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POLITICS

Merkel warns ‘protectionism not the answer’ to world problems at Davos summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Wednesday "protectionism is not the answer" to world problems, addressing the Davos economic summit before US President Donald Trump appears to defend his "America First" agenda.

Merkel warns 'protectionism not the answer' to world problems at Davos summit
Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

“We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the answer,” Merkel said in a speech in the Swiss resort.

She spoke a day before the arrival of the US president whose aggressive trade policies have raised concern among defenders of globalization.

“Let us not shut off from others, let us keep pace with the best in the world and let us canvas for this multilateral approach,” Merkel said.

She had dragged herself away from fraught efforts to form a new government at home in Germany and took the stage at the World Economic Forum a day ahead of Trump's arrival.

She added her voice to other world leaders at the summit to defend the liberal international order after a year of protectionist rhetoric by the US president.

Trump angered China and South Korea this week with new tariffs on solar panels and large washing machines.

He is scheduled to close the annual Davos conference with a speech on Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron was due to speak later on Wednesday.

Top US officials said Wednesday that his trip was intended to defend US interests while also promoting international ties.

POLITICS

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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