Today French president François Hollande threatened to block Facebook in the country unless the social network moves its European headquarters to Paris from Dublin.
In a fiery press conference the newly elected Socialist leader said the Palo Alto, CA based company had been “exploiting” millions of French people with their service, while refusing to offer them high-paying jobs.
“For too long Facebook has been enslaving our population with their free, high-quality website. They’re selling millions of dollars worth of advertising, but what is France getting out of the relationship?”
“Like Anglo-Saxon, neo-liberal imperialists they have refused to create jobs in our country. Other European countries have thousands of Facebook jobs. We just want our fair share.”
Rien à Perdre Que Leur Profils
Hollande’s shocking move comes just a day after he threatened to nationalize a steel factory if the management went along with plans to cut its workforce.
Facebook has an office in Paris’s 7th Arrondissement, but it employs a relatively small amount of people compared to its EMEA headquarters in Dublin or its engineering center in London.
Most international companies place their European operations in Ireland, the UK or Switzerland because of high tax rates and inflexible labor rules elsewhere on the continent. France especially is avoided due to its extremely high social charges and the near impossibility of firing unproductive workers.
Rather than reform his country, however, Hollande has pursused a strategy of blackmailing companies to bring jobs to the country:
“Mark Zuckerburg has 72 hours to announce a plan to move his European headquarters to Paris. If he does not respond, I will have no choice but to block his website in our country.”