Billionaire Elon Musk is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday for the second time in just over a month as France aims to curry favor and attract investment from the Tesla boss. The two men are expected to discuss the development of a factory that could manufacture batteries or electric car parts in France, but will also discuss technology regulation. The French presidency said that Macron is keen to encourage the creation of an EU-wide set of rules in artificial intelligence and social media and promote France and Europe as a place for investors.
The pair met on Monday for a one-to-one meeting at the Elysee Palace, less than 48 hours after Musk had been spotted clubbing in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. The SpaceX founder had reportedly been mingling with fans at a trance music event hosted by Bosnian-German DJ Solomun in LA’s Exposition Park on Saturday.
Macron praised Musk for his work to develop innovative technologies. It said he was confident the Tesla boss would make significant investments in France in the future without giving a timetable. The pair discussed the European response to U.S. subsidies and tax incentives that threaten to lure away investment in batteries and other technologies pivotal to the energy transition. They also discussed tackling online terrorist and violent extremist content and protecting children.
The visit comes as France faces competition from other countries in courting Tesla to establish a factory there. French officials had previously told Reuters that Macron wanted to lure the Tesla boss with a plan for low taxes, generous research and development grants, and support for creating local jobs.
Musk will have to contend with the threat of a U.S. government probe of Twitter for its handling of right-wing conspiracy theories after he bought the site in late 2014. France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire is expected to pitch new tax credits for investments in green technology to Musk.
Following his talks with Macron, Musk will appear before an audience of thousands at VivaTech, which opens to the public on Friday. The annual tech fair is billed as Europe’s biggest, attracting more than 100,000 visitors last year. It is a crucial testing ground for companies and politicians looking to shape the future of business and society.
In his keynote address at the event, Musk will likely be asked about the controversial changes he has implemented since taking over the world’s largest social media network in 2021, including a revamp of its user policies and measures to filter out right-wing conspiracy theories. It will also be a chance for the billionaire to tout his latest projects, including his plans for an underground Hyperloop tunnel between Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is also rumored to be unveiling a new rocket prototype called Starship. The project has been in development for the past five years and could ferry people to Mars one day.