France’s President Emmanuel Macron took issue with the American business model, arguing during a tech summit in Paris that the private sector has too much influence on U.S. policy.
According to a report in Reuters, citing comments Macron made during the conference, the French president said he preferred tougher merger and acquisition policies in Europe and vowed to ensure that software firms in Europe don’t become part of U.S. businesses. Macron, who has faced criticism that he is too comfortable with businesses and favored tax reforms that benefit the wealthy, has been calling for the protection of European companies that are being acquired by corporate giants outside of Europe. He is facing an election in two weeks.
“The United States are a formidable continent, but they have a model which is completely steered by big private sector players and which is no longer subject to democratic checks and balances,” Macron said, according to Reuters. He called for Europe to be the standard by which other nations implement regulations of digital technology.
What’s more, Macron called on the tech companies to do more for common good in society. The French president has led Europe’s efforts to make Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple pay more in taxes in the countries where revenue is earned. “In Europe, we are building a model that is competitive, innovative … that is democratic and driven by the common good,” he said.
Macron’s comments were in direct opposition to what Alibaba Chief Executive Jack Ma had to say at the same conference earlier Thursday (May 16). He used his time to express concern that Europe is moving in a direction where regulation of technology companies will stifle innovation. “Everything they do is full [of] rules and laws,” Ma said of Europe, according to the report. “And everything they think about, they start to worry. When they worry, they make rules and laws.”