Macron wants Europe to produce more €100bn tech firms

16 Jun 2021

French president Emmanuel Macron. Image: 360b/Shutterstock

The French president met with tech companies to discuss policies that could encourage more Europeans firms to scale.

Emmanuel Macron is pushing hard for European tech champions again.

Speaking at an event this week, the French president said he hopes to see 10 European tech companies valued at €100bn by 2030.

Macron was meeting with a group called Scale-Up Europe at the Elysée Palace to discuss the group’s report, which includes 21 recommendations to help support Europe’s start-up ecosystem. Stripe, N26 and Bolt were among the companies supporting the initiative.

Macron said during the event that France would provide more accommodating regulation to help European tech companies to prosper.

The French president has spoken frequently during his term about fostering France’s tech sector, including a pledge in 2019 to incentivise €5bn in institutional investor cash to flow into the country’s start-up scene and making changes to stock options last year.

France will take on the mantle of the EU Council presidency in January, where it will lead and steer regulatory discussions around dozens of European policy issues including those for businesses, start-ups and SMEs.

Some of the recommendations from Scale-Up that Macron said he would take on board include devising a new EU work visa for tech workers to enter the bloc and plotting out new rules to greater incentivise private investors to invest in young start-ups.

There is a push in many European circles to shore up the continent’s industries, such as tech, and to reduce reliance on US partners and investors.

“There is no sovereignty without local champions. The first sovereignty is industrial, business-related. The second one is regulation and the two go together. Without regulation, there are no standards,” Macron said.

European policymakers regularly come in for scrutiny around existing regulations for start-ups, with calls for loosening up frameworks around taxes or share options to improve the environment for investment and hiring.

Last week Stripe CEO Patrick Collison published a letter on Twitter to defend Europe’s standing in tech but also to call for greater policy support.

“If governments across the region focus on unlocking the unparalleled ingenuity of European innovators, I believe that there is no limit to what we can achieve,” he wrote.

French president Emmanuel Macron. Image: 360b/Shutterstock

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin