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At the height of the eurozone crisis, EU leaders would frequently express annoyance that they were the focus of almost every major international conclave, from Group of 20 summits to annual International Monetary Fund meetings. Resentment would become particularly piqued when leaders from the developing world – like Brazil or Mexico – lectured their European counterparts on getting their economies in order.
That crisis may be in remission, but another European one – of refugees – is due to be among the main topics of conversation at the annual talkfest for global elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which starts today. According to the forum’s formal schedule, there are no fewer than five officially-sanctioned events on the topic, including a one-on-one session between host Klaus Schwab and Joachim Gauck, the German president; a panel discussion featuring Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven; and a press conference with the head of the International Organisation for Migration.
In a pre-Davos interview with the Associated Press, Mr Schwab said Europe was at a “crossing point”, and it needed to find a balance between the humanitarian instinct to help struggling refugees with the reality of limited capabilities to do so. “My concern is that Europe, at the moment, is in a phase of disintegration,” Mr Schwab told the AP. “Europe would be completely marginalized if we break up into different nation-states again.” Read more