After Macron loses parliamentary majority, French tech policy could turn protectionist – EURACTIV.com

Under Emmanuel Macron, France has become a digital leader. After the parliamentary vote in which he lost a majority in the National Assembly, expect digital nationalism to dominate, write Daniel Hayes, Charles Martinet and Gabriel Delsol.

Daniel Hayes is an intern at the CEPA Digital Innovation Initiative. Charles Martinet is an intern at the CEPA Digital Innovation Initiative based in Paris. Gabriel Delsol is a program assistant at the CEPA Digital Innovation Initiative.

France has state-of-the-art infrastructure, booming e-commerce and 26 tech unicorns, companies with at least one billion euros in market value. At the same time, Macron led an attack on major US tech companies, implement a digital tax, impose data localization measures and pursue a policy of “digital sovereignty”.

Macron’s Renaissance party won 245 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly. Although this is the largest number of all political forces, it is not a majority. Voters turned to the extremes.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose party forged an alliance with the French Socialists, Communists and Greens, won 131 seats. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally won 89, while the conservative Les Républicains and their allies won 61 seats.

This is bad news for Macron, the self-proclaimed candidate of the ‘start-up nation.

The main opposition party, led by left-winger Mélenchon, is watching sstrong protectionist movements. Whereas Macron aims for digital sovereignty centered on Europe, Mélenchon wants France to focus on the interior.

Macron accepts partnerships between American cloud providers and French companies to manage sensitive data. In contrast, Melenchon requests this “the data of French public services and essential companies are stored on servers under French law located in France.

Its leftists aim to nationalize much of the digital infrastructure, in their own words, “to put digital and telecommunications infrastructure under public control.

Another difference hovers over on-demand work. Under Macron, France rejected full-time employee status for Uber and Delivery Dash workers.

During his 2016 election campaign, Macron famous says a television interviewer, “go to a poor neighborhood and explain to the young people, who are Uber drivers, that it would be better if they did nothing or trafficked in the street. Go explain to them.

It authorized the creation of a new Employment Platforms Labor Relations Authority, which this year held elections for worker representatives to improve working conditions and pay. But site workers would remain independent contractors.

Mélenchon disagrees. He denounces “Uberization», the basis of the gig economy model, as incompatible with labor rights. His party campaigned on a to promise to reclassify all on-demand workers under a salaried employment contract.

Another challenge for the injured president is to replenish his technical team. Many of the president’s most able tech lawmakers have lost their seats in parliament.

Patrick Mignola contributed to the implementation of the EU strategycopyright guidelineandlimit Airbnb’s dominance.

Jean-Michel Mis was a blockchain and cybersecurity expert. Celia de Lavergne wrote a 2019 invoice promote the digitalization of companies.

Laëtitia Avia is the authorAvia Law,” designed to require platforms to remove hate speech within 24 hours of reporting it also lost. The Constitutional Court declared the law illegal.

The question marks remain. Macron may be able to forge alliances with moderate conservatives to pursue the technology policies he has chosen.

The leftists will face obstacles from other European partners and some of their protectionist plans may run counter to EU treaties. They are also divided. Not everyone agrees on a data localization policy – ​​the Socialist Party and the Greens want the policies to be applied at the European level rather than the French level.

Digital sovereignty enjoys support in most political parties. Almost all French people are aligned with wider access to digital broadband, investments in emerging technologies like cloud computing, AI and quantum computing, and recognize the importance of fostering more data and open software source.

Even before the stunning parliamentary defeat, Macron had begun to lean to the left, wanting “strengthen Europe’s technological independence.

Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of Economy and Finance, relentless, has added digital to his ministerial responsibilities. The Mayor is the author of the controversial technology tax and seemed ready to support strong digital regulation.

In a post-election interview, Le Maire recognized a “democratic shock” on the part of the voters. He blamed worries on purchasing power, pointing in particular to middle-class fears about job security.

The government was listening, he said, and he promised to act “quickly” to respond. If France’s budding tech renaissance hinges on risk-taking and disruption, that’s not good news for the French startup.

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