President Sarkozy had a meeting today with Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. This follows the one between President Sarkozy and the Co-Founder of Google, Larry Page, in May 2010, during which a plan to increase Google’s financial, scientific and human investment in France was discussed. The President had also stressed the importance of building a balanced relationship and constructive dialogue with Google and the French and European culture industry, whose economic models and practices are being turned upside down by the new digital technology.
President Sarkozy welcomed the important investment plan Google is preparing to carry out in France, and the terms of the new dialogue Google is proposing to France’s cultural players.
Eric Schmidt came to announce the creation of a Google research and development centre in France, which will attract the world’s best engineers to France and should contribute to the momentum of innovation in our digital economy. This investment testifies to the attractiveness of our country, competitiveness of our legal and fiscal environment (particularly thanks to the crédit impôt recherche [R&D tax credit]) and above all the high calibre of our engineers, universities and technological know-how, which the State is encouraging (Campus Plan (1), Big Loan, competitiveness clusters).
The President also expressed his appreciation of Eric Schmidt’s plan to create a European Institute for Culture in Paris, where all Google’s projects to do with the world of culture in Europe will be centralized. This institute is a global first: it will be directed by a scientific committee spearheaded by experts.
Eric Schmidt also informed President Sarkozy of Google’s wish to invest in French universities and fund computer science research programmes in areas such as political science, law and journalism, related to the issues the Internet raises for our societies. These future investments will recognize the attractiveness of our universities, particularly since the adoption of the university autonomy act and Campus Plan.
Finally, Eric Schmidt has proposed developing a programme to help French start-ups involving offers by Google of training and technological know-how and tools. Google has also pledged to offer a programme providing training and turnkey tools for SMEs wishing to develop online, through electronic trading.
President Sarkozy welcomes Google’s initiatives in France, which address France’s genuine ambition in the field of technological innovation and attest our country’s attractiveness./.
(1) Plan to simplify the arrangements for welcoming students and enhance the attractiveness of France’s higher-education establishments.