Mutual trust in an uncertain world

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World Economic Forum in Davos Mutual trust in an uncertain world

“Rebuilding Trust” was the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. The Federal Government was represented on site not only by Minister of Economic Affairs and Vice Chancellor Habeck, but also by Foreign Minister Baerbock, Finance Minister Lindner, and Research Minister Stark-Watzinger.

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The logo of the World Economic Forum is displayed on a window of the Congress Centre in Davos.

This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos started on 15 January 2024. Ukraine’s President Zelensky is among the representatives of over 100 national governments who are attending the meeting.

Photo: picture alliance/AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

This was the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which brings together representatives of governments and international organisations, as well as experts. “Rebuilding Trust” was the motto of this year’s meeting, which was also attended by Minister of Economic Affairs and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Finance Minister Christian Lindner, and Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger.

“We are facing some urgent global challenges,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Habeck before leaving for Davos. The attack by the terrorist organisation Hamas on Israel had had a further destabilising effect on international security, he said, adding that international trade was currently being threatened by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, while Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its civil population had been going on for close to two years now. He pointed out that climate change was still an urgent challenge, too. “The only way we can tackle these multiple global crises is by working together. This is something that we need to discuss in depth in Davos,” Habeck said.

The World Economic Forum is a not-for-profit foundation which holds a general meeting each year in Davos. Leading international economics experts, politicians and representatives of civil society come together at the meeting to discuss current global issues. Participants at this year’s meeting included representatives of more than 100 governments and all the main international organisations as well as 1,000 partner companies. It took place from 15 to 19 January 2024.

Baerbock: the global community cannot sit back and wait

How can states cooperate more effectively in future to ensure greater security? This was one of the questions that was addressed at this year’s World Economic Forum. Crises and conflicts such as those happening right now in the Middle East and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine continue to pose severe global challenges.

On Tuesday, the Foreign Minister took part in a live session entitled “Securing an Insecure World”. Regarding the war between Hamas and Israel , she said: “We are currently stuck in a vicious circle and are looking for a way out.” Baerbock called for a two-state solution during the session. The Foreign Minister said she believed that both sides had to be open-minded to achieve peace. She added that it was also the duty of the international community to find a solution to secure peace in the region – in the interests of the whole world.

“We must focus on the question of what people really need,” Baerbock stated, pointing out that a black-and-white approach would lead nowhere. It had to be ensured, she said, that people in Gaza had access to water, food and medical care, while Hamas had to release the remaining Israeli hostages it was still holding captive.

Foreign Minister Baerbock said she firmly believed that the worst thing the global community could do right now was to sit back and wait, as this would lead to further escalation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Baerbock giving a speech during a live session in Davos.

During a live session, Minister of Foreign Affairs Baerbock speaks about the war between Israel and Hamas.

Photo: World Economic Forum/Faruk Pinjo

State protection for corporate investments in Ukraine

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Habeck called for state investment and export guarantees for Ukraine in Davos on Tuesday. Habeck said that, despite the war, the Federal Government was giving investment guarantees which had a similar effect for companies as insurance cover.

These guarantees were “an extremely successful step that demonstrates our belief and trust that Ukraine will cope with this difficult situation,” he said. In Davos he said he was going to encourage other states to use this instrument, too, adding that

Germany would be supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary. The Federal Chancellor has made this promise repeatedly. This also includes economic support  and cooperation.

Achieving worldwide economic growth and climate neutrality

According to Finance Minister Lindner (c.), the world economy reached a “new normal” in 2023.

According to Finance Minister Lindner (c.), the world economy reached a “new normal” in 2023.

Photo: World Economic Forum / Boris Baldinger

On the last day of the World Economic Forum, Finance Minister Lindner talked about the global economic outlook. He said the global economy had now reached a “new normal”, as had clearly emerged in 2023. This included more widespread use of artificial intelligence, geopolitical conflict, and increasing differences between countries and regions of the world, said Lindner.

But 2023 had also given him hope that it was possible to cope with these changes, he said. It was also important to work together to limit global warming worldwide, said the Minister, adding that a global market needed to be created with the OECD so as to enable investment in new carbon-free technologies and production. 

The Federal Minister of Finance said he believed Germany was on the path to transformation and not the sick man that some believed it to be. Germany needed structural reforms, said Lindner – and the Federal Government was addressing these, such as cutting excess red tape in business and commerce. 

The Federal Government is seeking to boost the economy with high levels of investment so that it remains competitive and Germany can meet its climate targets. 

According to Finance Minister Lindner (c.), the world economy reached a “new normal” in 2023.

According to Finance Minister Lindner (c.), the world economy reached a “new normal” in 2023.

Photo: World Economic Forum / Boris Baldinger

The public was able to watch  the more than 200 sessions of the annual meeting via livestream. In addition, the Open Forum offered the opportunity to participate in on-site panel discussions.