Davos chief says Europe, oil prices among worries

DAVOS, Switzerland -- As leaders from the world of politics and business arrive Tuesday in droves for the start of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, the event's founder is in sombre mood.

See Full Article

Klaus Schwab, the 77-year-old chief of the world's most recognized annual economic meeting, said he's worried about Europe's future, the fallout from plunging oil prices and gaping inequalities worldwide.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Schwab also justified the decision of the WEF to disinvite a delegation from North Korea, including its foreign minister, for its claim earlier this month that it had tested a hydrogen bomb. The WEF has been working hard to bring the North Koreans to the 45-year-old annual gathering at the highest level since the 1980s.

"We had to show solidarity with the global world opinion," Schwab said late Monday. "We never cede to any pressure, but we have one principle which means that we observe U.N. sanctions. We do not know yet how the U.N. sanctions will come out, but we didn't want to have the coincidence of the U.N. expressing sanctions -- tough sanctions -- this week and at the same time, we act against those sanctions."

Schwab said he was "very much looking forward" to the arrival of the North Korean delegation and laid out his hope that the country would qualify one day "hopefully sooner rather than later."

The revocation prompted a sharp letter of retort by its ambassador in Geneva, but Schwab insisted Davos organizers had little choice amid a growing prospect of new sanctions against Pyongyang.

With the world facing a myriad of problems such as climate change and war, Schwab said he wanted a "forward-looking" theme to dominate discussions this year, which officially runs from Wednesday through to Saturday: and has built this edition around the idea of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He said vast, speedy technological advances in the digital age in areas like nanotechnology and automation threaten to leave many unskilled workers without jobs or at an economic disadvantage.

In Davos, about two-thirds of the 2,500-plus attendees are decision-makers from the business world: The boardroom, not the shop room floor, has an outsize representation in this snow-capped, ultra-chic Alpine resort. World leaders, including U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, Prime Ministers David Cameron of Britain and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, and German President Joachim Gauck are set to attend.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is likely to be a headline-act after international sanctions against his country were lifted over the weekend under a deal on Tehran's nuclear program. Some business leaders will be contemplating a resumption of economic ties with the long-isolated, oil-rich Islamic republic.

Iran's Oil Ministry announced plans Monday to boost oil production by 500,000 barrels per day after the sanctions were lifted, and Schwab noted the possible harmful impact of even more supply on developing countries that depend on oil revenues at a time when crude prices have already slumped to their lowest level in more than 12 years.

"Of course, we will have to absorb now a larger supply dimension. What concerns me is the impact -- the social impact -- it has on certain countries," said Schwab. "Just think of Nigeria, which so much depends on oil, and other African countries ... not to speak about what's the impact on Russia and so on."

As for Europe's struggle to manage an influx of more than 1 million refugees and migrants last year, he said the continent was at a "crossing point." Europe needs to find the right balance between its values and its capabilities of taking them in, and assuage tensions that have put the Schengen zone -- which eases cross-border travel -- to the test, he said.

"My concern is that Europe, at the moment, is in a phase of disintegration," Schwab said. "Europe would be completely marginalized if we break up into different nation-states again."

He said solidarity with refugees was a core European value.

"It's not a question whether we should have solidarity or not, it's how much can we afford? And here I think we haven't found the right answer yet," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Last BlackBerry-designed phone with physical keyboard to hit stores in April

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Fans of BlackBerry's classic physical keyboard will have reason to celebrate when the last product designed in part by the former smartphone leader becomes available in April. The Waterloo, Ont.-based firm played a role in developing the KEYone, named for the return of the QWERTY keyboard that other smartphone designers have mostly long retired. Source
  • Final cleanup begins at Dakota Access pipeline protest camp

    Economic CTV News
    BISMARCK, N.D. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has moved into the evacuated Dakota Access pipeline protest camp to finish the cleanup started weeks ago by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. A Florida-based company has been hired to provide trash removal and environmental cleanup in the main Oceti Sakowin camp on the north side of the Cannonball River and the smaller Rosebud camp on the south side. Source
  • Appealing to millennials, Las Vegas gets e-sports arena

    Economic CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- The arena has all the features that a professional sports venue needs: stands, warm-up areas for teams, massive screens for spectators and a broadcast platform for commentators. But what distinguishes this new Las Vegas arena is its dozens of video game consoles. Source
  • Warren Buffett says don't waste money on investment fees

    Economic CTV News
    OMAHA, Neb. -- Billionaire Warren Buffett wants investors to be wary of the high fees Wall Street routinely charges because of the damage they do to investment returns, and he emphasized his confident outlook in the U.S. Source
  • 'We always find a way': N.L.'s oil-dependent economy is hurting, but there is hope on the horizon

    Economic CBC News
    Dwight Ball, the affable pharmacist who has been Newfoundland and Labrador's premier for the last 15 months, said something remarkable Wednesday while swinging an axe through several hundred government jobs. "We're human, too. This impacts us," said Ball, who clearly has shown no relish for the more brutal parts of dealing with an oil-dependent economy during a collapse in petroleum prices. Source
  • Deciphering Trump's curious comments on Keystone XL pipeline

    Economic CBC News
    In his nearly hour-long speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday morning, U.S. President Trump talked about a lot of things — the media, Obamacare, trade and crime. But he also ventured into pipelines. Source
  • Ontario police looking for 'large quantity' of stolen cheese

    Economic CTV News
    SOUTH WEST OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Ont. - Police in southwestern Ontario are looking for thieves who made off with a lot of cheese. Ontario Provincial Police say the Village Cheese Mill in South West Oxford Township, east of London, Ont. Source
  • Stock prices slide lower despite large profits at big banks

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's benchmark stock index is on track for its worst day of the year as oil prices are lower and financial firms are selling off despite record earnings at some of Canada's biggest banks. The S&P/TSX composite index was off by 260 points to 15,520 in the afternoon. Source
  • TSX tumbles 247 points despite big profits at big banks

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's benchmark stock index is on track for its worst day of the year as oil prices are lower and financial firms are selling off despite record earnings at some of Canada's biggest banks. The S&P/TSX composite index was off by 260 points to 15,520 in the afternoon. Source
  • 'Baycott': Why 'Peeved Beavers' are upset by Ivanka Trump's brand at the Bay

    Economic CTV News
    Armed with distinctive blonde wigs, pursed lips and red power ties, a group of Ontario women are planning to dress up as U.S. President Donald Trump to protest the Hudson’s Bay Co. for carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion line during two demonstrations in the Toronto area planned for Saturday. Source