Free trade, food and 5G have become weapons of war

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused Moscow of deliberately leading a global food crisis. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned of the military dangers of Chinese 5G.

It’s hard to believe we’re talking about war here today, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum on Tuesday. Davos is the antithesis of the war. This is about bonding and working together for the future of the world. ‘

Von der Leyen outlined how the Russian invasion of Ukraine calls into question the international order and demands a global response. “Ukraine must win this war,” she said. “Putin’s aggression must be a strategic failure.”

The European Union is therefore supplying a country with weapons for the first time in its history, von der Leyen said. She outlined how a € 10 billion aid package is in the pipeline for the reconstruction of Ukraine. She reiterated plans to cut Europe off from Russian energy as soon as possible. That route goes through U.S. gas supplies, more wind energy, LNG terminals and hydrogen energy.


Von der Leyen pointed out that the conflict with Russia is now also being waged through food. 20 million tons of grain can not leave Ukraine because Russian ships block the Black Sea, and the Russian army confiscates agricultural machinery and grain crops.

Bread has become 70 percent more expensive in Lebanon, von der Leyen said. Grain ships en route to Somalia are not leaving the port of Odessa, and Russia is deliberately bombing Ukrainian grain silos. According to von der Leyen, the Kremlin uses grain supplies abroad as a small change for political support.

The essence

  • At the World Economic Forum in Davos, one of the dominant stories in the past was that free trade brings prosperity.
  • This year’s edition focuses on the costs that have been ignored: leaning on autocratic regimes.
  • Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Russia was using grain to blackmail a hungry world.
  • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned about the Chinese power behind 5G technology.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday that Ukraine accounts for 80 percent of Egypt’s grain imports. He called it crucial that the Ukrainian grain harvest in Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian ports on the Baltic Sea is affected. “If it does not work, many people in North Africa risk starvation,” he said.

Gita Gopinath, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, said on Tuesday that food prices will continue to rise as shortages of fertilizer and many countries slow down food exports.

“The signs of an impending food crisis are clear,” von der Leyen said. “This will get worse in the coming months.” She called to talk to the Kremlin. “It can not be in Russia’s interest for people all over the world to starve to death.”

Free trade has led to great prosperity. But that prosperity has a price. We have built too much on authoritarian regimes.

Jens Stoltenberg

Secretary General of NATO


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg continued half an hour later on the momentum that the war is being waged through the economy. ‘Free trade has led to great prosperity in recent decades,’ he said, ‘but that prosperity has a price. We have built too much on authoritarian regimes. ‘

He referred to the canceled plans for the Russian-German gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. “We have learned our lesson.” Stoltenberg also reached out to him, as a politician in Norway, he supported plans for a larger gas market that includes not only Europe but also Russia and North Africa.

The NATO chief did not stop his analysis with Russia. He noted that we are making the same mistake today if we allow China to invest in the 5G network in NATO countries. Artificial intelligence and self-propelled systems are built into weapons, he said. “We are undermining our security if we allow Chinese technology in our 5G network.”

You can easily make money with the Chinese 5G, Stoltenberg addressed the business of the conference center, but in the long run it is harmful. ‘Values ​​are more important than profit. Freedom is more important than profit. ‘

There is a military front. But there is also an economic front.

Yuliia Svyrydenko

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine

Release sanctions

That begs the question, under what conditions can sanctions against Russia ever be released? Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko called on Davos to introduce more because Moscow is deliberately causing a food crisis.

She added one economic argument: the Russian economy is expected to shrink by 10 percent this year. The Ukrainian is undergoing a recession of at least 30 percent. “We need more sanctions. There is a military front. But there is also an economic front. ‘

Will Russia ever get a place in Europe again? “Yes,” said von der Leyen. If Russia finds its way back to democracy, to the rule of law, to respect for international order. Russia is our neighbor. We share a long history and culture. ‘ But she continued, “It’s a distant dream.”

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