Q: What should be the next concrete steps to recreate the necessary trust in Europe?
Ireland’s Leo Varadkar: Over the next 5-10 years we need to move it from being just an economic power and trading bloc into a group of nations that is politically influential. The US is moving away from that role, China is getting bigger. Europe needs to have a common foreign policy and act as a force for good in the world on a number of key issues.
Cecilia Malmstrom, EU trade commissioner: Europe is so many things. We see a rise of populist movements as the European parliamentary elections approach. It’s a great time to show the pro-European leadership we need.
Mark Rutte, Dutch PM: You have to stick to the rules and keep to your promises. If we do we could make much faster progress (he’s really got it in for Italy today.)
And with that, the panel ends.
Greta Thunberg: If we don’t fight climate change, nothing else matters
Back at the Arctic Basecamp, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish climate change activist, tells delegates she spent last night in a tent at minus 18 degrees celsius.
Greta explains that she couldn’t turn down the invitation to Davos – for one thing, it’s an adventure.
Most people came here in private jets, and stay in hotels, but I came on a 20-hour train journey and slept in a tent, she says.
But it’s also a valuable opportunity to push her campaign, which began when she went on strike from school because Sweden’s government wasn’t doing enough on climate change.
Her message for Davos leaders:
I want to tell them that if we do not care about the climate crisis then no other issue will matter in the future.
This is what shapes the future.
Ireland’s Leo Varadkar says the best way to address tax loopholes is through the OECD.
He says the best way to address the digital tax is to tax where the value – and not turnover – is created.
Mark Rutte of the Netherlands returns to the subject of Italy and it’s spending plans. He says the Netherlands now has a budget surplus because the economy is growing and because it is the correct thing to do, even if larger European economies are not playing by the rules.
Ana Botin, chair of Santander, says Spain has had by far the biggest flow of immigrants than any other country.
(That comment is directed at Dutch PM Mark Rutte who spoke earlier about a north/south divide in the EU.)
She says Europe needs to “punch its weight” when it comes to trade, amid a China/US trade war. “Scale matters,” she says, urging leaders to focus on a single market for services.
We desperately need a European banking union, Botin says. 90% of financing come from banks in Europe, in the US it’s 50%.
On regulatory reform and a banking union:
We are famously known in the world for being slow in Europe. But we’re also trying to do the right thing. Let’s prove everybody wrong and do the right thing, but a little bit faster.
China, the US and the EU are all major contributors to global emissions…. and Professor Gail Whiteman of Lancaster University points out that companies also have responsibility.
Look at the holdings of asset manager BlackRock, she says. Its passive holdings are melting sea ice the size of Shanghai each year she adds.
Up in the mountains of Davos, a group of climate change scientists are updating delegates.
Dr Jeremy Wilkinson of the British Antarctic Survey, warns that the world is losing polar ice at a
We have lost half the sea ice since the 1970s, and we know that by the middle of the century we’ll lose the sea ice in the Arctic in the summer, he says, unless countries stick to the Paris Agreement on global temperatures.
Cecilia Malmstrom, EU trade commissioner, says that on her travels the key issue that young people raise is no longer migration but climate change.
The Polish PM Morawiecki says a key focus has been addressing inequality, and that it’s heading in the right direction in Poland. Eliminating all tax havens from the EU would help bring about a level playing field.
Dutch PM: Lack of action on Italy budget is creating a divide in EU
Q: What reforms are necessary?
Dutch PM Mark Rutte: Trump is an opportunity.. to make use of his criticism of multilateralism and reform areas that need it.
There is an east/west divide in the EU on the refugee crisis. This needs to be addressed.
And north and south divides too. The commission not acting on Italy and it’s budget plans has notified the northern countries that while we’re playing by the rules, others are not. If Italy is getting away with it, why should we get our own house in order, I’m asked. It is creating a divide and mistrust.
Klaus Schwab asks: what would you tell young people today about the value of European identity?
Dutch PM Mark Rutte: Three words: prosperity, collective safety and values.
Ireland’s Leo Varadkar: Europe works and as a result we’ve had 70 years of peace and prosperity. We need to stick together.
EU commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom: The one word is “together”. We can only save the planet and make things better if we work together.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s PM says it’s all about diversity. We can build on this in the decades to come. “Another one would be empowerment of people.”
Coming up shortly is a panel on “the new impetus for Europe”.
Philip Hammond was showing on the list of speakers this morning, but has since vanished…
The panel includes:
- Cecilia Malmstrom, EU trade commissioner
- Ana Botin, chair of Santander
- Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and chair
- Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland
- Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands
- Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland