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The Commission recommends starting with talks with Washington for an amicable solution. REUTERS / Yves Herman

The President of the United States seems to be pouring water in his wine after his threats to impose punitive tariffs on France in retaliation for the taxation of Gafa and similar threats to countries that, like Austria, project an identical tax. Can the European Union cope, as the French Minister of Finance wishes?

With our Brussels office,

" The European Union will act with one voice ", replies the Commission following the threats of customs duties of Donald Trump. The EU has two tools that it has never deprived of using. First is the legal process with the opening of proceedings before the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization. The Commission recommends starting with talks with Washington for an amicable solution rather than embarking on the procedural path straightaway.

→ Read also: Gafa tax: Washington threatens to overtax French products

As a last resort, there may be retaliatory measures, ie tariffs on similar products or not, and the lists are constantly updated; the last time such a list was published, it was in June 2018 against the threats of Donald Trump, already him, to tax European steel.

The digital tax aspect is more complicated. Since the first formal projects in 2017, the common taxation could not be put in place, because several countries block, including for example Ireland where several digital giants have their headquarters. In contrast, Austria is preparing a tax even higher than that of France.

It is therefore on the establishment of a global tax that Europeans expect to reach agreement among themselves.