google

If the European Union follows through with a proposal to charge a tax for linking to news stories on the web, Google might shut down its Google News in E.U. countries.

Google’s vice president of news, Richard Gingras, told the Guardian of London the decision will depend on the phrasing of the legislation, which is designed to help struggling news publishers.

“We can’t make a decision until we see the final language,” he said.

Gingras noted that when Spain tried to charge for news links in 2014, Google News was shut down in the country.

The tech giant argued at the time that shutting down Google News resulted in a decline in traffic to Spanish news websites.

“We would not like to see that happen in Europe,” Gingras told the paper. “Right now what we want to do is work with stakeholders.”

The European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the “link tax,” known as Article 11, and its sister legislation Article 13, in September.

But Google is trying to persuade the European Commission and EU member states before the law is confirmed.

The Guardian noted the U.K. likely will be affected by the law if it is introduced before the end of any post-Brexit transition period.

CNBC reported that Axel Voss, the member of the European Parliament overseeing the legislation, is believed to be continuing discussions with Google before talks take place with individual EU member states.

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