July 9, 2017 / 11:24 AM / in 13 days

France says Europe should make U.S. companies pay fair share of taxes

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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 28, 2017.Charles Platiau

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (Reuters) - Time has come for the European Union to make multinationals, such as U.S. giants Amazon (AMZN.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Google (GOOGL.O), pay their fair share of taxes, the French finance minister said on Sunday.

"I can tell you that the times we live in are not for the weak," Bruno Le Maire told a conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence where many French and international executives gather every year.

"Since we have to deal with Mr Putin, Mr Trump or Mr Erdogan, it's time for Europe to pull itself together and defend its own interests, to make Google, Amazon and Facebook pay the taxes they owe in Europe," he said.

U.S. companies such as Apple (AAPL.O) and Starbucks (SBUX.O) that were recently ordered by the European Commission to pay back taxes to EU countries have challenged their rulings.

Le Maire's comments come after the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the EU would respond if the United States imposed punitive tariffs on steel.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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