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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  September 22, 2017 4:30am-5:00am BST

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donald trump has signed an executive order aimed at preventing companies and banks from dealing with pyongyang. the president's decision comes ten days after the united nations announced its own measures. the mexican president has promised to continue the search for survivors of tuesday's earthquake. he said rescuers are still looking for anyone alive in the ruins of ten buildings. over 270 people across central mexico are now known to have died in the quake. the prime minister of dominica says at least 15 people have been killed and 20 others are missing after hurricane maria struck the caribbean island on monday. the storm then hit puerto rico and is now heading northwards towards the turks and caicos islands and the bahamas. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. has the eu got its mojo back?
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after a bleak decade of economic stagnation, internal dysfunction and public discontent, officials in brussels claim the tide has turned, but is there really a renewed appetite for deeper european integration while britain is still fumbling for the exit door? my guest is former italian prime minister, eu commissioner and ardent integrationist mario monti. are reports of the eu's revival somewhat premature? mario monti, welcome to hardtalk. pleasure.
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why is there a new integrationist spirit abroad in the european union? i don't quite understand it. last year i was writing articles and giving speeches on the process of disintegration of the eu. which looked very real as a prospect. which looked very real. the main reason why it looked real last year was, in my view, the cynical behaviour of most heads of governments of member states concerning the eu. they went to brussels to take together decisions supposedly in the interests of the eu, but really each of them was narrowly minded on his or her domestic affairs. essentially with a selfish perspective.
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i would put it to you that hasn't changed at all, whether it be on migration issues, whether it be on basic economic issues, or of course, let's not forget it, brexit as well. there are all these issues were the dis—integrationist principle still seems to be alive and kicking. i don't completely agree with you because the various heads of governments have become much more prudent in playing with the eu for domestic purposes. you know why? because they have seen the catastrophic outcome of the most cynical of them all on the occasion, prime minister cameron. he played with the eu, certainly not in the general interests of europe, not in the national interest of the uk, which would have been very noble, not in the general interest of the conservative party. hang on.
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first of all it hasn't happened yet, second of all the british economy is doing 0k. the catastrophic outcome for mr cameron himself. that's certainly true. but in terms of the lessons learned by the decision of the british people to vote to leave the european union, but other indicators we've seen, not least in opinion polls across europe, of deep disconsent of many european peoples with the european union and its institutions, i just wonder why you and more particularly i suppose jean—claude juncker, the president of the european commission, are talking about launching a new wave of deeper institutional integration. it seems you haven't learned the lessons of the last ten years. well, of course the president of the commission, jean—claude juncker, insists very much on institutional integration. to remind people, he wants a finance minister, he wants pan—eu taxes, he wants a defence union, all of this much deeper
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federalising institutional rearrangement. can i correct you when you say the public opinion across europe has turned and the eu because of brexit. on the contrary. in all member states except italy i'm afraid, the public opinion on europe has improved after the 23rd ofjune last year, also because people have seen for the first time that once the temptation to go alone prevails, then it is terribly difficult. we have seen a whole political apparatus in the uk fading away. a disconnect between the public administration and the politicians. we, i, we in continental europe, have always been great admirers of the anglo—saxon system in the uk, in the us, as the kingdom of rationality, pragmatism, ability to found decisions on good analysis. for some reason, in both places, in a matter of a few months, this wonderful situation, which i hope will come back soon for both of them, and also
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in the interests of europe, has passively vanished. let's not get stuck on brexit, let's look at whatjuncker said in that state of the union speech at the european parliament, he talked about extending the eurozone right across the member states so there couldn't be members in and members out. he said we've got to spread the currency further, tax harmonisation, a real eu president.
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he came up with all these different reforms and, to quote the dutch prime minister, who, is part of a country who is committed to the european union, mark rutte said, "mrjuncker is a romantic but i am more of a when you have visions go and see a doctor kind of guy." what a damning a indictment ofjuncker and what some are calling his fairytales. mr rutte, who is a tremendous prime minister, isn't perhaps the bestjudge. he himself campaigned for the european union and in march he was able to contain what was expected to be a much larger electoral success... that is precisely my point, he's not a traditional eurosceptic but he's a man who listens to people like jean—claude juncker, and i have to say yourself too, the insistent and consistent integrationist confederalists and say, that's not what the european people want any more. we will see in the various elections. after brexit i and many
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others were fearing a round of similar results. this has not been the case. we have seen the dutch case, we have seen france. it's amazing what macron has done, jumping against all the positions of marine le pen. by the way, i'm not jean—claude juncker, i'm a modest private citizen right now. i do not want more institutional and deeper integration in all aspects of eu life. but in certain aspects. i give you one example.
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i was competition commissioner in the early 2000s. a major reform we put in place in 2004 was the decentralisation of eu competition policy. it's now done no longer out of a high cathedral in brussels, the european commission, but through a network which comprises all the national competition authorities and it works marvellously well. in other areas, though, like the policy on refugees, the policy on migration, the fight against climate change, and some aspects of tax harmonisation, you speak of tax harmonisation... yes, not me, jean—claude juncker does. let me quote to you, because it's a rather neat quote, der spiegel, a respected german news organisation, they editorialised saying, "have we not learned from the lesson of greece? there is no convergence of europe, economic reform and efficiencies haven't closed the productivity gap between north and south and the euro precludes the weakest southern economies devaluing to gain competitiveness. "
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there is still this fundamental lack of convergence inside the european union that all this talk of new fiscal integration ignores. why are the greeks, in spite of many problems, which by the way largely generated through decades of bad government in greece, not by the euro. the euro was the litmus test of all the misconduct in their economy, the greeks have in their public opinion a high favour for europe. you aren't really addressing my point. you said yourself in a recent statement, you said year after year the eu countries of north and south mistrust each other more and more. yes, absolutely. i do not see the eu as a paradise, you may believe i do, i don't, i don't.
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i've been working a long time from within the eu, from within italy, to make things better. but the mistrust is there and it's a fundamental problem, and in my view, to overcome this mistrust, it's not so much the institutional reforms that we need, but it is some concrete policy change. for example, the germans should become slightly more open and accept a wider and better treatment for public investments under the fiscal rules throughout europe. and, on the other hand, the southern countries, like italy, should stop asking always for greater and greater flexibility in sort of circumventing the rules. it's interesting you talk about the germans. of course we're speaking on the eve
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of a german election where mrs merkel is widely expected to get re—elected. there is talk of the revival of the franco—german motor driving europe forward, but if you look specifically at what macron and merkel have said about their vision of the next phase of european reform, they're not actually quite on the same page, are they? do you see the french and the germans acting in lockstep or do you see the differences between them? the differences are considerable. but i must say i have seen, because i was there with them at the same table, i've seen two franco—german couples at work. the sarkozy—merkel and hollande—merkel couples. of the three, i think macron is the one who is, number one, willing to risk more in terms of domestic reforms and budgetary consolidation, which is good for france and good to open up germany.
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and secondly, he has a vision for europe which does not coincide 100% with that of merkel. that's the point. the french it seems have huge ambition for a much more integrated tax and spend policy across the european union, with a very powerful treasury and finance minister based in brussels. the germans are still deeply suspicious of that because they fear that means the highly successful german taxpayer will be on the hook for the irresponsible behaviours of countries such as yours, italy, and of course greece and many others too. and the germans won't stand for it. and mrs merkel in the end is the key player and power in the european union. no question about this. of course, now you are integrating europe much more than you believe because you put greece and italy
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on the same account. italy has been the only country in southern europe to have come out of the eurozone financial crisis five years ago without asking for any support from germany or any other countries. and already in the spring of 2013, italy came out of the so—called excessive deficit procedure because we were below the 3%. i don't want to spend too long on italy but all i'll say is you've still got a lot of dodgy banks and a national debt more than 130% of your national income, you are still in a profound mess in italy and should a few things go wrong in europe over the next year or two, you might not just be in a mess but in a severe financial crisis. so the situation of italy financially, when i was asked to become prime minister in november
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2011, was way above today, in terms of gravity, and we have come out without asking for help from europe or the imf. in a funny sort of way i am less interested in that now well—established fault line between the north of europe and the south and am actually really interested in the fault line between the mainstream of the original european member states and those in the east and the central europe and the east, who are those members, where, you know, we see for example to quote the polish prime minister, he says if measures are now being considered to create the eurozone‘s own political structures, talk of a finance minister, a common budget, investment programmes for the eurozone, this could end up splitting the eu, it could spell the end of the eu, because the polls for one simply won't wear it. because the poles for one
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simply won't wear it. maybe the polish one day will decide to leave the eu. would you like them too? given what you see from eastern europe today, that is a great four and all of their objections to immigration policy and the pan—european approach, are you sick of the east europeans? not at all but have a look at the public opinion polls. some of these governments, like in poland and hungary, are certainly as governments really bad partners of the eu, they depart from the common values but look at their public opinion polls. they are among thewarmest... they are actually very popular. the opinion polls on the european union. oh, no, never mind that, i'm more interested in the real polls with the elections.
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with a sceptical negative approach to what the eu does, when it comes to an assessment on whether integrationist ambitions of people like commission chief jean—claude junker are realistic, the east have the ability to block reform and it looks as though they will, see it again we are looking at a dysfunctional eu. it is precisely, if the eu is not to be an overarching empire suppressing national will, there will be always member states which will be able, if they want, to block certain decisions because it's not a dictatorship. this is all the beauty and the difficulty of constructing a european union. if you want my view, it will never be the united states of europe. i don't want it to be.
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will it be a multispeed europe? it is already. i mean, it has got several speeds but it could go to all sorts of different levels, on all sorts of different issues, without freedom of movement or the schengen zone or fiscal consolidation. to a larger sense it is already. you could have four different sorts of grouping that platforms and what a confusing mess it would be. with all respect, i hope it will be able to call this country with all respect, i hope we will be able to call this country in the future forever and ever the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland. but i see here, also, very vigorous signals fragmentation and off profound differences of opinion as to the identity, as to be idea of what the uk should be relative to europe.
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so this is a much wider problem which does not simply concern the european union. look, president trump, when he was elected, he almost explicitly set out to destroy european integration. do you think? do you think it was a motive for this? he actually said so and he invited nigel farage and his advisers, said one predecessor of ours, president reagan, was able to disintegrate and that is true the soviet union with the help of europe but he was very successful in this disintegration and now perhaps is the turn of the european union. less than one year after that, well, i'm afraid he is quicker in disintegrating the
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united states of america. believe me, we spend plenty of time what is happening in the us. we've already alluded to the impact of brexit and we cannot end the interview without going into a little more detail. you are, if i may say so, very connected in european capitals and you speak to a lot of the current leaderships. theresa may appears to believe that she can offer a certain amount of money, and it now seems it is around 20 billion euros, to tell europe that will mean that your eu budget through the 2020 will be fine, we will give you this money as we leave, in 2019, and that the result will you please give us preferential access to the single market, customs union and make sure we have a smooth transition. will that work? no. it's not going to work. we will see what the prime minister says in florence but there is a bit of a misconception that,
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at least in terms of public opinion in the uk, but the sum to be put up is a fine for having decided to divorce. it's a penalty. if the punishment. nothing at all. by the way, i think that the eu will be considerably worse without the uk. not only because it will be smaller, because there will be some gap in the budget, but if you want my view, largely because a voice which has always been the strongest and the loudest in terms of proposing opening gaps, globalisation, market and competitions, it will no longer be there. it will be a loss also to the eu so far from happy of course this departure
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but the sum is not, it simply the mechanical consequence of the uk complying with the obligations that, like other member states, it is taken for the future. it has taken for the future. what you see and what you hear, that lead you to suggest there will be what we in britain are calling the hard brexit? that is britain walks away in march 2019 with no deal negotiated and with, in essence, britain just playing by world trade organization rules when it comes to trading with the european union? no special deals or access at all? will that happen? it can happen. it can happen and it is urgent to avoid that happening. and i think it will again, be bad for the eu and the uk. i think if the uk wants to be part of the single market, benefiting from it, et cetera, which understand is a paradox — the single market in europe
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is a british conservative creation. it was margaret thatcher. but isn't the truth today from the european union that the leaderships in all different member state believe they cannot and will not give britain a good deal because they feel a good deal will send a signal to other european citizens that actually, do you know what? it's ok to exit because you can still have a strong economy and the good life without the obligations and duties that come with being an eu member. well, if the notion of a good deal from the uk side is that one, it cannot be a good deal. already, the deal that was achieved by mr cameron in february last year a few months before the referendum, on the basis of which he went to the referendum, in my view,
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was an excessive conception. to the referendum, in my view, was an excessive concession. would there be a negotiated settlement do you believe to make sure that brexit is a smooth transition, or not? if commonsense prevails, there will be. i see that we are not yet there at commonsense and if you allow me, as always a great admirer of the uk and its positive influence on europe, i believe that the distance between the current positions and commonsense is greater this side of the channel than in brussels. we have to end there. mario monti, thank you very much for being on hardtalk. hello. no sooner do we get rid of one weather front from the uk, there is another coming in from the atlantic in the day ahead.
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a day that starts chilly, especially in rural spots. freezing as the day begins. fog patches, especially in eastern and south—east england. here is the next weather system. rain in northern ireland. it is slowly taking that rain further east during the day. breezy and wet in northern ireland, some outbreaks of rain edging into the west of scotland. the bulk of the uk is dry. chilly to begin the day, but for many of us, plenty of sunshine. remember, some mist and fog around. east anglia, south—eastern england are most prone to that before it clears away. it should not take long. along with the rain in the west, the wind picks up. especially in the coast and hills. moving away from northern ireland, the rain goes into scotland and wales. more light and patchy as it does so. leaving parts of eastern england and the south—east dry.
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perhaps some sunny spells. temperatures, 19. with the wind and rain, it will feel quite cool. as we go on through friday night, this weather system stalls. there is cloud and drizzle affecting parts of england and wales. that is the start of saturday. much more mild on saturday morning. the big picture for the weekend. an area of low pressure to the west of us. there will be a weather front approaching from the west. the wind is picking up on saturday. increasingly windy in the west. a gale developing later on saturday. this area of cloud and patchy rain covering england and wales going north during the day. all of scotland apart from the north keeping sunshine. southern england breaking into sunshine during the day. perhaps some sunny spells in northern ireland. a bit of warmth. this weather system coming in from the atlantic, some uncertainty about how far east
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it will go during sunday. some sunny spells either side of it. easing winds. we will keep you updated on that. we are following hurricane maria, which on sunday should just miss the turks and caicos islands. it looks like it will eventually push north further away from the bahamas. this is bbc news. i'm james menendez. our top stories: breaking the brexit deadlock. the british prime minister heads to florence to set out her proposals for leaving the european union. the war of words between the united states and north korea intensifies. kim jong—un describes president trump as "mentally deranged" after his anti—pyongyang speech at the un. an "utter mess." how teachers and pupils are describing the turkish education system after the government imposes controversial, non—secular lessons for the new school term. and i'm rachel horne.
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back from the cliff edge. britain will push for a brexit transition period that would keep it in the single market for two years. but can it break the stalemate over money? plus, clouds gather over the us solar industry as a trade dispute with china heats up.
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