French president lauds Europe as the 'most attractive place' for tech giants

  • Macron is currently spearheading efforts for Europe to adopt tougher regulations on digital companies.
  • Speaking to CNBC's Karen Tso on the sidelines of the VivaTech event in Paris Thursday, Macron said: "Europe is the right place to build this new framework."

French President Emmanuel Macron said Europe must avoid making the same mistakes as the U.S. and China if the region is to successfully tackle some of the world's biggest tech giants.

Macron is currently spearheading efforts for Europe to adopt tougher regulations on digital companies. On Wednesday, the French leader said that while he was a firm believer in innovation, executives from some of the world's largest tech companies had to make sure they contributed more to society.

Speaking to CNBC's Karen Tso on the sidelines of the VivaTech event in Paris Thursday, Macron said: "Europe is the right place to build this new framework. The U.S. is not regulated … regulation is made by private players (so) it is not sustainable for our citizens because you will have huge scandals."

"China is over-regulated; everything is concentrated by the government … Innovation and smart regulation, that is the best way to be the most attractive place and this is here," he added.

'There is no free lunch'

Earlier in the week during his signature "Tech for Good" summit, Macron sat down with the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, IBM's Virginia Rometty, Microsoft Corp's Satya Nadella and Intel Corp's Brian Krzanich.

The French president warned the global tech bosses they would not be able to continue riding the coattails of the digital economy without contributing more to society.

"It is not possible just to have free-riding on one side, when you make a good business," Macron said as he addressed some of the world's leading corporate hitters on Wednesday.

"There is no free lunch. I want from you some commitments," he added.

In addition to a tax on the revenues of digital behemoths, Macron has called for tech firms to take a more robust stance on issues such as data protection and so-called fake news.

To date, progress on such fronts has been somewhat limited.