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France’s Le Pen hails ‘new world’ after Trump win

Donald Trump's US election victory heralds the "building of a new world", France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Sunday in a BBC television interview that sparked immediate criticism in Britain.

France's Le Pen hails 'new world' after Trump win
The BBC has been criticised for giving Marie Le Pen airtime. Photo: Screen Grab/BBC
Le Pen described the Republican's win as a “victory of the people against the elite” and said she hoped a similar outcome could be achieved in French presidential elections in May.
 
“Clearly, Donald Trump's victory is an additional stone in the building of a new world, destined to replace the old one,” she told the BBC's flagship Sunday politics programme, the Andrew Marr Show.
   
Trump “made possible what had previously been presented as impossible,” she said, predicting that the “global revolution” that resulted in his election, as well as in the vote for Brexit, will also see her elected as president.
   
Hailing the rise of “patriotic movements” in Europe, Le Pen drew parallels between the US vote, Britain's June 23 decision to leave the European Union, and France's rejection of the European constitution in 2005.
   
“All the elections are essentially referendums against the unfettered globalisation that has been imposed on us… and which today has clearly shown its limits,” she claimed.
   
She said the French election would throw up the choice between a “multi-cultural society… where fundamental Islam is progressing” and an “independent nation, with people able to control their own destiny”.
   
The interview sparked a backlash on social media as it fell on Remembrance Sunday, marking the contribution of British and Commonwealth forces during the two World Wars.
   
“Some people are offended and upset that I have been to interview Marine Le Pen and that we're showing this interview on Remembrance Sunday,” said Marr, defending the decision to run the piece.
   
“I understand that but… Le Pen could, under some circumstances, become the next French president… I don't think that the best way to honour the fallen is to fail to report on the next big challenge to western security.”

TAXES

France aims for US digital tax deal by late August, despite Trump opposition

France wants to reach a deal with the US on taxing tech giants by a G7 meeting in late August, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Saturday.

France aims for US digital tax deal by late August, despite Trump opposition
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. Photo: AFP

He was responding to US President Donald Trump, who on Friday vowed “substantial” retaliation against France for a law passed this month on taxing digital companies even if their headquarters are elsewhere.

The law would affect US-based global giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, among others.

Trump denounced French President Emmanuel Macron's “foolishness”, though they discussed the issue by phone on Friday, according to the White House.

Macron confirmed that he had a “long” conversation with Trump, stressing the pair would “continue to work together in view of the G7”.

“We will discuss international taxation, trade and collective security”, he said Saturday.

His office earlier said Macron had told Trump that the tax on the tech giants was not just in France's interest but was something they both had a stake in.

Neither side revealed if they had also discussed Trump's threat to tax French wines in retaliation.

Le Maire took the same line at a news conference Saturday: “We wish to work closely with our American friends on a universal tax on digital activities.

“We hope between now and the end of August — the G7 heads of state meeting in Biarritz — to reach an agreement.”

Leaders of the Group of Seven highly industrialised countries are to meet in the southwestern French city on August 24-26.

Le Maire emphasised that “there is no desire to specifically target American companies,” since the three-percent tax would be levied on revenues generated from services to French consumers by all of the world's largest tech firms, including Chinese and European ones. 

But Deputy White House spokesman Judd Deere noted earlier that France's digital services tax was already the subject of an investigation at the US Trade Representative's office, potentially opening the door to economic sanctions.

“The Trump administration has consistently stated that it will not sit idly by and tolerate discrimination against US-based firms,” Deere said in a statement. 

The French law aims to plug a taxation gap that has seen some internet heavyweights paying next to nothing in European countries where they make huge profits, because their legal base is in smaller EU states.

France has said it would withdraw the tax if an international agreement was reached, and Paris hopes to include all OECD countries by the end of 2020.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a Paris-based forum that advises the world's advanced economies.

READ ALSO: 'I like the way they look': Teetotaler Trump prefers US wine to French

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