It’s the variety, stupid: five Davos debates you might have missed

Bubbling under the headlines last week were a number of important talking points

 Quantitative easing wasn’t the only item on the agenda in Davos. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Quantitative easing wasn’t the only item on the agenda in Davos. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg


While the ECB’s announcement of a quantitative easing programme dominated events in Davos last week, a range of other issues were quietly under discussion at the Swiss resort. Here are some topics you may have missed:


Given the recent terrorist events in Paris and Belgium, the global response to terrorism was, unsurprisingly, one of the key themes of Davos this year. While a number of sessions at the World Economic Forum focused on the challenge facing intelligence services and governments, the role of tech companies and banks in fighting terrorism was also explored.


The US tech sector was heavily represented at this year’s World Economic Forum, with senior executives from Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft, including Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, attending the event.


The UN’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, Mary Robinson, participated in a private discussion forum, along with businessman Richard Branson, which explored how business and civil society can work together to combat climate change.


The ongoing tension between the West and Moscow over Russia’s incursion into Ukraine was a significant sub-theme of this year’s World Economic Forum. The issue was explored at length in the panel discussion between Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the prime ministers of Finland, the Netherlands and Latvia, and German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.


The EU-US trade deal surfaced as a talking point during this year’s World Economic Forum, while businesses lobbied hard on the sidelines to try and garner support for the deal. With significant public resistance building in Europe, particularly in Germany, serious doubt is now emerging about the viability of concluding a deal before the mandate of the Obama administration ends.

The Taoiseach echoed the views of his Finnish and Dutch counterparts by arguing that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was one of Europe’s last chances to set the standards of world trade.