This week, Davos leaders drink wine and whine, Qualcomm hit with a massive fine, and Romanian rule of law is in serious decline.
The big news at the World Economic Forum in Davos was… the snow!
The big story so far about Davos is…the snow!
The World Economic Forum in #Davos battles a heavy snow…and also awaits the U.S. President Donald Trump. They say it's the snowiest #WEF meeting in 18 years #Davos2018 @wef pic.twitter.com/ur4qQ1MqQR
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 22, 2018
Leading to lots of speculation about who would and wouldn’t make it.
Euractiv’s own Jorge Valero revealed that Juncker had to cancel his trip due to a flu. It would have been his first appearance in Davos in almost 20 years.
— Jorge Valero (@europressos) January 24, 2018
But the biggest name on the bill was definitely “Not Welcome” as protests against Trump took place in Zurich.
— Remove Trump Now (@KaniJJackson) January 24, 2018
Jesselyn Cook reported that it wasn’t just the man and woman on the street: World leaders were also taking “some not-so-subtle swipes at Donald Trump.”
— Jesselyn Cook (@JessReports) January 24, 2018
Meanwhile, somewhat ironically, Justin Trudeau told Davos to “tackle inequality or risk failure.”
Justin Trudeau tells Davos: tackle inequality or risk failure – "companies avoid taxes and boast record profits with one hand while slashing benefits with the other.” https://t.co/C6Bd66aLCv #Davos2018 #Capitalism #SystemFail
— d.b. valentine (@dbvalentine) January 25, 2018
As Javier Blas from Bloomberg pointed out, “Only in Davos would you get a sign with ‘private car pick-up’ alongside the ‘day in the life of a refugee’ exhibition.”
— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas2) January 22, 2018
Inequality? Those in Davos just want to rub it in, according to some cartoonists.
— Eb 🇿🇦🇬🇭 (@SuperEbza) January 22, 2018
Of course, Davos isn’t the only place there’s inequality. Jack Parrock showed this installation at Brussels’ Schuman station. Note the direction of the escalators for migrants or expats leading up to the Berlaymont.
— Jack Parrock (@jackeparrock) January 24, 2018
But if you want to come up with your own Davos message, an account called Davos DeVille shared this handy chart.
Reminder not to share this kind of "subversive content" designed to undermine our purpose. pic.twitter.com/3r3FM4sJpX
— Davos DeVille (@DavosDeville) January 23, 2018
So I’ll be Innovating Global Efficiency… sounds about right!
Back in Brussels, the Commission slapped Qualcomm with a €997 million fine for illegally shutting out rivals in the chipset market.
“Don’t,” tweeted EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager.
.@Qualcomm to pay fine of €997 mio. They illegally shut out rivals from market of LTE baseband chipsets for over 5 years. Misuse of dominant position. Don’t.
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) January 24, 2018
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen described Vestager as “the world’s most aggressive technology regulator.”
Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust chief, and the world’s most aggressive technology regulator.
— Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (@rasmus_kleis) January 25, 2018
Qualcomm was found to have paid Apple to guarantee chip exclusivity.
— euronews (@euronews) January 24, 2018
Spoof account Martini Seltzermayr was also interested in the news.
BREAKING: company fined €997m for abusing dominant position on chip market pic.twitter.com/jiuMNnz5ga
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) January 24, 2018
No, not that sort of chip.
David Meyer pointed out that “Intel, once an EU antitrust villain, was the victim this time.”
Intel, once an EU antitrust villain, was the victim this time https://t.co/hmYaqx3I4G
— David "Action Required" Meyer (@superglaze) January 24, 2018
Consumer advocate Isabelle Buscke says the next step is to get consumers compensated for paying over the odds.
Next stop: how to make sure consumers get compensated for the money they paid too much due to lack of competition…
— Isabelle Buscke (@ibuscke) January 24, 2018
Qualcomm says it will appeal the decision.
.@Qualcomm says it will appeal EU antitrust decision today. Says it didn't break the law and there was no market harm.
— Lewis Crofts (@lewis_crofts) January 24, 2018
Finally, as Roxana Adam reported, Romanians were out in the street (again) to protest against (surpriiiise!!) the corrupt government.
— Roxana Adam (@roxeeadam) January 20, 2018
An estimated 20.000 gathered in Bucharest last Saturday.
— Hans von der Brelie (@euronewsreport) January 20, 2018
Others reported figures of 50,000 and even as high as 70,000 people on the streets.
— Crashsky's Place (@Crashsky) January 20, 2018
MEP Siegfried Muresan said people were shouting about two things: “1, defending the rule of law and criticising any attempt to weaken it and 2, against the governing socialists.”
“There is a huge discrepancy between people and politicians,” he added.
Being at the protests in #Bucharest #Romania tonight, I can say very clear: people were shouting two things:
1. defending the rule of law and criticising any attempt to weaken it.
2. against the governing socialists.
There is a huge discrepancy between people and politicians.
— Siegfried Muresan (@SMuresan) January 20, 2018
And the European Commission issued a stern rebuke of Romania’s judicial reforms, warning it will thoroughly review the controversial amendments.
.@EU_Commission has issued a stern rebuke of #Romania's judicial reforms, warning it will thoroughly review the controversial amendments that severely hamper the #Anticorruption Directorate's ability to bring cases to court: https://t.co/jP3DMLDgCt
— Nations in Transit (@FH_NIT) January 24, 2018
But the most bizarre banner of the whole affair was highlighted by Craig Turp Balazsm calling for Charles Prince of Wales to be made King of Romania.
Banner at tonight's protest in Bucharest calling for Charles Prince of Wales to be made King of Romania. pic.twitter.com/dy37NDzTED
— Craig Turp-Balazs (@bucharestlife) January 20, 2018
This week we are supported by Coca-Cola. Check out their #WorldWithoutWaste
campaign. By 2030, for every bottle or can they sell, they aim to take one back.
— Coca-Cola EU Dialogue (@CocaCola_EU) January 23, 2018
Join me again next week for more buzz, blunders and backtalk in the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere and send in your suggestions using the hashtag #EUTweets.