Leaked EU doc plots €100bn fund to protect European firms against international tech giants

Bawwww we don't have anything like Amazon bawwww

European commission photo via Shutterstock

The European Commission wants to set up a €100bn wealth fund to invest directly in local technology companies to help businesses fight international giants like Apple, Google and Alibaba.

The European Future Fund is planning to use existing budgets to make direct equity investments in technology organisations, something which would require changes to current public-funding rules.

The proposal, seen by Politico, is made as part of a 173-page "wish list" prepared for incoming commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The document notes: "The emergence and leadership of private non-EU competitors, with unprecedented financial means, has the potential to obliterate the existing innovation dynamics and industrial position of EU industry in certain sectors."

Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are all named as the type of companies Europe lacks.

The document says: "The operating mode of the fund would have a long-term, equity-based focus with a commercial, profit-oriented model. This will allow the fund to meet the strategic objective of supporting European champions while maintaining financial stability."

The commission also suggests a move to regulate social media companies in the second half of 2020, pushing for them to take greater responsibility for the content they host.

Officials also want to shake up trade rules in the expectation that Trump will withdraw from the World Trade Organisation. The changes would allow the EU to quickly add tariffs to US products without waiting for WTO rulings. It also suggests tougher rules for Chinese companies tendering for contracts in Europe to take account of government subsidies those companies enjoy from Beijing.

A spokesman for von der Leyen said her office was unaware of the proposals. ®

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