Mark Zuckerberg, the executive director of Facebook, is expected this Monday in Brussels, where he will hold interviews with the main officials of the European Commission, whom he plans to announce that he agrees to pay more taxes for his benefits in the European market, but demands that the This process is carried out through legislation through the OECD and not at the individual country level. Zuckerberg delivers a speech today in Munich at the International Conference on Security held in that German city and where he is scheduled to make his position public in this regard.
In Brussels, it will be received by the head of competition and the digital market, the Danish Margrethe Vestager and Vera Jurova, curator responsible for Justice, as described in the commissioner’s work calendar. The visit coincides with a meeting of the Eurogroup, where the ministers of Economy are fighting for that tax, although they are not expected to maintain any contact with Zuckerberg.
Facebook is part with Google, Apple and Amazon of the group of large companies that dominate the market on the Internet, but are accused within the European Union of avoiding their part in paying taxes on account of the benefits they get in Europe. According to Facebook, this second trip from Zuckerberg to the European institutions – in the last legislature he attended an audience in the European Parliament – aims to meet with the community leaders in Brussels “to discuss a framework for new rules and regulations for the Internet.” For the European Commission, new technologies pose a double challenge, not only fiscal, but also in terms of security. The use of personal data, the development of artificial intelligence by technology companies is an aspect that greatly worries in Brussels and on which they also want to agree with the owner of Facebook.
According to the publication “Politico.eu”, the draft speech that Zuckerberg plans to deliver in Munich includes a direct reference to requests to pay more taxes in Europe. One of the most interested countries in Spain that, together with France and Austria, is among those who intend to introduce their own tax to the digital market, if the OECD does not reach an agreement soon. According to this version, Zuckerberg has included in his speech a very clear paragraph in this regard: “We accept that reforms may mean that we have to pay more taxes and pay them in different places under a new framework.” On how to do it, he claims to be aware that “there is some frustration about how technology companies are taxed in Europe. We also want a tax reform and I am glad that the OECD is analyzing this ».
The political and social pressure seems to have taken a toll on the mentality of the head of Facebook, one of the companies with the most benefits in the world, but practically only listed in the United States. France and Austria have already approved tax rules for their national digital markets that are practically aimed at the US technology giants, but the French Government has had to suspend the application of this rate due to pressure from the US administration. The United Kingdom has also announced similar measures, but it is delaying the evidence that it will probably trigger a violent reaction from the United States.
United States refuses
Washington fiercely opposes any type of global tax on the activity of large technology companies and unlike the other members of the OECD insists that it will not accept a formula in this regard that is not voluntary. The issue has caused an important source of tensions between Europe and the United States that now threatens to aggravate trade tensions.
Last year the European Union had to recognize that all its efforts to implement this so-called “Google rate” had failed due to the opposition of small countries, but the objective of transferring that initiative to the OECD that groups the main countries was maintained. with world market economy – including the United States -, which for now is a perspective that makes everyone happy because it would make tax competition very difficult. However, the Commission – which also believes that this could be a source of its own revenue for its budget – maintains that if no progress has been made in the OECD at the end of this year, it will once again raise a harmonized tax for the entire EU. .