(or at least threatening to block them)
This all started with a new bill passed by the EU Parliament that would hold foreign tech companies (mainly American) accountable to EU laws, and subject them to fines, if they do not comply.
In other words, a judge in Europe can issue a fine against a company in America, despite the fact that company may have no offices or employees in Europe.
And if that company does not comply and pay the fine, the company will be completely barred from doing business in Europe.
The thing is, it is well known that this new law is specifically targeted at American tech companies, like Google and Facebook.
So what will it mean when they are not allowed to "do business" in the EU?
These companies get most of their revenue from advertising. So to block their business, their website would have to be blocked.
That entails a "Great Wall", cordoning off the EU from the internet in the rest of the world, reminiscent of Chinese-style internet control.
And no doubt all those EU-style "hate speech" laws would inevitably end up applying too, and they'd hold the tech company responsible for it, which would implicitly force the tech companies to self-censor and block certain sites or accounts in Europe.
These will be multi-million Euro fines. One of the stated purposes of this new law is to "make America pay".
Due to the coronavirus pandemic (mainly the shutdown associated with it), the EU is behind on tax revenue, and wants to make American companies pay. American companies actually don't have a very big presence in Europe, since Europe doesn't really import much from the US, in the big scheme of things. So the biggest and most conspicuous type American companies in Europe are the tech companies.
The trouble with tech companies though is you are dealing entirely with information. So how to control it? You have to put controls on the internet itself.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/18/eu-vote ... ntent.html
https://www.dw.com/en/eu-calls-for-grea ... a-53717205
https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/02/19/eu ... -brussels/
https://www.ft.com/content/4274817a-e81 ... 065ef5fc55