They amount to several million euros. In recent days, the financial authorities have sent several fines salty to companies that do not comply with European and national standards. On Wednesday 4 January, the French National Commission for Information Technology and Liberties (CNIL) thus imposed an 8 million euro fine on Apple for violating the rules on the protection of personal data (GDPR) and a 5 million euro fine for video-sharing application, Tiktok, to not allow users of its website to simply reject cookies, as announced on January 12 by the French personal data policeman. Shortly before, on December 23, he had indicated that he had sanctioned a Microsoft record well. The latter had to pay 60 million euros for not having simplified the possibility for users of the Bing search engine to refuse “cookies” sufficiently. On December 30, it was the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) that imposed a record fine of 75 million euros to the management company H2O AM to ” several violations of their professional duties “.
These sanctions are not the exclusive prerogative of French institutions. November 28 is the Data Protection Commission (DPC), the Irish regulator on behalf of the European Union, which fined Meta, parent of Facebook, asking it to pay 265 million euros for not having sufficiently protected the data of its users.
But then, where does the money for these heavy penalties go?
Fines by French regulators
With regard to fines issued by French regulatory and company supervision institutions, the money collected by them is sent to the state coffers. Thereby ” the institution concerned is sent a payment voucher (as a fine) which pays the fine directly to the Ministry of Economy and Finance “, explains the CNIL. The same applies to the sanctions imposed by the regulatory and prudential control Authority and for those of the Competition and Market Guarantor Authority. One nuance, however, is brought by financial organizations. Indeed, the Autorité des marchés financiers specifies that ” the monetary and financial code provides that the penalties imposed in particular on management companies and their managers are paid to the guarantee fund to which the management company is affiliated or, failing that, to the Treasury “.
The money from these fines paid by companies that break French rules is then received by Bercy. Thus, in 2021, the Ministry of Economy and Finance received 196 million euros in 2021 from the regulators. In comparison, it is 3.5 times less than the money raised thanks to road radars, estimated at 655 million in 2021 by the Court of Auditors.
These sums are then charged to the budget for the current year, as “product of the fines pronounced by the other independent administrative authorities”. This mechanism allows it that regulatory institutions have no interest in issuing sanctions, explains Thierry Philipponnat, chief economist of the NGO Finance Watch. VERSUSto avoid conflict of interest. TO the opposite in the United States is not the same principle. Sanctions are awarded to projects or institutions. There’s a bounty-hunting side to the American system that we don’t have at all in France and that’s not healthy “.
The sanctioning system at European level
France and, in general, the States, are not the only ones to impose sanctions. The European Commission is also called upon to issue similar sanctions that of 4.1 billion euros addressed to Google for failing to meet the competition with its Android operating system in 2018. In 2021, the Commission raised €2.1 billion. This sum was sent directly to the general budget of the European Union. This budget, co-managed by the Commission and the European Parliament, was notably used to finance the ‘Next generation EU’ recovery plan, which allowed member states to distribute €750 billion of EU aid. But it also finances scientific research work or construction projects such as funding the sand removal works at Mont-Saint-Michel between 2005 and 2015.
The European Central Bank, for its part, can also impose fines on big banks that violate European Union law. On 16 December 2022, the ECB fined Spanish bank Abanca €3.14 million for failing to report a cyber-attack. In total, the “administrative fines” imposed by the guardian of the euro amount to one million euros in 2021.” We keep part of these collected fines in reserve and donate part of them to national central banks, such as the Banque de France. They themselves are then induced to return part of these sums to the public treasury. “, explains the institution.