President Hollande Faces Tough Crowd in Silicon Valley

He will be the first French president to visit tech companies there in 30 years.

French president Francois Hollande looks on during a press conference with Palestinian counterpart at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris on June 8, 2012
National Journal
Laura Ryan
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Laura Ryan
Feb. 12, 2014, 9:02 a.m.

French Pres­id­ent François Mit­ter­rand, a pro­fessed tech en­thu­si­ast, vis­ited Sil­ic­on Val­ley in 1984 to meet with an en­tre­pren­eur named Steve Jobs. Thirty years later, an­oth­er French pres­id­ent by the name of François is vis­it­ing Sil­ic­on Val­ley — the first pres­id­en­tial vis­it since Mit­ter­rand’s.

After woo­ing the D.C. polit­ic­al elite Tues­day, Pres­id­ent François Hol­lande will at­tempt to do the same Wed­nes­day with Sil­ic­on Val­ley’s tech elite.

Over lunch with Google’s Eric Schmidt, Face­book’s Sheryl Sand­berg, Twit­ter and Square’s Jack Dorsey, and Tony Fadell, founder of Nest, Hol­lande will tell tech ex­ec­ut­ives that France is open for busi­ness. The pres­id­ent wants tech com­pan­ies to in­vest more in France, which is ex­per­i­en­cing a brain drain as the coun­try’s eco­nomy re­mains stag­nant.

But he is fa­cing a tough crowd. Hol­lande — who once said “I do not like the rich” — has been a vo­cal crit­ic of U.S. tech com­pan­ies’ pri­vacy and tax prac­tices. Just last week, Hol­lande, a So­cial­ist, cri­ti­cized com­pan­ies like Google for avoid­ing pay­ing their fair share of taxes.

“This is not ac­cept­able and that is why, at both the European and the glob­al level, we must en­sure that tax op­tim­isa­tion … can be called in­to ques­tion,” Hol­lande said dur­ing a vis­it to a French In­ter­net com­pany last Thursday.

The EU’s le­gis­lat­ive body also in­tro­duced re­forms to glob­al In­ter­net gov­ernance Wed­nes­day aimed at re­du­cing U.S. con­trol in light of re­cent rev­el­a­tions about the U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­gram.

Not to men­tion, un­like the first François, this François has a repu­ta­tion for be­ing skep­tic­al of new tech­no­lo­gies. Ac­cord­ing to The Wall Street Journ­al and French news­pa­per Le Par­is­i­en, the pres­id­ent prefers news­pa­pers to iPads and he does not use SnapChat. And when it comes to Twit­ter?

“I look when they show me,” said Hol­lande ac­cord­ing to the French news­pa­per. “There’s an ad­dict­ive side to all that stuff that you need to de­fend against.”

What We're Following See More »
BACKED BY U.S. FORCES
Iraqi Forces Reclaim Mosul Airport From ISIS
16 minutes ago
BREAKING
PREFER TO LET STATES DECIDE
White House Formally Withdrawals Transgender Bathroom Rules
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Trump administration on Wednesday formally withdrew Obama administration rules granting transgender individuals access to the sex-segregated facilities of their choice, including bathrooms." In an official letter to the civil-rights divisions of the Justice and Education departments, the administration wrote that it prefers to let states set the course on the issue, and also that the Obama-era rules don't “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”

Source:
THANKS TO MILITARY ROLE
McMaster Requires Congressional Approval
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.

Source:
SENT LETTERS TO A DOZEN ORGANIZATIONS
Senate Intel Looks to Preserve Records of Russian Interference
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."

Source:
WON’T INTERFERE IN STRUCTURING NSC OFFICE
White House to Give McMaster Carte Blanche
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login