Tag Archives: Davos

US President Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg at Davos, Switzerland

This morning.

Davos, Switzerland.

“It feels like the climate and environment is a hot topic now. But from another perspective virtually nothing has been done. Without treating this as a real crisis we cannot solve it.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg

Meanwhile…

“We must reject the perennial prophets of doom.This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism.”

US President Donald Trump

FIGHT!

Davos 2020: Donald Trump hails US recovery and UK trade deal hopes – day one live (Guardian)

Greta Thunberg: ‘Nothing has been done’ to tackle the climate crisis (CNN)

Getty/AP

This morning.

In Davos, Switzerland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was interviewed by Bloomberg, which reports:

In a worst-case scenario, a hard border could “involve people in uniform and it may involve the need, for example, for cameras, physical infrastructure, possibly a police presence, or an army presence to back it up,” Varadkar said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum on Friday.

“The problem with that in the context of Irish politics and history is those things become targets.”

Varadkar said the backstop, designed to avoid the return of border infrastructure, is needed to ensure those scenes never materialized, and offered little hope to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that he might be prepared to dilute the fix.

Instead, he turned the onus back on London to find solutions, asking why a country “victimized” by Brexit should be constantly asked to compromise.

Varadkar Says Troops Could Return to Border in Botched Brexit (Dara Doyle, Tim Ross, Bloomberg)

Meanwhile…

The following transcript is from the video clip above:

Leo Varadkar: “What we’re looking for is what we’ve been looking for, from day one: is an assurance that Brexit, a decision that the United Kingdom has made, one that was made against the wishes of people in Northern Ireland, one that Ireland was not consulted about, we want a legal guarantee and an operable mechanism which will ensure that we don’t lose all the progress that’s been made in the last 20 years in Ireland in terms of our peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

“So I know, a lot of people, when they talk about Brexit, they talk about the impact on trade and jobs, and on the economy and immigration and all those things that are really important. For Ireland, it’s something very different. We have peace in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“We’ve had closer cooperation North and South, powersharing most of the time and, at the foundation of all of that, was the European Union because EU membership swept away so many of the differences between North and South and between people.

“And we don’t want that to be undermined and what the backstop is, it’s a means to an end. It’s a legal guarantee and an operable mechanism by which we know that there won’t be a hard border as a consequence of Brexit and that’s why we’ve had to hold so firmly on it.”

Journalist: “Is there any room for compromise in order to avoid no deal, which could make it worse?”

Varadkar: “Well, you know, we’ve always been open for compromise and we’ve always been willing to listen to the proposals that the UK government may have and, as the European Union has said on several occasions, if the UK was to change its red lines, then of course our position could evolve.

“But let’s not forget that this Withdrawal Agreement is an agreement that was drawn around all of the self-imposed red lines that the UK set for itself – leaving the Customs Union, leaving the single market, not accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the backstop was designed with them.

“We would have been very happy, for example, to accept a backstop that only applied to Northern Ireland, that didn’t apply to Britain but the UK Government specifically wanted a UK element to it.”

Journalist: “That’s very clear but would you at least be open to exploring a compromise? If it means that, actually, you don’t get the hard border with the no deal?”

Varadkar: “The objective is avoiding a hard border. The backstop is the means by which we achieve it. So if there’s another mechanism, if the UK can come forward with a proposal that achieves a hard border, that gives us that legal guarantee, or achieves, avoids a hard border, then of course we’ll listen to that. Unfortunately, that’s not what I’m getting.

I’m hearing from a lot of people, lot of British politicians and British actors saying ‘of course, we’re against the hard border and we’re also against the backstop’ but the only alternative they can offer to the backstop is a promise to sort it out later, or a promise around technologies that don’t exist yet. We’re not going to give up. A mechanism that we know will work, that’s legally binding…”

Journalist:Have you seen these technologies?

Varadkar:No, they don’t exist and nobody has been able to show them to me.”

Earlier: Squirm

Yesterday.

Davos, Switzerland

In a panel that included Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (top), Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (centre)…

…made an emotive plea for reform – saying EU “tax havens” should be abolished in a thinly veiled swipe at Ireland. He linked his country’s history with Communism to the issue, saying history made it even more important that there be a “level playing field” when it comes to tax.

Starts at 36 seconds.

Under siege: world leaders take ‘tax haven’ swipe at us (Independent.ie)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (far right) at the World Economic Forum in Davos this morning

This afternoon.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is currently in Davos for the World Economic Forum, responded to questions about Brexit.

RTÉ’s Brexit correspondent Europe Editor Tony Connelly is there…

More as he gets it.


From top Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with Michelle Hennessy (left) and Roseanne RooBeek from Reuters and being interviewed by Axel Threfall on Reuters media about Ireland’s economy and our global presence at Davos, Switzerland.

This morning.

World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland

Mr Varadkar said he hoped that the ultimate [UK/EU] free trade arrangement could resemble “Norway Plus”, but that it would have to be a “specific” agreement.

The kind of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) envisaged has generally been regarded as following a spectrum between the EU-Canada agreement, which reduces tariffs but has little by way of services, and the EU-Norway arrangement, where Norway has virtually full access to the Single Market, but has to abide by all EU rules and pay into the EU budget.

However, speaking on Bloomberg TV during his first full day at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort, Mr Varadkar said that neither Norway nor Canada were appropriate models.

‘Norway plus’ model for UK may be possible, Taoiseach says (Tony Connelly, RTÉ)

irelandswitzerland

For the week that’s in it.

Louis Le Fronde writes:

As global leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Conference above is a little comparison graphic between Ireland v Switzerland, reading left to right it makes for interesting reading.

Switzerland, the ‘happiest country in the world’ is smaller than Ireland and until 1900  had a smaller population. Today it has nearly 3.5 million more people. It was a poorer country than Ireland in 1871. In per capita terms, Ireland was among the richest in the world in the 1870s and on the eve of the Great War – the Irish economy lost ground after the 1870s to most of the advanced economies outside the United Kingdom, and Switzerland in particular….

Any excuse.

Davos Elite Fret About Inequality Over Vintage Wine and Canapés (New York Times)

CZVIQg2WYAAqgSc

Bono speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos this afternoon

Rip off!

Kevin Baron tweetz:

“It’s not just the money. It’s not just cold cash. It’s political heat.” – Bono marks 10th ann of @RED #WEF16 #Davos

The charity, officially called Product Red, is a brand that gets licensed to global companies, from Starbucks to Apple. A part of the profits generated by the sale of the products with the brand is donated to a fund that fights diseases such as AIDS and malaria.

It all goes around, in fairness.

FIGHT!

The Latest: Bono Takes Davos Stage to Celebrate Red Charity (ABC News)

Previously: Far From The Tree

Meanwhile, In Davos

davos kenny

This morning/afternoon.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny alongside a panel including Nobel prize winning economist  Joseph Stiglitz discussing ‘inequality’ at Davos.

Watch live here

More as we get it.

UPDATE:

Mr Kenny said:

“From our point of view, obviously to get foreign direct investment into the country you need particular principles. And in Ireland the corporate tax rate was always 12.5% and is 12.5% and will remain so and that’s across all sectors, and across the entire country. And because of reputational damage being done, we got rid of the so-called Double Irish concept which was an issue of taxation that Joseph [Stiglitz] has often written about and the stateless concept. And now we have a 12.5% corporate tax rate and we’ve introduced the first OECD fully compliant knowledge patent knowledge box set at 6.25% for qualified research and development.

But that’s the taxation end of it and it’s attractive and it’s competitive but it’s not the real reason that people really want to invest in the country. When you talk to them, the real reason is the talent pool, the creativity and the ingenuity and the imagination of young people and it’s the same for every country because you’ve got this capacity.

…For instance, a voluntary movement started in Ireland, called Coderdojo – the writing of code for computers and this has taken off and every weekend you have people who voluntarily teach people how to write code that makes, that makes computers tick, this has gone international…

Meanwhile, following a question from the audience about ‘organised tax evasion’ in Europe and its impact on social inequality, Mr Stiglitz said multinationals have a social responsibility to pay their taxes.

He said:

Apple, in the United States, has become the poster child for using ingenuity to take advantage of these loopholes and we have had a very big effort to try to have a UN movement to address this issue. The view that we had was that the countries from which the tax avoiders were coming, like Apple, should not, those governments should not be deciding how to structure a tax regime because they will structure a tax regime that benefits their companies and not benefits the entire world but the United States unfortunately – supported by several European countries – argued that the tax avoiders and evaders should get together and write the rules so they could continue the tax evasion. So I was very disappointed with my own government on this….

In response, Mr Kenny said:

“Ireland is a case in point where Apple has been mentioned. Apple employ 5,000 people in Ireland. They pay their taxes. But no special deal is done with any company by our revenue commissioners over the years and that’s a case obviously, the European Commission are looking at, not just in the case of Ireland but in other countries as well. But obviously the European Council consider this, the OECD have carried out their BEPS analysis, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and for one country, we’ve been very much forthright and up for that because clearly, the taxation system, the legal systems are very far behind the digital systems.

So, we don’t do brass plate companies in our country. So you have a plate…Apple employ 5,000 people, who go to work everyday. Obviously if you manufacture something there and you sell it in France or Italy, the intellectual property is invested elsewhere, these are the complexities and the challenges that are there.

I just want to make it clear that, from our point of view, we defend 100 per cent the authenticity of the way we do business with international companies and there was a lot of talk, as you know Joe [Stiglitz] in the United States about Ireland being a tax haven which was completely false, baseless and untrue and has been dealt with very clearly.

And that’s why in budgets we got rid of reputational perceptions with the Double Irish concept …. and I would absolutely above board and out front for everybody so just to make that point.”

Previously: They’re On To Us

Meanwhile, In Cork (Via Elsewhere)

Anything Good Behind The FT Paywall?