Davos 2015: French President Francois Hollande calls on business leaders to help fight terrorism

'Don't let a beast roam today when it could attack you tomorrow'

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The Independent Online

French President Francois Hollande has said business leaders have a key role to play in the global fight against terrorism.

Speaking to participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, today, Hollande said companies need to take action against practices which fund and support extremist networks, such as money laundering and trafficking.

His appeal came two weeks after the devastating attacks by Islamist gunmen on French soil that saw 17 people killed in Paris. 12 of the murders took place at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was targeted for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed. 

“Don't let a beast roam today when it could attack you tomorrow,” the French leader told a packed audience of bank chief executives and investors.

Hollande, whose speech received loud applause, urged internet companies to make sure “illegal content” was taken off the web, saying governments could not fight terrorism on their own.

Corporate leaders must fight against the trafficking of people, drugs and goods, and combat tax havens to dry up financial sources for terrorism, he added, while urging EU countries to agree on a European database of air passengers.

 

Hollande also welcomed the European Central Bank's decision to embark on a massive bond-buying plan.

Responding to comments by German policymakers who fear that ECB President Mario Draghi’s decision to launch quantitative easing would take pressure off France to reform, he said the move would only reinforce his government's resolve.

“I consider that this decision by the ECB obliges us to be even bolder in our efforts to lift obstacles to growth and job creation,” he said

Repeating comments that drew sarcasm on Twitter when he first made them last week, Hollande praised the ECB for what he said was “meeting ... its target to fight inflation”.

Inflation in the euro zone stood at -0.2 per cent in December while the ECB has a target for it to be below but close to 2 per cent.

“When there is no inflation, there is more room to inject liquidity into the economy,” he said.

In December, Hollande will also be staging the next round of climate talks in Paris. Speaking at Davos on Friday he called on business leaders for “huge investment” in green technology to fight global warming and poverty.

The scheduled talks are intended to set a legally binding climate pact focused on carbon emissions cuts from 2020.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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