Emmanuel Macron arrived in Davos Wednesday with a new message for the global elite: invest, share and protect.
France’s 40-year-old president made his debut speech at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in front of a star-studded crowded, even by Davos’s standards, with King Felipe of Spain, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and Total SA Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne among those in the audience.
Macron told them it’s time for a new framework to rein in the excesses of global capitalism.
“This framework should be based on cooperation and multilateralism,” Macron said. “This new framework is the unique way to protect our interests in the long run.”
Macron already wooed executives including Google Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg at the Palace of Versailles this week as he sought to attract investment. In Davos, there were signs that he’s succeeding in shifting executives’ views of France.
Macron repeated his plea to giant tech companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to pay a fair share of taxes as they displace traditional industries as the biggest sources of revenue in the global economy. He said their tax optimization strategies are hurting ordinary people and undermining governments.
“I want these changes, but they must pay their taxes,” he said.
The president also used his speech to repeat the mantra of his first months in office: “France is back.”
“France is back at the core of Europe,” he said. “Because we will never have any French success without success in Europe.”
The slogan, posted on his Twitter account again on Wednesday, is meant as another appeal to those wondering where to place their factories, money or talents.
Macron’s appeal to investors in Davos emphasized Europe’s commitment to the multilateral system and political stability, and he called on leaders to rethink the rules of the global economy.
He was due to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in bilateral side meetings, according to an agenda provided by his office.
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