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DAVOS 2018 LIVE: Gentiloni issues EU WARNING

January 24, 2018 2:00 PM
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DAVOS 2018 LIVE: Gentiloni issues EU WARNING

AT DAVOS, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni warned today that anti-EU parties could destabilise his country but claimed they would “not prevail” in the upcoming election, as addressed the World Economic Forum 2018.

Mr Gentiloni said the populist right-wing parties standing in the upcoming election would cause disruption to reforms of Italy.

The huge gathering of the world’s political elite steps up a gear on day two with addresses from the leader of Italy, with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to feature later this afternoon.

A whole host of leaders are joining the four-day Swiss forum with Theresa May and Donald Trump among those attempting to have their say and steer global policy.

But some have faced trouble even getting to the event with snowfall higher at the resort than at any time since 1999.

There is a ring of steel at the event with thousands of soliders guarding the resort, but that did not stop a group of anti-Trump protesters breaking through last night for a noisy demonstration.

The member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), also known as TPP 11, reached a basic agreement on the pact in November.

Last year Donald Trump abandoned the talks, prompting fears the deal could be bogged down by resistance from Canada.

Please follow for live updates on the the second day of Davos below..

Jean-Claude Juncker had been expected to arrive at Davos tomorrow, but he’s feeling poorly.

The European Commission President has stomach flu, according to his official spokesman.

It deprives Theresa May of a rare chance to corner him on the sidelines over Brexit.

Mrs Merkel insisted Europe wanted to maintain a close relationship with the EU, but insisted once again it could not be at the expense of freedom of movement.

She said: “Let me say for Germany, but also for all of us, we want to have a good partnership with Britain in the future.

She tells the audience a shared foreign and defence policy will help the EU "take our destiny into our own hands".

And she says the EU can no longer rely on the US who now "concentrate on themselves and their own security".

Angela Merkel is on her feet talking about the spirit of global cooperation and an open world trade system.

She admits polarisation is something that is visible in her own country following the economic and migration crises.

But she says: “Germany wishes to be a country that will lend its contribution to solve the problems of the world together.”

She also speaks out against protectionism, a common theme of this summit that is being seen as a criticism of Donald Trump.

Quizzed about his message for Donald Trump, Mr Gentiloni said the President was very welcome at Davos.

He said the President’s protectionist “America first” protectionist policy was understandable but “obviously there’s a limit”.

He said people have to keep the free trade system functioning “without disrupting what has given us all this potential”.

The Italian said: “Europe is not there to give our opinion on what the elected President of the US decides.

“Europe has an enormous trade force, economic force but not yet a sufficiently strong political decision.

“This is the opportunity for the next month to relaunch a political role of the main European countries or all the European countries.”

Asked about how big a role migration will play in he country’s upcoming election, the Italian leader said the impact was “very, very strong”.

He said: “It is very strong in very single country perhaps without taking into account the numbers of migrants and the real flows.

“How much did the migration issue the vote in the UK about the EU? A lot.”

He said: “It is important we don;t give up our principles so we save lives of those who cross the sea. We are not closing our ports.”

He admitted it was a “costly” political decision but said that it was not going to change.

Paulo Gentiloni said this year “we have the unprecedented chance to relaunch the EU” after the "perfect storm" of the Brexit vote and migrant crisis.

He said: “Those who have bet on a final crisis in the EU have clearly lost.”

He says there must be a stronger political union on the continent and warned populism gives the wrong answers to the right questions.

Mr Gentiloni is talking up the Italian economy, saying his government is “doing its best” to improve the country’s business environment.

He admits the nation has a “long way to go” in its reforms but says the programme he has put in place must continue.

Talking about migration, he says: “We have to manage crises while at the same time go deeper and tackle the root cause of the phenomena causing the crisis.”

In his interview this morning, Paolo Gentiloni was bullish about the pro-EU sentiment of Italians and said they recognised Brexit is “not a good choice” for the UK.

He told CNBC: “Yes, there is a mood to blame Brussels for several things.

“In many cases, it is also justified, because there are rules that are changed from year to year, and difficulties in many sectors, but at the end of the day I think that Italian citizens are, and they have been for 60 years, fundamentally pro-European.

“I have also to add, sadly, that the example of the British decision to leave EU is the opposite sense.

“So, what is happening to the UK, and I totally respect the British people’s decision, but I think it is evident, at least for Italian public opinion, that it was not a good choice for UK.

“The choice is taken, we respect, we cooperate, but the crisis of the EU was in 2016.

“Now we are in 2018, and I think 2018 could be a year of the relaunch of the EU, not of the crisis of the EU.”


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