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Home arrow newsitems arrow French Economy Minister LeMaire +EU Commissioner Vestager: with GAFA Tax =EU Sovereignity+Technology

French Economy Minister LeMaire +EU Commissioner Vestager: with GAFA Tax =EU Sovereignity+Technology

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- An exceptional and well attended EU Parliament's joint Hearing from its Economic and Monetary as well as Tax Fraud/Evasion and Financial Crime Committees, followed by a Citizens' Consultation event, Together with EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, at the prestigious Strasbourg's Town Hall, (there where CoE had been Created by European Heads of State/Goverments 70 Years ago), offered a Timely Opportunity for the Young but already Experienced French Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, (former EU affairs and later Agriculture Minister, etc),  a key Political Ally of President Emmanuel Macron, to Strongly Urge for EU Decisions at the forthcoming December 2018 EU Summit in Brussels, to Tax the Big Rich Companies exploiting Internet services, and making Fortunes of Billions € by harvesting European Peuple's Data free of charge : all Foreign and all American, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA) etc.  

 

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A quite Popular Idea at this Side of the Atlantic Ocean, but also facing some Concerns by certain EU Member States, so that its Final, Total and Prompt Adoption of all those relevant Measures wouldn't seem obvious to everybody, as Debates with several Positive, but also hesitaht MEPs revealed...

 

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But Bruno Le Maire, backed by EU Commissioner Vestager, Highlighted an even Stronger Inventive, apparently able to Boost Wider Support even among those currently hesitating : Such a demonstration of EU's Financial Sovereignity, could and should also Help to settle another Big Issue in nowadays Global Digital landscape : To Develop, in parallel, a much Needed European Giants' Industry of brand New Digital Products at the World Wide Web, by mastering Modern Key Technologies !


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- When even our European SMEs, Craftsmen, Independent Workers, etc., are Taxed sometimes from 12% up to 25%, but the Global US Giant Company "Google" doesn't pay, practically, No Taxes, f.ex. while based in Ireland, it's Not Acceptable !, he Criticized, applauded by several People.


-"Don't be Afraid !", he vigouresly launched to Sympathizers, after some Other Critics (f.ex. a MEP) had found Pretext in certain Other EU Member States' alleged Hesitations, in order to make Pessimist Predictions for that Project to Tax GAFAs.


+ "I Won't Stop !", vowed Bruno Le Maire, Adding that, for Europe, to "Be Sovereign, is Also to have Our Own Technologies", in order to Build "an Industrial Plan" for EU Member Countries, "All Together", as he highlighted.


- For that purpose, we (EU) must Attract the Best Researchers, Invest, and Coooperate, the key French Minister resumed in a nutshell.


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++ And, Then, "if we (EU) Open up", in International Trade, concerning Digital/Internet products, "they (mainly the USA's Big Companies) Must Open" too !, stressed EU Commissioner Vestager.


Vestager has Recently become World Famous for having dared ask "Google" to pay considerable Taxes from the Profits it makes in Europe.


- "I am Not for a Trade War", ensured Le Maire. But, "I believe in Solidarity between European Businesses", and in the "European Preference !", he added, pointing, f.ex., at the use of French-European "QWant" Search Engine, etc.. (While some still Remember that Good European Search-Engine "All The Web", which was finally Bought by USA's "Yahoo", and "killed" by simply incorporating it partly in its own engine)...


- Meanwhile, f.ex. for "the Protection of (personal) Data", the key French Minister pleaded for "a European Way" to do such things, which would be "Not the American Way", "Neither the Chinese way", as he said.


- To those MEPs who claimed that there were still Obstacles inside EU Council, citting f.ex. Ireland (where "Google" and/or "Apple" for Europe are Headquartered, etc), and/or Germany, allegedly "afraid that the USA may react by Taxing their Car Exports", etc, he calmly Replied by reminding that he was in favor of a close Franco-German Cooperation in main EU affairs, pleading for a Joint Position "at the End of the Year" 2018, as well as that he had "Spoken about that with Wolfgang Schäuble", (ChristianDemocrat/EPP,when he still was Minister for Financial affairs, before becoming, recently, President of the Bundestag : See ..., etc), and that the new German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, (Socialist), would be now favourable to GAFA's Tax. For that purpose, he plans to Visit Germany and even Ireland, (with which he said that a Solution meeting its real, legitimate interests, could be found).


Obviously, by Highlighting the prospect to build a European Digital Industry, Germany may be more Motivated to play the game... Chancellor Angie Merkel, (as well as a lot of Mainsream German Medias), had already shown a lively Interest to Boost Independent European Digital products, as early as since the aftermath of the 2013 Snowden Scandal on US Mass Spying even on EU Countries' Officials, (as an unforgetable EU Summit, October 2013 in Brussels, had clearly shown : See, f.ex., among others, also : .....)


- "Together, We (EU's key Countries) can be Strong. But, one Alone, would be Swept away by Globalisation, Bruno Le Maire warned, as a matter of general principle.


-  At any case, "Digital Taxation" is an "Important" Issue, where "we (EU) Need better Monitoring", while France vowed to use, during the "Next Year" (2019), its G7 - G20 Presidency in order "to Fight Better against Tax Evasion" at Global level, Bruno Le Maire anounced.


But the most obvious Question, spontaneously popping up for anyone who followed Both MEPs' and EU Citizens' Debates Today in Strasbourg, naively but sincerely and logically is :


- "When shall we have a good European SmartPhone ?"...


Something, indeed, that even the experienced ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party's President, former Long-Time Strasbourg's MEP and Chairman of the EPP Group in EU Parliament, Joseph Daul, had vowed to Discuss with the New French President, already since 2017...


A fortiori, when one knows that even the 1st Mobile Phone in the World, as well as the 1st evolved SmartPhone, were Both built in Europe in the Past, by Finland's Nokia, (which has Recently returned back to Independent Production).

 

But Minister Bruno Le Maire, who Saluted Friendly "Eurofora" (which had been Invited to Both Events), when he Arrived Today in Strasbourg, had, afterwards, to run fast to catch his TGV for Paris, so that this key Question was practically postponed for later-on...

 

(../..)


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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

----------------------------------

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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