PARIS — Call it the Musk paradox.
As Twitter CEO, Elon Musk gets no love from European politicians. As Tesla’s boss, he’s welcomed with open arms.
That dynamic was on full display Monday in Paris, where one of the world’s richest men arrived in a Tesla to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, amid France’s push to attract investments in electric cars.
“With Elon Musk, we talked about the attractiveness of France and the significant progress in the electric vehicle and energy sectors,” Macron tweeted.
The two men mentioned “several topics of common interest,” an official from the Elysée palace said after the meeting, “including the European and French response to the [U.S. Inflation Reduction Act].”
Musk’s visit comes as Macron hosts CEOs from all over the world at the Château de Versailles for the yearly Choose France summit, aiming to secure billions of euros in investments. The summit is meant to showcase the country’s willingness to become more attractive for foreign companies and investors. France announces millions in foreign investments and job creation at the annual summit.
The meeting between Macron and Musk also comes just days after the French president announced his country’s first concrete step toward countering U.S. President Joe Biden’s “Buy American” green subsidies package. Last week, Macron said he would tailor existing measures that encourage green vehicle purchases to specifically reward European manufacturers by the end of this year in a bill expected to be introduced this week.
Musk’s red-carpet treatment in Paris is in stark contrast with the tune he’s subjected to by European politicians — especially the French.
As Twitter CEO, he’s regularly scolded by Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, who’s in charge of platform regulation in the EU. “[Musk] can do what he wants until September 1. After that, he will do as he’s told if he wants to continue operating in Europe,” Breton said at the end of April, referring to the entry into force of Europe’s flagship rules on content moderation, known as the Digital Services Act.
After the meeting, Macron tweeted that they did talk about digital regulation, but the tone was conciliatory more than anything.
“We have so much to do together,” the French president said.
Océane Herrero contributed reporting.