Why Trump’s absence could benefit Davos
This content was published on January 11, 2019
The US government has already spent millions in Davos
If this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) annual general meeting does indeed take place without US President Donald Trump, it won’t matter too much and the Swiss resort of Davos probably won’t even lose much money, say some Swiss media.
Trump announced on Thursday he was cancelling his planned visit over a government shutdown. It is not clear if the partial shutdown will still be ongoing when the summit takes place in the Swiss mountain resort on January 22-25.
Certainly WEF founder Klaus Schwab should be disappointed as he likes to “bathe in the light of the powerful”, writes Fredy Gsteiger,
Ueli Maurer, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, will also miss a rare opportunity to speak face to face with the US president. Otherwise, however, Trump can be seen as “a burden rather than an enrichment for the WEF”, says Gsteiger, “especially as he would hardly have shown up with any creative new initiatives but instead wanted to use Davos for self-promotion in the world spotlight”.
So the WEF doesn’t need a lightning visit from Trump, continues SRF’s diplomatic editor, and that also applies to other presidents who are just a “garnish” at the annual gathering of captains of industry.
“Trump’s absence may even be an opportunity for Davos 2019,” he writes. “If the man who would have more or less monopolised attention is absent, important topics and exciting debates about the future of the world economy gain more weight and audience.”