The Minster for Finance has said he would like to see progress on a new global standard for the taxation of companies in the digital economy that would see them "paying their fair share".

Paschal Donohoe was speaking after a meeting with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire - a leading campaigner for new forms of taxation that take account of the nature of online businesses.

France has proposed an EU levy on the so-called digital giants - companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon - in response to public disquiet over the amount of tax digital companies pay relative to the scale of their turnover and profits.

Ireland has been a leading opponent of the plan for a Digital Turnover Tax in the EU, preferring a "global" approach through the OECD, which would include the USA - the home of many of the biggest digital companies.

After their meeting, Mr Donohoe said: "The taxation of digital companies needs to change - we have to find models that ensure that companies within the digital economy pay their fair share of taxation."

But he added: "It is very important that the interests of exporting countries and smaller countries  are recognised in the debate which is now under way."

Bruno Le Maire

He said Ireland will work closely with France within the context of the OECD, which is trying to develop a global standard for the taxation of digital companies.

It expects to report by the end of next year, and has recently won the backing of the United States for a reform that would likely see the digital giants pay more tax.

Mr Le Maire is due to meet the US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin tomorrow to discuss the digital tax proposals, as well as other reforms of the global corporation tax framework.  

Speaking in Dublin, he said: "I will explain to Mr Mr Mnuchin how important it is for fair taxation of digital companies at the OECD level in order to have decisions adopted on this as soon as possible."

He will also discuss a French proposal being advanced through the French Presidency of the G7 for a minimum global level of corporation tax. He said the minimum corporation tax proposal is supported by Germany.

"The key issue is to develop an international tax system for the 21st century - how are you [to] fund schools, hospitals, public goods if you are not taxing value where it is created? Data is creating value and we need to tax it," he said.

Mr Le Maire has advocated for what he calls a "fair and efficient taxation of digital companies" at national, EU and international levels - particularly by taxing the value created by the collection and processing of data.

The two minsters also discussed last week's Franco-German proposal to set up a "budget instrument" for the Euro area.

According to the discussion document, a budget should be established to help countries pay for economic reforms that are part of their "convergence programmes" aimed at raising growth and productivity level. It could also be used to invest in growth increasing infrastructure investment.  

A euro-area budget has been a key policy goal of French President Emmanuel Macron, but has met with a lukewarm response from Germany, which favours a less ambitious "budget instrument". 

The Irish response appears even less welcoming, with Mr Donohoe saying he favoured an instrument that could be used to support countries that run into extreme economic problems.  

The EU already has a bailout fund for countries in economic difficulties, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which has lent billions to Ireland and other programme countries. He said he and officials from the Department of Finance will study the Franco-German proposal.  

Ministers are due to make decisions on the budget instrument in June. Other countries from the so-called "New Hanseatic League" of smaller, Northern states are also unenthusiastic about a euro-area budget, notably the Netherlands.

Mr Le Maire emphatically rejected suggestions of a link between issues like digital taxation or the EU budget and French support for Ireland over Brexit.

He told RTÉ News: "There is no linkage. Mixing different issues with Brexit would be a huge political mistake. The Irish people should know that they can rely on the full support of France."

He said Brexit could have "important consequences" for the Irish economy. But it will also have consequences for other EU states. "We are all in the same boat, and we need to work together".