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Speech by Ursula von der Leyen: World Economic Forum: Europe is the focus in Davos

2020-01-22T04:28:02.100Z

ZEIT ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Davos (dpa) - Europe will be the focus at the annual conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Speeches by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, EU Commission President Ursula von Leyen and EU Parliament President David Sassoli are expected this morning.

Von der Leyen met with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday. In the trade conflict between the European Union and the United States, US President Donald Trump again threatened to impose punitive tariffs on car imports.

If the EU and the US could not agree on a trade agreement, such import fees would be "very seriously" examined, Trump said in Davos. "We assume that we can do a deal with Europe." Trump met for a dinner on Tuesday evening with top international managers, including Siemens CEO Jo Kaeser and VW CEO Herbert Diess.

The head of the FIFA World Football Association, Gianni Infantino, was also there. He presented Trump with a soccer ball and highlighted his role in awarding the 2026 World Cup to the United States, Mexico and Canada. "The United States and football - I have to inform you that the United States is on the verge of becoming the world's football power," said the Swiss journalist who was traveling with her.

In Davos, France's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Bruno Le Maire and his US colleague Steven Mnuchin are also discussing an agreement between the USA and Europe today. The conversation, in which the Secretary General of the Industrialized Countries Organization OECD, Ángel Gurria, is supposed to take part, focuses on the transatlantic dispute over the taxation of digital corporations. The powerful Parisian minister had announced that the path to a common plan should be paved.

The conflict, which has been smoldering for a long time, is controversial because Washington had threatened to impose punitive tariffs on champagne or cheese because of the national digital tax in France. According to the wishes of the presidents of the two countries, Emmanuel Macron and Trump, an escalation should be avoided.

A speech by Prince Charles is also planned in Davos (2.40 p.m.). The British heir to the throne wants to talk about environmental issues under the motto "How to save the world".

A performance by Hong Kong's Prime Minister Carrie Lam (2:15 p.m.) should attract attention. China-critical demonstrators are calling for Lam's resignation. For more than half a year there have been major protests in the city against the influence of China's authoritarian communist leadership.

In Davos, around 3000 participants from politics, business and society will be discussing current challenges until Friday under the motto "Stakeholders for a solidary and sustainable world". Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in the Swiss Alps on Thursday.

Meanwhile, violent criticism from Greens' chief Robert Habeck about the speech by US President Trump in Davos causes displeasure in the CDU. "It is already an achievement to disqualify yourself by criticizing President Trump; Habeck has succeeded in doing this," CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen told the editorial network Germany (RND). Habeck's statement that Trump was "the opponent, he stands for all the problems we have" reveal "at least one terrifying foreign policy stupidity of the green top man". Trump is "the country's democratically elected president, which is the backbone of our own security."

Source: zeit

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