United States

Davos 2012


Analysis: Merkozy fights to prevent Merkollande

PARIS Things must be getting desperate if Angela Merkel is intervening in French politics to try to save Nicolas Sarkozy from defeat.

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More Davos News

Factbox: Key political risks to watch in France

PARIS President Nicolas Sarkozy risks not making it to the second round run-off of the presidential election on May 6, which would be an unprecedented event in the history of the 50-plus years of the Fifth Republic.

Feb 06 2012

Sarkozy details measures for growth, jobs

PARIS President Nicolas Sarkozy used a primetime television interview on Sunday to flesh out a flurry of measures to boost employment and competitiveness which he hopes to rush through France's parliament before a presidential election in April.

Feb 06 2012

France's Hollande extends lead over Sarkozy: poll

PARIS French Socialist election frontrunner Francois Hollande has widened his lead over President Nicolas Sarkozy despite a flurry of measures being advanced by the conservative leader to boost employment and competitiveness, a poll showed on Tuesday.

Feb 06 2012

Sarkozy, Hollande forge ahead in French election poll

PARIS Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande and conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy pulled ahead of rivals in an opinion poll on Monday that is the second recent survey to suggest the April-May election could become a clear two-horse race.

Feb 06 2012

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white with hologram

The most coveted badge in all of Davos is one with a shiny holographic sticker on it -- despite the fact that most attendees, and even some Forum employees, don't actually know what the sticker actually means. It's seen on the badge of every head of state, so some people thinks it means you are a head of state. It doesn't. In fact, the shiny hologram grants you entry to the hyperexclusive Davos-within-Davos known as IGWEL, or the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders.

To get in, you need to be a senior government policymaker -- think finance minister, or trade minister, or one of their sherpas -- or one of a very select group of WEF employees. And in fact the exclusivity does seem to help: if anything useful has ever been achieved at Davos, it has probably been achieved at IGWEL, which remains one of very few occasions where international politicians can meet informally, off the record, to talk about their biggest aspirations. Mexican president Carlos Salinas once said that the idea of NAFTA first emerged at an IGWEL. But don't expect anything that ambitious to emerge this year: the politicians will probably spend more time commiserating than conspiring.


who gets them

what it means

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Official delegates

I got invited to Davos.

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"Strategic Partners" who pay half a million dollars or more

Access to a secret elevator in the convention center which takes you to a secret VIP room. Which turns out to be exactly the same as all the other rooms in the convention center.



I feel both important and ignored at the same time.


Working press

Chasing after CEOs to ask them what "the mood" is, while being constantly informed that you're barred from everywhere you actually want to go.

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Technical teams with reporters

Following the reporters who are following the CEOs, while also trying to get a video camera and tripod through security five times a day.

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World Economic Forum permanent staff

Prioritizing requests from heads of state and people with blue dots.

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Volunteers working with the permanent Forum staff

A high-intensity week away from your boy/girlfriend. What happens in Davos, stays in Davos.


Technicians who work behind the scenes

Standing on a roof for hours in freezing temperatures, pointing a video camera at men in suits who do a five-minute interview and then go back indoors.


The entourage

I'm friendly enough with a head of state, or Bill Clinton, to get a Davos badge without even being invited.

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I can't even get past security, but I'm allowed into the hotels to serve my master.


How do we measure whether Americans are better off than in the past?

Depending on how you measure economic improvement, it seems the rising tide did lift all boats. But it may be in ways that aren’t sustainable.

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