We had hoped that Olaf Scholz would announce a decision on allowing Leopard 2 Tanks to be sent to Ukrainebut he has not.
Instead, the German chancellor tells delegates in Davos that we must avoid the conflict escalating into a war between Russia and Nato.
He’s asked by one delegate…
Q: Why are you hesitating on the decision on allowing Leopard 2 Tanks to be sent to Ukraine?
Germany has been among the biggest supporters of Ukraine, Scholz insists, as he embarks on a lengthy defense of Berlin’s approach.
He points out that the US has sent more military support, but it does have a much larger defence budget.
We decided very early in the war to change our political strategies, Scholz says, not simply supporting Ukraine with humanitarian aid but with a lot of weapons.
We will continue to provide support, for as long as needed, he insists.
Scholz says that the artillery coming from Germany to Ukraine, and its multirocket launcher, are very effective to Ukraine defending its sovereinty.
Ukraine can rely on our support, but must avoid this becoming a war between Russia and Nato, Scholz explains.
And his “willingness” and the willingness of Germany, is that Ukraine becomes an independent, free, democratic nation that can join the European Union.
Reminder: Germany is under heavy pressure to allow the re-export of German-manufactured Leopard 2 tanks, which are used by 13 Nato countries, or to give some of its own to help Ukraine.
Q: Iranian women being killed in the street, by the Revolutionary Guards. Why will Germany not designate the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group, as other countries have done.
Scholz says we must understand that the Iranian government are shooting their own people.
He says sanctions have been imposed in response, and Germany is taking decisions with others in Europe.
We will continue to look at the situation and take the decisions necessary, he pledges.
The last year challenged us as never before, Scholz says.
And he predicts that in 2045, his successor will address the World Economic Forum, and they will present Germany as one of the first climate-neutral nations.
We will be moving emissions free on roads and railroads, and our buildings will be operating in a climate-neutral way,
So if you are looking for where you can invest in a sustainable way – look at us, come to Europe and to Germany, he concludes.
On immigration, Olaf Scholz says that Germany is keen to welcome workers.
Those who want to roll up their sleeves are welcome in Germany, that is our message, he says.
And on the US Inflation Reduction Act, Scholz says Europe is speaking to their United States friends about concerns that European firms could be disadvantaged.
We are also seeing what can do to improve investment in Europe, he adds.
Increased buying of LNG (liquified natural gas) on world markets should not mean shortages elsewhere, German president Olaf Scholz says.
There need to be replacements for the Russian gas which is no longer flowing to Europe. That means more renewables, but also more gas, Scholz says.
Otherwise, emerging marketrs might switch back to coal, which would be even more harmful for the environment, he warns [reminder, Germany is planning to destroy a village to expand a coal mine).
On energy, Scholz says Germany believes hydrogen can play a decisive role, the steel industry for example.
He cites projects using offshore wind in the North Sea to power plants creating green hydrogen.
For as long as quantities are small, and prices high, the state will bring prices down for the industry, says Scholz, saying Germany’s goal is an electrolysis boom.
One thing is certain, energy must remain affordable, in Germany, in Europe and worldwide, Scholz adds.
Scholz says Germany’s energy supply this winter is secure, having swiftly weaned itself off Russian gas.
Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of Germany, has arrived on stage to give his special address to the World Economic Forum – the only G7 leader expected this year.
Scholz begins by telling delegates that a lot has changed in the last year.
At the start of 2022, many people were expecting a boom, before the Ukraine war began in February.
He reminds the audience of the fatal helicoptor crash, in which at least 15 people including Ukraine’s interior minister was killed.
We are with their families, Scholz says.
There is also a “sword of Damacles” hanging over the world, Scholz says, the danger of deglobalisation and decoupling within the global economy.
Russia has already failed completely in achieving its imperialist goals, he continues.
Ukraine is defending itself with impressive courage, with support from interntaional allies.
We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary, Scholz insists.
In order for the war to end, Russia’s aggression must fail, he insists.
Al Gore, former US vice president of the United States, has told Davos that he supports Greta Thunberg’s protest against a coal mine expansion in Germany.
He also called for international institions to be reformed to better address the climate emergency.
Gore told a panel here in Davos that the climate crisis was getting worse faster than world is tackling it, warning:
“We are not winning. The crisis is still getting worse faster than we are deploying these solutions.
Gore added that he agreed with efforts by Thunberg to prevent the expansion of a coal mine in Germany.
He reminded the audience that Thunberg had been detained, yesterday, during a protest against the demolition of a German village to make way for a coalmine.
Gore said he agreed with her about trying to stop the coal mine project, which Thunberg has called a “betrayal of present and future generations.”
Gore also said that young activists look at the World Bank, and say it’s being run by a climate denier, adding:
Everyone knows the World Bank is failing badly.
Last September, World Bank chief Davis Malpass was widely criticised for not saying whether he agreed that humans burning fossil fuels were “rapidly and dangerously warming the planet.”
Gore says the COP climate change conference should be reformed, so that decisions could be taken on a super-majority rather than needing unanimity.
That would stop oil and gas companies and petrostates undermining the process, he explained.
Political will is a renewable resource, Gore pointed out, to applause.
Asked to sum up his message in one word, Gore replies:
Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and organise.
The future of Klaus Schwab – Mr Davos for more than half a century – has become a talking point at this year’s meeting after World Economic Forum employees voiced strong criticism of their chair and the lack of a succession strategy.
A group of current and former WEF staff members who contacted the Guardian said the 82-year-old Schwab was a law unto himself and had surrounded himself with “nobodies” who were incapable of running the organisation he founded in the early 1970s.
“Klaus has been at the helm of the WEF for 52 years. When he was born [in 1938] 122 of the 195 states in the world right now did not even exist. He is completely unaccountable to anyone inside and outside the organisation,” the group said.
“We are a group of current and former employees of the WEF. We want to play our role in fostering debate about the role this organisation plays in the world.”
The group said it wanted to remain anonymous.
“We are hesitant to come forward as Klaus is very well connected and can make life very difficult for us even after we leave the WEF.”
Speculation about Schwab’s future has intensified this week after a piece on the online publication Politico said the WEF’s strategic partners – the firms that bankroll the $390m (£315m) a year business – were unhappy about the lack of a succession strategy.