European Union

Macron, Merkel, Mnuchin and Ma. Here's your round-up of Davos Day 2

Today's alliterative line-up ended with a message from President Macron: 'France is back' Image: World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez

Anna Bruce-Lockhart
Editorial Lead, World Economic Forum
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

If there was one theme that emerged as the second day of the Annual Meeting in Davos wore on, it was openness. Free trade, international partnerships and the combined future of Europe, with no fewer than three EU leaders taking to the stage in one day to champion ideals of collaboration.

It was a day full of great moments, but here are some of our favourites.

'France is back,' says President Macron

In a wide-ranging address that covered everything from climate change to tax cuts, one message took precedence: "France is back at the core of Europe". Echoing parts of Angela Merkel's speech earlier in the day, in which she highlighted the need for international cooperation, the French president said there would never be "any French success without a European success". Then went on to call on the wider global community to tackle the inequalities brought into play by global capitalism.

Read the rolling coverage of Macron's speech in our liveblog here.

The White House gets tough on trade

“Trade wars are fought every single day. The difference is US troops are now coming to the ramparts," said US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a day after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on imported solar panels, a move that targets Chinese exports.

Ross was joined at the press conference by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Tom Bossert, Homeland Security Adviser. Trump's three top economic advisers were the first of the US delegation to speak formally in Davos this week.

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Angela Merkel invokes the lessons of history

Multilateralism is under threat, announced the German chancellor, reminding participants that 2018 marks the end of the First World War. "Have we actually learned the lessons of history? We haven’t really," she said.

Today’s challenges can only be solved by collaboration and openness, not by building walls, she went on. "We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the answer."

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Jack Ma believes in the 'IQ of love'

Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma spoke openly and at length about some of the key challenges facing the world, delivering a stream of unique perspectives and guidance. You can read our favourite ones here.

Ma has previous form in offering leadership advice, and this year he didn't disappoint, offering a success secret to beat the age of automation. “If you don't want to lose quickly you will need a high IQ, and if you want to be respected you need high LQ: the IQ of love," he said.

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Google CEO says AI more important than fire

In a one-on-one interview, Google chief Sundar Pichai repeated a line he first delivered at an MSNBC event last week, that artificial intelligence is more important to humanity than fire or electricity.

He said that despite concerns about AI, the potential benefits couldn’t be ignored. "The risks are substantial, but the way you solve it is by looking ahead, thinking about it, thinking about AI safety from day one, and to be transparent and open about how we pursue it," he said.

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China's 'three critical battles'

Last year in Davos, Chinese president Xi Jinping caused a stir by defending globalization. This year, his right-hand man Liu He took to the stage to outline how China plans to shape the world economy.

He said China had tried to open its financial markets over the past year, and spread globalization through its Belt and Road Initiative. China faces three critical battles over the coming three years, Liu He went on: preventing major financial risks, alleviating poverty and reducing pollution.

China will be the big financial story of tomorrow, said Jin Keyu, Professor of Economics at LSE. "It's the first time a county with only 25% of the GDP of the US is leading in many areas of tech. As we encourage China to open up, are we prepared for the shocks and volatility that even a tiny tremor in China could cause?"

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Zimbabwe is open for business

In a one-on-one interview, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's newly elected president, said he had set up a national peace and reconciliation commission to try and heal the wounds of the past. He indicated that there would be new elections this year, probably after July, and invited the international community to observe. "We will have transparent elections, free and fair." He added that his ZANU-PF party would respect the outcome of the election.

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If you'd like a more digestible overview of everything going on this week, here's a handy day-by-day guide to some of the highlights from this year's programme.

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