Between purchasing power, ecological transition or even war in Ukraine, digital technology has interfered in the debate between the two rounds of the presidential election which pitted Marine Le Pen against Emmanuel Macron.
This Wednesday, April 20, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron had an appointment with the French on the occasion of the traditional debate between the two rounds of the presidential election. Between purchasing power, pension reform, ecological transition, the European Union or even the war in Ukraine, digital has interfered in the exchanges between the candidate of the National Rally (RN) and the current tenant of the Elysee.
Questioned by Léa Salamé, who moderated the debate with Gilles Bouleau, on American (Amazon, Google and Apple) and Chinese (TikTok) domination in the technological sphere, the two candidates were invited to deliver their vision of the emergence of a “French Google”. Marine Le Pen immediately called for the creation of a “European Google”citing as an example what has been done in the past to give birth to Airbus and Ariane.
The candidate for the presidency of the Republic, however, deplored the delay accumulated by Europe in the digital sector during the past decade. “A European Google should have been launched years ago”she regretted, considering in passing that “we were very advanced in these areas thanks to our engineers”. During her speech, Marine Le Pen also proclaimed her desire to “put in place the means to keep our data on European territory”a thinly veiled allusion to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, which capture 69% of the European cloud computing market, according to Synergy Research Group.
For his part, Emmanuel Macron preferred to praise the merits of French Tech, indicating that “our country is the one that produces the most start-ups in Europe”. The former Minister of the Economy, who is seeking a second term, is pleased that there are today in France more than 25 unicorns, these start-ups valued at least one billion dollars. In this context, the candidate-president (LREM) notably cited BlaBlaCar and especially Doctolib, widely put forward by the government during the Covid-19 pandemic.
So that these nuggets can develop and acquire a significant size allowing them to compete on a global scale, Emmanuel Macron wants them to look beyond the French market from the outset. “We have real champions. But the difference with China and the United States is that France is not Europe. The United States is a market of nearly 400 million people, and the China is a market of one billion people. France is a market of 65 million people. If we want to make champions, the domestic market must immediately be the European Union market.”, explained the outgoing president. And to add, in a spade addressed directly to his opponent: “Who doesn’t love Europe can’t develop digital champions.”
Beyond a European digital market, Emmanuel Macron recalled the need to “regulate competitors”believing that he “we also need a European policy that fights against unfair competition”. The presidential candidate probably had in mind the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), two new European laws which aim to better regulate Gafam. “I completely believe in this possibility of building a France 2030 and a Europe 2030 of digital innovation and transformation”added the President of the Republic.
While digital was one of the campaign axes that contributed to his victory in 2017, Emmanuel Macron hopes to do a double blow this Sunday, April 24, the French being called to the polls to decide to whom they will entrust the reins of the country these next five years.