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EU presidential candidate Vestager wants global push on digital taxes

Key Points
  • Margrethe Vestager has already taken on big tech firms over competition infractions.
  • Now she wants to see the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Google pay more tax.
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Vestager: We need a global push on digital taxes

The EU's competition commissioner told CNBC Friday that Europe, and the rest of the world, must push for a solution on digital taxation to create fairness among companies.

In March, the French government introduced a digital tax aimed at internet behemoths like Google, Facebook and Amazon. This came after the European Union, as a whole, failed to agree on a region-wide system with several nations voicing opposition. During the same month, Chip Harter, the U.S. Treasury's top international tax official, said digital levies were "ill conceived" and discriminatory against U.S. businesses.

The EU's Margrethe Vestager has already taken on U.S. internet giants in her role as competition commissioner and she is now standing for Europe's top job, that of EU Commission president.

Speaking to CNBC's Karen Tso at the VivaTech conference in Paris, the Danish official said she wanted to see "fairness" in digital taxation.

"There are so many companies that do pay their taxes. They create jobs, they contribute to the economy," she said, before adding: "It is not fair that they have to see competitors for capital, for skilled employees, get away with paying less than half the same amount of taxes."

Vestager said while France and some other European states had created their own rules, there should be a wider and more unified approach.

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She added that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is currently the driving force behind a global drive to revise the tax rules for digital firms.

"Fortunately, the OECD is on it, very much inspired by the line of thinking of my colleagues (at the EU) responsible for taxation, so we can have the global push as well. Because that is indeed needed," she said.