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Collaboration And Communication

What an end to the week. We’ve just filmed "Europe This Week" and we managed to talk to both Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Minister, and Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister of The Netherlands.

Lagarde wanted to stress that we needed to find out all the facts about the SocGen scandal before we could take action. There is still a lot of explaining to be done.

Prime Minister Balkenende stuck to the line about the fundamentals being strong for the economy but he had to acknowledge that there would be some impact from the US slowdown.

The collaboration theme here never really hung together for me. You can see the logic in people working together to solve the world’s problems, which is what WEF wants to do. But in the context of the market turmoil it seems like most people (well, banks anyway) just want to batten down the hatches and get through it.

WEF tried their best to introduce us to their Welcom tool – it’s a kind of Facebook or My Space for CEOs – but it’s not quite ready yet. The idea is that the delegates can keep collaborating well after the snow has melted and Davos has turned back into a sleepy Alpine town. Apparently, in theory, I could log on to the system and get in touch with Tony Blair or Bill Gates. Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite the right login!

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So that’s the formal work done, but in Davos that does not mean that the day is over. Socializing here is very much part of the job. Lots of our guests have told us how the real hard work here is done behind closed doors, but the really candid conversations seem to take place with the aid of a few beers. Talking of which, it’s that time of night now, so I am off to the Googleparty.