The World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday started with a special address by Brazil’s president Michel Temer.
During the speech Temer said Latin America’s largest economy is on the road to recovery.
In line with this year’s Davos theme creating a shared future in a fractured world’ Temer also joined other world leaders in warning against protectionism.”
The anti-protectionism and anti-free trade comments are widely seen to be directed towards U.S. President Donald Trump, who is due to speak at the forum on Friday.
The second day at Davos also saw both German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron address the World Economic Forum.
Angela Merkel has been a regular at the annual gathering in Davos, but this year she was held back by the coalition talks back home.
Ever since September’s election the Chancellor’s party has been trying to form a government to run Europe’s biggest Economy.
But in a sign that her domestic difficulties may be easing, Merkel returned to the world stage. During her speech she underlined the dangers of protectionism and ‘poisonous’ populism.
“We believe isolationism will get us nowhere. We believe we have to cooperate and that protectionism is not the right answer. And we believe that if we share the opinion that things are not being done fairly and the mechanisms aren’t reciprocal, then we should look for multilateral solutions and not unilateral ones that ultimately only promote isolationism and protectionism. Therefore it’s important that Germany forms a new government quickly, and I hope we can achieve this,” Merkel said.
For France’s Emmanuel Macron, it was his first speech since his presidential election victory last May.
Before heading to Davos, the French president welcomed 140 senior business leaders for a dinner near Paris – a warm-up for the World Economic Forum.
Insisting ‘France is back’, Macron also warned that globalisation is facing a major crisis saying economic growth in itself was not an end. He also appeared to advocate a two-speed Europe in an attempt to push through key economic and political reform at EU level.
“On migration, digital, energy, defence, development, finance, investment, the core of what makes you sovereign, in this current environment, we have to build our common policies. I’m not naive, we will never build something sufficiently ambitious at 27. And we have to change our methodology, which is not to wait for all the people around the table before moving forward. That it is just to say, that if some people are ready to be more ambitious, to go further in terms of integration and ambition of what makes you sovereign, as a power in this global environment, to defend your values and your interests, let’s move,” Macron declared.
Since the US decision to leave the Paris accord, the French President has been trying to take the lead on climate change, but admitted the battle was being lost, and called for increased unity.
“We’ve also decided to make France a model in the fight against climate change, and that’s for me a huge advantage in terms of attractiveness and competitiveness. We should stop opposing, on one side productivity and other side climate change issues.”