World elite is gathering in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum – a platform that engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
The European Union is being represented by many of its leaders but the speech of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the importance of rejecting isolationism stood out on yesterday’s agenda (24 January). Chancellor Merkel made it clear that isolationism and protectionism were not solutions to the economic challenges facing countries around the world. She added that she was open-minded about what kind of partnership the EU would develop with the UK when Brexit is materialized but noted that there would not be any compromise on the EU’s core principles.
Her French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron in turn brought up the issue of Europe’s environmental leadership. He said that he wanted to “make France a model in the fight against climate change,” as one of five pillars in his plans to reform the economy. He added that this was a huge advantage in terms of attractiveness and competitiveness. “Talent will come where it is good to live. We can create a lot of jobs with such a strategy,” he said.
Across the bloc, the economic perceptions are already turning against coal: more than half of the EU’s 619 coal-powered plants are losing money. A combination of rapidly decreasing prices for renewable resources and air pollution laws are pushing them out of business. President Macron also called for the EU, which already opened the world’s first carbon trading market, to “go a little bit further and create a floor price for CO2.”