France to redouble efforts to create EU tech regulator after copyright spat

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech,in Paris, France May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - France is pushing for the creation of a European-wide regulator of digital platforms such as Google GOOGL.O to sanction possible abuse of power, a French presidency official said on Tuesday, citing a dispute over EU copyright law as an example.

Google said last month it would stop showing news snippets from European publishers on search results for its French users to comply with a new European copyright law, prompting anger in Paris.

“A big American company, Google namely, has announced it would not comply with an EU copyright directive,” the official told reporters. “France and Germany share the view that... we have to put an end to this illegal behaviour.”

France said it would push for the incoming European Commission to create a special status for digital platforms modelled on that in the banking sector, whereby large companies like Google would be deemed “systemic” and regulated as such.

The regulator would be able to slap sanctions and fines on the companies, the French official added, giving more flesh to a proposal President Emmanuel Macron made this year.

“Over the short-term, we would like the European Commission.... to look into whether legal action (against Google) is possible,” the French official said, adding that France and Germany would discuss the issue at a meeting in Toulouse, France on Wednesday.

Reporting by Michel Rose, editing by Ed Osmond