Schulz to bid farewell to EU stage in Davos

Martin Schulz has attended the Davos forum every year since he became European Parliament President. [European Parliament]

Martin Schulz confirmed that he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos next week (17-20 January), where he will address the global elite hours after he steps down as European Parliament president.

The Parliament leader decided at the last minute to attend the summit in the Swiss Alps. Schulz has made it to every one of the Swiss meet-ups since he became Parliament chief but he at first did not confirm that he would make it to the gathering as it will take place the same week he leaves office.

He will be the only EU institution chief to attend the forum.

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Few leaders from Europe’s largest countries and EU institutions will attend the elite gathering in Davos next week (17-20 January), despite the fact that the threat of populism is expected to be high on the agenda.

The German will arrive at the ski resort on Wednesday evening (18 January), already as a regular MEP. He will have a full day of meetings on Thursday before he departs on Friday morning.

Although his agenda is still being finalised, an aide told EURACTIV.com that he will meet with new UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

He will also participate in the ‘Which Europe now’ panel, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Commission Vice-President and former Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans, and Santander CEO Ana Patricia Botín.

The Davos forum will not only mark his farewell as EU leader, surrounded by dozens of heads of state and government, top businessmen and civil society leaders, it could also represent a stepping stone toward the German foreign affairs ministry.

His nomination as the Bundesrepublik’s top diplomat would increase his visibility in his home country, where he remains largely unknown, since he spent most of his political career in the European Parliament.

Last November, he announced his return to German politics in time for the September general elections.

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Martin Schulz, a one-time football player feared for his defensive tackles, made up his mind in the last week of November to leave the European Parliament’s helm, considering it the right time to fight for the leadership of his party, and Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to appoint a new foreign affairs chief in the next few weeks as the outgoing minister, Walter-Frank Steinmeier, will become President of the Republic in February.

Meanwhile, some other leaders will no longer attend, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Timeline

  • 17-20 January: World Economic Forum (Davos).