Britain’s European Union future elbows out euro woes at Davos
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What a difference a year makes! At the last World Economic Forum in Davos there were frantic secret meetings on saving the euro and private straw polls on whether the euro zone would break up and how soon Greece would be forced out.
Twelve months on, the euro's survival is widely taken for granted by the policymakers and business leaders attending the annual forum, and the EU's top economic official has time to go skiing while in the Swiss mountain resort. "I recall last year in 2012, Davos was full of uncertainty about the euro zone," European Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said in an interview.
"Last year there was a very tense mood here. This year I think we are seeing a sentiment moving from stabilisation to recovery, and that means I should get a chance to do some cross-country skiing. Perhaps the most striking change in this year's annual gathering of the captains of business, financial services and government is how little talk there has been about the euro.
The familiar prophets of doom are silent, or at least muted. Indeed, there was far more discussion in the cavernous Congress Centre and the luxury hotels that surround it of whether Britain will still be in the European Union in a few years' time after Prime Minister David Cameron's speech promising an in-out referendum within five years.
"Brexit" has replaced "Grexit" as Davos man's nightmare.
Cameron got a warm reception when he addressed the global forum as chairman of the G8 nations with a rousing call for free-trade agreements, more open markets, greater competition and a crackdown on tax avoidance. But his comments on the EU were more divisive.
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