GO
Loading...

Davos Absentees: Who Didn't Show Up?

Friday, 27 Jan 2012 | 9:09 AM ET

Once again, the World Economic Forum's lineup of keynote speakers was extremely impressive. Let's be frank, what other forum in the world—especially in such an inconvenient and remote location—actually manages to attract not just German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, but also policy heavyweights Mario Draghi from the European Central Bank and Timothy Geithner from the US Treasury Department in the space of only three days? Well, very few.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy
Getty Images
French President Nicholas Sarkozy

But browsing through the session and attendees lists, I couldn't shake off the thought that some of the key people are actually missing this year. No, I'm not talking Bono and Angelina Jolie.

Who I am referring to are the ones actually causing what's at the forefront of the discussion: the culprits of the eurozone debt crisis.

Where is Greece's Papademos? Where is Mario Monti? What happened to the prime ministers of Spain and Portugal? Were they not invited? Surely, they were.

But those heads of state have no time to eat canapes, drink champagne. They are busy a)negotiating a Private Sector Initiative with the Institute of International Finance in the case of Greece or b) pushing highly unpopular austerity measures to bring down fiscal deficits.

Their absence may make us scratch our heads at first, but wouldn't you rather see the troubled countries get on with their work than waste important days rubbing shoulders with the other elite of the world?

Other notable absentees include France's Sarkozy, whose La Belle France has grabbed headlines by losing its prized AAA rating just days before the Davos Summit.

And while last year, Russia's prime minister gave the opening speech, there is gaping hole in the Russian delegation this year.

Similar story with the Chinese, whose prime minister and premiers' names are nowhere to be found on the list.

Clearly, Sarkozy and Putin cannot justify a helicopter ride to Davos when they're fighting for re-election. China is preparing for a change in leadership. There is enough talking to be done on the home front already.