Following on from the Enderlein & Pisani-Ferry report and statements by their respective governments, France and Germany could spearhead a single European digital market that will enable European companies to become world class. In this sense, the report's authors call for the construction of a digital ecosystem without borders. The note published by France Stratégie details and extends this proposal around four priority areas.
The regulation of platforms
IThe Franco-German position should be strengthened to ensure that the current dominant positions acquired by US companies remain contestable and that the principles of free competition are respected (non-discrimination of content providers, fairness with regard to the content displayed, free access of users to the content of their choice). This strengthening would make it possible to overcome existing divisions within the EU and avoid recourse to counterproductive unilateral regulation. The example of Spain speaks for itself: the Google News service was suspended when the government introduced a mechanism to remunerate media companies.
Europe needs to outline an integrated taxation of digital companies in order to erase the deleterious effects of tax optimisation. Tax integration would consist of measuring the profit of digital companies at European level and distributing it between Member States in proportion to the company's activity. Implementing such a solution would imply defining the keys for the distribution at national level of the profit assessed at European level. A European regulation would be necessary to make available to the tax authorities the relevant data on the activity of the platforms (number of users, volume of data collected or advertisers' advertising expenditure).
The calculation of profit at European level and its distribution by country will only be truly effective if it is accompanied by the introduction of a single rate of tax on profits on the share of profit allocated to each country within the European Union.
The data economy
The exploitation of personal data is at the heart of value creation in the digital economy. Issues of access and appropriation are central. It is therefore necessary to have a common approach to data of general interest that would be open and published in a common format (open data) to improve the efficiency and transparency of public action.
The policy of free access to scientific work, currently in place in Germany and envisaged in France for publications financed mainly from public funds, must be extended to speed up the dissemination of knowledge.
Finally, a framework for the protection of personal data must be established and a protocol for the exchange, interoperability and portability of data facilitating their circulation must be defined within this framework. The right to informational self-determination, envisaged in the Lemaire bill, is a step in this direction.
The Internet of Things
France is among the most advanced both in terms of the digital ecosystem (electronics, IT, design, finance) and in terms of institutional players ("connected objects" plan within the framework of the Industry of the Future, cité connectée in Angers, French Tech, BPI France). However, Europe must catch up in terms of standardization to enable European companies to achieve global rankings. It is therefore necessary to ensure a sufficient degree of openness of the dominant standards and to reduce the number of standards likely to be subject to public support in Europe if there is a risk of market fragmentation.