the ability of the 27 member states to reach an agreement.”
Since 2003, Ireland has adopted a tax of 12.5%, which is the weakest among the rates adopted in the rest of European countries, allowing it to be considered a European headquarters for technology giants such as Apple and Google.
Since the meeting of the G-20 finance ministers in Venice, where they called on countries that refused to join the agreement, two other countries, Togo and Barbados, joined, bringing the total of signatories to 134, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
It is expected that negotiations will continue until October on the technical details of this new direction within the framework of the Organization of Cooperation, and that it will precede the next summit of G-20 finance ministers in Washington with the aim of moving to the implementation phase starting in 2023.