01/29/2012 08:47 EST | Updated 03/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Euro crisis dominates Davos forum, but growing gap between haves and have-nots also an issue

DAVOS, Switzerland - Europe's crippling debt crisis dominated the world's foremost gathering of business and political leaders, but for the first time the consequences of growing inequalities between the planet's haves and have-nots also became an issue.

The attention to inequality was in part sparked by the Arab Spring and protests around the globe that spotlighted poverty and unemployment.

Despite some guarded optimism about Europe's latest attempts to stem the eurozone crisis, fears remain that turmoil could return and spill over to the rest of the world, and there were no answers to the widening inequality gap.

The mood at the five-day meeting of the World Economic Forum that ended Sunday was sombre, and more than 2,500 VIPs headed home concerned about what lies ahead in 2012.