Editorial of the "World". Too little, too late. The antiphon of "yellow jackets" on national government tax concessions is likely to find some echo at the European level. After months of negotiation and procrastination, France and Germany have finally reached an agreement on a project to tax the turnover of American Internet giants, whose technological know-how does not equal their creativity in tax optimization.
But this measure, which seemed to be an important signal for the European Union (EU) by introducing a little more fiscal justice, is already largely depleted of its substance and will not be submitted to the approval of the Twenty-seven until in March. 2019. Regarding its implementation, in the event of an agreement, it will not intervene until January 2021. Once again, national selfishness and European institutional rules are leading to a deadly stillness.
At this stage of the process, the famous "GAFA tax", as an abandoned window, has already lost two letters. Only Google and Facebook would be affected by this new tax, while Amazon and Apple could escape. To convince Germany, France had to make concessions by restricting the basis to the only commercial data relating to online advertising, while Paris, broadcast by the European Commission, also wanted to include the resale of data from online merchants, platforms and service publishers. As a result, the tax should produce only € 1.3 billion instead of the € 5 billion expected to start. That is, the cost of tax collection could be higher than its own revenue!
The responsibilities of this political mess are widely shared. Germany before, which, adopting a shy attitude, believed that it was able to defend itself against American commercial reprisals. However, it is naive to believe that cutting the pear in half on the "GAFA tax" will dissuade the unpredictable Donald Trump from taxing the German car. Upon arrival, he will do what he sees fit if he believes that the balance of power he has established is in his favor.
From this point of view, the president of the United States has already won the game against a European Union torn apart by the special interests of each of its members. One can understand the reluctance of Northern Europe on the idea of a European budget, compared by a European diplomat to "The rise of Everest in flip-flops"Although this project of taxation of Internet giants seemed to reach the twenty-seven. The disappointment is only greater.
Nor is the French government above any reproach. The tricolored volunteering motivated by the obsession to allow Emmanuel Macron to wield a trophy before the European elections of 2019 has led to robbing some partners, who have finally become tired of the tone of teaching adopted by Paris.
Finally, although it is watered down, it is not clear whether the project will finally be adopted. The rule of unanimity can meet the reluctance of Ireland, which has always given preferential treatment to the GAFA, and to those of Denmark, Sweden and Finland, who do not see very well what they have to win. In the event of bankruptcy, the Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, promised Thursday, December 6 that France would introduce a "GAFA tax" at national level. Yet, for the EU, it would be another missed opportunity.