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WEF 2018: Europe readies riposte to Donald Trump's 'America First' push

The forum will open on Tuesday with a speech by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Noah Barkin | Reuters  |  Davos 

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A logo is pictured on a window ahead of the WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland Photo: reuters

European leaders will be out in force at the World Economic Forum in this week to defend before US President arrives to deliver his “First” message. Politicians, business chiefs, bankers and celebrities will meet in the Swiss Alps under the banner “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” for the four-day gathering against an unsettling global backdrop. A decade after the bankruptcy of US investment bank helped trigger a global financial crisis, economic growth has returned and stock markets are hitting record highs. Yet there is a nagging fear among many in that the brighter economic outlook could turn out to be little more than a mirage if the daunting array of geopolitical threats — from protectionism and to cyber attacks and outright war — gather pace in 2018. “Not all geopolitical threats are threats to financial markets,” Axel Weber, the chairman of Swiss bank UBS and former president of the German Bundesbank told Reuters. “But I agree that there may be a disconnect, which has been going on for some time already and may well continue for some time.” The Global Risks Report published by the WEF last week showed that many see a heightened risk of political and economic confrontations between major powers this year. Trump, the first sitting US president to attend the forum since in 2000, is a source of much of this anxiety after a volatile first year in office in which he has turned American foreign policy on its head. The forum will open on Tuesday with a speech by India’s and end on Friday, when Trump is due to address the massive auditorium where Chinese President spoke last year, offering to fill the global leadership void created by an inward-looking Washington. White House officials said over the weekend that a government shutdown in the US was unlikely to prevent Trump from making the trip, although the budget director Mick Mulvaney said it was now “in flux”. reuters

First Published: Mon, January 22 2018. 01:18 IST