German leader Angela Merkel said that multilateralism was under threat and said that protectionism is not the answer to the world's problems.
"Frankly speaking, the country I have the honor to represent and where I am chancellor has difficulties. And polarization is something that we see in our country as well, which we haven't had for decades," Merkel said.
She attributed increasing populism and polarization to both the euro zone crisis and migration crisis seen in Europe over the last few years following an influx of refugees, but said Germany would not shrink from the world stage.
"Germany wishes to be a country that lends its contribution in the future to solve the problems of the world together, we think that shutting ourselves off and isolating ourselves will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the proper answer," she said.
Merkel is just the latest leader at Davos to criticize a protectionist and isolationist stance towards the world's problems. Such comments appear to be directed towards President Donald Trump who has adopted an "America First" stance in his foreign and economic policies.
In contrast, Merkel said the answer to the world's problems was to see multilateral solutions instead of a "unilateral, protectionist course" of action.
At the start of her address, Merkel referenced both world wars in the 20th century, saying that the "political actors involved had almost sleepwalked into a horrendous situation." She said there was a danger that the world had not learned the lessons from history.
She said the foundation of the United Nations (UN) was a multilateral and cooperative solution that was borne out of World War II, adding that a multilateral response helped to resolve the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.