Davos 2019: 7 things to know on day two

Davos 2019: 7 things to know on day two
Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By David Walsh
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Here are the stories making headlines on day two of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Merkel champions a global world order


In perhaps the most highly-anticipated address of the day, Angela Merkel gave a robust defence of the current world order, calling for leaders to take a stand against growing nationalist and populist movements. 

In a speech that touched on a broad range of issues and challenges – from climate change and migration to data capturing and Brexit – the German chancellor made an impassioned plea for increased multilateralism as the means to solve global problems. 

Speaking in reference to the global institutions set up by world leaders in the wake of the horrors of the World War II, she said: “We shouldn't cast their decisions aside... a global architecture will only work if we work together.”

Brexit must be delivered, says Liam Fox

While Theresa May was engaged in brusque exchanges with MPs in the UK House of Commons in an attempt to break the Brexit deadlock, Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrived in Davos on Wednesday facing many of the same questions. 

His message was clear: the UK must deliver on the Brexit referendum. Speaking to Euronews’ political editor Darren McCaffrey, he said that there was a “growing understanding” in parliament to find common ground.

On the proposition of extending Article 50, he argued that it was a delaying tactic and would only add to existing uncertainty. 

“Parliamentarians need to realise they promised the British people they’ll leave the EU and now they need to find a way to do so, expeditiously,” he said.

'Capitalism isn’t immoral – it’s amoral'

In one of the first high-profile celebrity interventions of the summit so far, U2 frontman and social activist Bono joined a panel with International Monetary Fund (IMF) chairwoman, Christine Lagarde, to discuss how best to fill the gaping, multi-trillion-dollar hole in the UN’s budget to end global poverty by 2030. 

“Capitalism is not immoral – it’s amoral. It requires our instruction,” the Irishman told the audience. 

“Capitalism has taken more people out of poverty than any other 'ism' but it is a wild beast that, if not tamed, can chew up a lot of people along the way.” 

A vociferous campaigner in the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa, he added: “If Africa fails, Europe cannot succeed.”

Abe: We must rebuild trust in global trade

In another headline address, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe took to the stage at the WEF to discuss global trade, arguing that it was time to “rebuild trust” in international trade. 

His comments come as world leaders such as Donald Trump pull back from free trade. Echoing the thoughts of Angela Merkel, he also reaffirmed Japan’s determination "to preserve and continue the free, open, and rules-based international order.” 

Japan, of course, has just signed off on a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership and a further trade deal with the EU is set to come into force in February.

From circumnavigation to circular economics

Best known for breaking the record for solo circumnavigation of the globe, these days Dame Ellen MacArthur is an advocate for accelerating the transition of the world economy into a circular economy. 

Speaking to our correspondent Isabelle Kumar in Davos, where she released a report on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help with the transition, she argued: “If you take today’s economy we dispose of a lot of stuff, we throw it away, we create a lot of waste and that is very wasteful economically, but also from a materials perspective — a circular economy regenerates those materials.”

Prince William: We need to 'obliterate' mental health stigma

Prince William was back on the podium today joining New Zealand's premier Jacinda Ardern in a panel discussion on the importance of removing mental health stigma. 

A vocal campaigner in the UK on mental health issues and the founder of the Heads Together campaign, the Duke of Cambridge candidly discussed his own mental health. 


Jacinda Ardern, whose government is prioritising spending on mental health treatment, spoke of friends who had committed suicide and of New Zealand’s growing suicide rate.

In a poignant moment, the Duke asked the audience if either they or someone they were close to was suffering mental health problems. Nearly every hand in the auditorium went up.

A warm welcome to the WEF?

As the great and good descend on the WEF this week to discuss how best to shape the world in the year ahead, spare a thought for those who live in Davos. 

The welcome from some residents of the Swiss resort town has maybe not been as warm as some delegates are used to, with some locals hanging banners from their homes with slogans such as “Klaus Schwab f***ed up our town” and “His friends f*** up the world” daubed on them.

In brief:

• German Foreign Minister Peter Altmaier struck a conciliatory tone towards the UK over Brexit, telling journalists at Davos that extending Article 50 would be seriously considered by the EU as a no deal Brexit was not in the UK’s or EU 27's best interests.


• Having left the sport behind two years ago, former Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg was in Davos on Wednesday hoping to bring what he calls fast-paced "F1 thinking" and decision making to the automotive industry, ultimately making electric cars accessible to mass consumer markets.

• Apple CEO Tim Cook has been spotted on his first ever visit to the WEF, arriving against the backdrop of a global “Big Tech” backlash. He has already met with other business leaders and heads of state, including a dinner with Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

• The future of blockchain technology was put under the microscope during a debate hosted by broadcaster CNBC where Jeff Schumacher, founder of BCG Digital Ventures, predicted the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could soon nosedive to zero.

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