Davos, Merkel vs. Trump: "He did not learn the lesson of history"
At the World Economic Forum the German chancellor attacked the protectionism and isolationism of the White House. Macron jokes about the US president. And Gentiloni: "For the president to protect the interests of US citizens is important, but we do not question the framing of our commercial relations"
DAVOS - Angela Merkel walks the stage of Davos for the tenth time and she does so by sending a very clear message to Donald Trump and to those who minimize the protectionist drift. The Chancellor opened her report before the audience of the World Economic Forum, recalling the anniversary of the end of the First World War, when the protectionist West - and here the chancellor quotes a famous book on the Great War - slipped "night owl" into the conflict.
Merkel has stated that "isolating oneself from the rest of the world does not help and that protectionism is not the right answer", that we should "seek multilateral and not unilateral solutions", even "if it takes patience". We must look for a multilateral dialogue, he added, whenever we "think that things are not going right and that the mechanisms are not reciprocal". The conservative leader also complained about "too many national selfishness" and warned against "populisms that poison Europe".
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On the day of European pride in Davos, Emmanuel Macronhe stressed that "globalization is going through a serious crisis" that requires a response, a "cooperation", a new "multilateralism" and not, referring to Trump's America first, "new hegemonies". It is also essential for the head of the Élysée to reconquer those left behind by globalization and a similar passage is also found in the Chancellor's report.
Finally, the French president is also about the US tax reform, calling for "avoiding rides on taxes". Trump's tax dumping "is not an answer", but Macron also specified that "a more coordinated international strategy is needed".
Both Merkel and Macron have held up the flag of Europe. The chancellor recalled the progress made in multilateralism after the Second World War and, more recently, the European revival, the steps forward on the common defense, "which is not against NATO". Merkel also pointed out that the conflicts that now surround Europe must go on "bearing in mind that we can no longer rely on the United States" and that "we must therefore take destiny in our hands".
Macron, in front of the crowded audience of the Forum, exclaimed that "France is back, in the heart of Europe" but that "it can not succeed without the success of Europe". This is why the head of the Elysée said that "short-term goals" are needed, but also "a ten-year strategy" for the re-foundation of the Old Continent. Macron recalled European values, "peace, justice, individual rights", but also that multilateralism which, if it wants to infect the world again, needs its cradle, Europe, "to be strong".
Along the same lines as the Chancellor, the Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, who spoke immediately before her: "I totally respect the fact that Trump was elected with the idea of putting America 'first' and that he is trying to go in that direction. But, as Europeans and Italians, we have to highlight the fact that respecting and protecting the interests of US citizens, which is correct, can not mean that we question the framing of those commercial relationships that have proved extremely useful for growth.The debate is open - continued the premier from Davos - but the basis of the discussion should continue to be support for openness, free trade and agreements, not protectionism ".
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This morning a first and important American delegation arrived in Davos and formed by the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defended both the tax reform and the recent decision to impose duties on washing machines and solar panels . "We believe in a territorial fiscal system," said Mnuchin, underlining how "a very positive response has come from the markets" to Trump's moves.
Ross replied to those who asked him about the neo-protectionist moves, that "some countries adopt extreme protectionism". And Mnuchin, speaking of the dollar's rebounds, stressed that "a weak dollar is better for export". When the Ttip transatlantic trade agreement, which was yesterday defended by the Canadian premier Justin Trudeau, always on Davos stage, Mnuchin said that "he is not dead but we are to make bilateral agreements".