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

  • Why do you need a pet insurance, right here, right now

    Economic 24news
    Many Canadians would consider their pets as a part of their immediate, granular, family. Although some professionals think it’s not healthy, that’s the way life is in the twenty first century; There is a steep decline in the birth rate globally, with Japan leading the pack, and pets are filling in the void.
  • 'Archaic' liquor laws in B.C. hurt consumers, whisky distributor says

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- An Alberta-based whisky distributor says "archaic" liquor policies in British Columbia are limiting the range of products consumers can access. Robert Carpenter with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society says B.C. bars have long skirted rules that prevent them from buying unique products at private liquor stores that aren't carried at government stores. Source
  • With a deep tech talent pool, Toronto could hit Amazon's 'sweet spot' with bid for new HQ

    Economic CBC News
    Toronto faces stiff competition in its bid to court Amazon, but some Canadian tech experts agree that among the 20 cities short-listed as potential locations for the company's second headquarters, Toronto might just hit "the sweet spot. Source
  • HBC's Lord & Taylor to lay off 200 in U.S. operations move

    Economic CTV News
    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Lord & Taylor has announced that it will be laying off about 200 people at a Pennsylvania distribution centre as it moves some operations to a new location about 80 kilometres away. Source
  • Four things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Four things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week: Time to have "the talk"? Alimentation Couche-Tard's hosts its first-ever investor day on Monday. The large convenience store chain, which operates as Circle K outside Quebec, recently said it hasn't given up hope of selling cannabis as some Western Canadian provinces turn to the private sector for over-the-counter sales. Source
  • Canadian tech CEOs disappointed Amazon won't be coming to their cities

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Tech sector entrepreneurs whose Canadian cities were snubbed by Amazon in its search for a second corporate campus say they are disappointed, despite fears they would have seen increased competition for scarce skilled talent. Source
  • Rogers sales tactics and the 'Tide pod challenge': CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need. Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday. Rogers employees reveal sales pressures A number of Rogers employees have come forward about how they are coached to upsell customers. Source
  • Macron says U.K. can't keep full access to E.U. post-Brexit

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested that Britain is likely to negotiate a unique relationship with the European Union before it leaves the bloc next year, while stressing that any agreement must be consistent with EU rules. Source
  • Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots

    Economic CBC News
    Aging shopping centres, built decades ago as beacons of fashion and free parking on the suburban fringe, are gradually becoming relics on a sea of inner-city asphalt. But rather than tinker at the margins to squeeze the last nickels out of old stores, some retailers are doing something dramatic with their biggest asset: land. Source
  • Want to understand the problems with minimum wage? Talk to people who earn it

    Economic CBC News
    There are more than a million Canadians who work minimum wage jobs — they make up 8 per cent of the country's salaried employees. The hourly rate they earn varies across the country, from a low of $10.85 in Nova Scotia, to Alberta where the minimum wage is set to increase to $15 in October 2018. Source