Good morning dear readers,
Who would have thought that the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos would one day become a symbol of the good old days? The era in which globalization took giant strides and world trade grew year after year even faster than the world economy as a whole. When the rise of emerging economies lifted millions out of absolute poverty every year and international competition kept inflation low.
This “Davos mindset” shaped the world view of the global elite for years. This also included the fact that one could no longer imagine that states that were becoming more and more networked with one another could still wage wars against one another.
Today we know that much of this Davos ideology was naïve and sometimes simply convenient for the already rich and powerful. But just as much remains true: For Germany in particular, more trade means more prosperity – and vice versa. And so both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Finance Minister Christian Lindner used their appearances in Davos yesterday to speak out against the threat of de-globalization.
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Scholz renewed his offer to the US to negotiate tariff reductions and warned: “Protectionism prevents competition and innovation and harms climate protection.”
Lindner demanded: Since the World Trade Organization WTO is not fully capable of acting, Germany and Europe should strengthen their trade cooperation with “like-minded partners”. “I therefore propose a free trade area for democracies.”
As a model for his idea, Lindner sees the “climate club” that the seven largest industrialized countries (G7) proclaimed last year and in which they want to agree on common climate protection standards.
First assessment: Like the climate club, the free trade zone of the democracies is nothing more than a vague idea. But at least one that stands out pleasantly from the ever new industrial policy subsidy programs that are currently being discussed in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Washington.
More articles on the World Economic Forum in Davos:
This is also part of globalization: The most valuable Dax group, the traditional company Linde, is withdrawing from the German financial center. The shareholders of the industrial gas manufacturer voted with a large majority on Wednesday for the so-called delisting in Frankfurt. The stock is expected to be only listed on Wall Street by March 1. The group will also fall out of the leading German index Dax 40. Linde currently has a market capitalization of around 150 billion euros, putting it ahead of SAP and Siemens in the Dax.
The merger with the US competitor Praxair, which was completed in 2018, has removed Linde from its original home, comments Handelsblatt industry expert Axel Höpner:
“Formal headquarters in Dublin, tax headquarters in London, operational management largely in the United States. Now follows the withdrawal from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The critics of the merger, who saw it as a secret takeover by the Americans, feel vindicated.”
According to media reports, Chancellor Scholz is now ready to allow the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine – but on one condition: According to information from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, in a telephone call to US President Joe Biden, Scholz demanded that the US provide Ukraine with its own Abrams main battle tanks. Biden did not commit to this in the conversation on Tuesday. The same reports the “image” with reference to government circles. Accordingly, the Chancellor wants a signal that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot split NATO.
In Davos, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke out in favor of negotiations with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine: “It is important that we also maintain contact with Putin.”
He advocates that the French and German governments “take the lead here,” Sánchez told CNN news channel on Wednesday. A return to the so-called Normandy format is conceivable – a contact group from Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine that existed before the outbreak of the war.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ruled out direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents: Negotiations with Volodomir Zelensky “are out of the question,” Lavrov said in Moscow.
The planned takeover of the Italian airline ITA by Lufthansa is nearing completion. “Today the company submitted a corresponding offer in the form of a declaration of intent to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance,” Lufthansa announced on Wednesday afternoon. Rival Air France said on Wednesday it would not submit an offer for the loss-making ITA. Lufthansa should therefore be the only bidder.
Lufthansa’s goal: First, acquire a minority share from ITA’s sole owner, the Italian state. At the same time, “options to purchase the remaining shares are to be agreed at a later date,” the group said. There is speculation in industry circles that Lufthansa will initially acquire a block of shares of around 40 percent and pay around 300 million euros for it.
If you haven’t heard anything about the goalkeeper drama in Munich to this day, you will be interested in this report about as much as the relegation battle in the Macedonian district league. Otherwise, all the more so: the change from goalkeeper Yann Sommer from Borussia Mönchengladbach to FC Bayern Munich is apparently imminent. “Negotiations about a transfer of the 34-year-old goalkeeper are in the final phase,” Gladbach tweeted in the evening.
Bayern Munich would have found a replacement for the injured Manuel Neuer just in time for the start of the second half of the Bundesliga season on Friday. According to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, Jonas Omlin will switch from HSC Montpellier to Gladbach as the summer successor.
I wish you a day to keep your closet clean.
Your Christian Rickens