tv Focus on Europe PBS May 21, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
♪ michelle: hello, and welcome to "focus on europe," where we take you behind the headlines to give you insight into the lives of the people that make up this great continent. i'm michelle henery. thank you for joining us. coming up on today's show: gearing up to close the austrian border, getting to grips with drugs in russia, singing your way to success in sweden. there is a picturesque mountain crossing that connects italy and austria called the brenner pass. there cows graze, famers raise crops and the austrians and italians who live in the area, mingle easily.
but this border region, once seen as a symbol of europe's cohesion, could now herald its disintegration. fearing the arrival of thousands of refugees, austria has announced plans to erect a 400 meter high fence as a way to slow down the flow of migrants. forming part of europe's borderless schengen zone, brenner is one of the routes that migrants use as they head towards northern europe. while italy vehemently opposes the plan, there is more and more support for border controls from the austrian side. yet the people who live and work in the region are not happy about it. >> michael kerschbaumer has been up since 3:00 a.m. this morning, he's already been to 90 dairy farms. he uses this hose to pump fresh milk from vats into his truck. michael: this is from last night and this morning. there are big and small vats. the largest holds 2,500 liters.
>> this farmer has produced 320 liters of milk. that's worth almost 140 euos. good business for austrian dairy farmers north of the brenner pass. they're lucky. their organic milk is in high demand just across the border, in italy's south tyrol region. italian creameries are willing to pay good money for their product. michael: the quality of our milk is better because our dairy farms are smaller than the italian ones. >> but this lucrative trade is under threat because austria wants to reinstate border checks on the brenner pass. austrian dairy farmers are worried that will bring traffic jams, long waits, and a border that becomes increasingly impassable. toni: i don't understand why they want to reinstate checks on
the brenner pass. to have any effect, they would have to check all the borders. monitoring only the brenner pass won't make a difference. but it will make it much harder to ferry milk back and forth. that will be tough for us. >> we join michael kerschbaumer on the brenner pass. today, there are no checks and no delays. the border post is still under construction. michael: they're building over there. they might be planning to put a border post there. you can already see the construction site between the lanes. the border checks are supposed to deter asylum-seekers. kerschbaumer supports this. he believes europe is taking in too many refugees. italians, meanwhile, are outraged by the prospect of checks at the brenner pass.
sabina drescher lives in south tyrol. she says free movement has boosted prosperity. and like her father, she believes border controls will only lead to more chaos. sabina: i'm more worried about how the people from further south will be treated. what will happen to people who won't be allowed to apply for asylum? will they set up a refugee camp on the border? what are those people supposed to do? sabina drescher lives near the italian city of bolzano. she attends university in the austrian city of innsbruck. sabina: i'm not used to border controls. i can't imagine suddenly having a fence blocking the brenner pass. her father shows how for decades the german speaking population of south tyrol used to reject the border between italy and austria.
and when italy wanted to toughen border checks -- that sparked violent protests. roman: many fought to abolish the border. and ultimately, it was. if controls are reinstated now in a different context, politically and historically, that will be very strange. >> roman drescher says austria thinks italy just wants to encourage its asylum-seekers to continue their way northward. roman: i suspect austria's announcement that it plans to reinstate border controls at the brenner pass is already putting a lot of pressure on italy. sabina drescher begins her week by taking the train from bolzano to innsbruck via the brenner pass. here at the platform, italian security forces are already in place. italy doesn't want to leave austria in sole control of the border. sabina says it's likely that her
commute to university will be more difficult in future. sabina: if there are more checks i will have to switch trains at the pass. and then i'll get checked again. it would cost me half a day. >> half a day for a train journey that should only take 2 hours, according to the schedule. meanwhile michael kerschbaumer has reached the creamery in sterzing. so far, shuttling milk from austria to italy remains easy enough. but he says border checks will hurt the dairy trade. and they'll do nothing to solve the refugee crisis. michael: you've got to solve the refugee crisis at its root. not in europe. once they're here it's usually too late. when it comes to yogurt, italians and austrians work hand-in-hand. but not when it comes to refugee policies. michael kerschbaumer hopes that won't bring traffic at the brenner pass to a standstill.
michelle: russia has a devastating problem with illegal drugs which claim the lives of more than 5,000 people every month. this is alarming especially when compared to a country like the united states where about 8000 people die in an entire year from drug use. according to experts, russia is the world's number one heroin consumer. this problem can be traced back to the end of the cold war, when opium from afghanistan came flooding in. as fast as the government tackles heroin trafficking, many addicts have switched to cheaper and easier to buy synthetic drugs. >> nicolai has been an addict for ten years. like many russians, the 28-year-old began taking drugs at parties. first amphetamines, then heroin, now the designer drug spice. he orders it via text message. it's easy to get hold of in russia. ten minutes later he's told where he can collect it.
his package has been left in a crack in the wall. these days, it's usually as easy as that. >> before, you'd have to meet someone in person. the deal would take place face-to-face. that was dangerous. you could get caught by the police. it's much easier today. >> dimitri botov is all too familiar with such procurement routes. he was an addict for 11 years. now he works for an organization in yekaterinburg called city without drugs. this video advertises the designer drug spice. the ingredients, which come from china, have flooded the russian market. here you can buy the drug around the clock, the video says. dimitri: this is an online-shop selling drugs -- one of many. they buy in large quantities and leave them in small packets stashed around the city where
they can be collected by customers. shama-shop is the name of this store. spice is cheap compared to heroin or cocaine. and you can buy it with a simple click of a mouse. such illegal business activities take place on what's known as the darknet -- the dark underbelly of the internet. dimitri and his colleague will report the site to the authorities. other anti-drug activists have a more radical approach. they hunt down drug dealers and raid their stores. activist groups like these have now formed in almost every russian city. they say the police are overwhelmed and need their help. they brandmark the dealers and put the videos online to expose them for all to see. back to the city without drugs foundation. everyone present here is a former addict, including andrej kabanov, the boss. heroin use has gone down in
yekaterinburg. but designer drugs are on the rise, and their users are often alarmingly young. dimitri: drug addicts used to be between 22 and 25, now they are often 14 or 15. we even have 9 or even 6 year old kids, taking drugs. >> andrej kabanov was an addict for 11 years. he is proud to have had the strength to kick the habit. addiction is not an incurable disease, he says, but a weakness that you have to overcome. andrei: around the world, medication is used to help people kick their drug habit. but we do it without any tablets -- which is both quicker and easier. >> cold turkey. that's how roman overcame his own 13-year addiction. now he helps other addicts get clean at a farm in the forests of yekaterinburg.
here they have to be entirely self-sufficient. they have to survive, without any outside help. roman takes us along. his job is to ensure that addicts here follow a strict daily routine. everyone has to do their bit. it's a bit like living in a collective. roman: physical work is good for people. rehabilitation shouldn't be easy, but it mustn't be too hard either. >> arseni has made it through the first six months. as a city-dweller he found it difficult at first to be so secluded. he misses his wife and three children. but he's committed to rebuilding his life. arseni: when you get here, you just want to leave. you want to get away as quickly as possible -- by whatever means. then, after a while, when your body starts to cleanse itself, you realize that you haven't
lost everything in life. >> his drug abuse also started at parties in the city of st petersburg. arseni: it started with recreational drugs. then progressed when problems started at home with my first wife. >> roman tells him to get a move on. he wants lunch served on time. but then arseni discovers a secret stash. a new arrival has hidden some eggs. roman: 18 eggs? now i know where all the eggs have got to. were you planning to sell them? >> embarrassed, the teenager brings them out. he wanted to use the money to buy something to smoke. roman goes easy on him -- possibly because we are there. lunch is ready. the ex-addicts have to prepare all the food themselves too. roman makes sure everything is done correctly.
no one is given preferential treatment, as that could cause problems within the group. arseni: we all have different views on things, but what binds us is our addiction. when you first get here, you talk about it a lot and that helps. he is hoping to be able to sell some camera equipment in st. petersburg in six months time. roman is optimistic about arseni's future. he says he's understood now that he needs to change his life. there are cameras in every room. roman leaves nothing to chance. right now he lives a very austere life. but at some point he wants to get back to his old life again. he was once a shoe-maker. he says he knows that cold turkey is viewed as horrendous in the west. but you can only fight drugs by being tough, he says. but nikolai doesn't see any need to stop taking drugs.
so far he has managed to keep his addiction secret from his employer. he has enogh spice for the next few days. drugs have been a part of his life for a long time. nikolai: even when i just consider the last year -- more and more young people are taking drugs. mainly because the stashing system makes it so easy to get hold of them. the chances of getting caught are much lower. russia's big cities offer endless options for stashing drugs, making it ever harder for authorities here to win the battle against drug use. michelle: russia tries to clamp down on drugs with steep fines and jail sentences. other countries try to help addicts with therapy. which do you think it the best way to go? send me a message on facebook, email or twitter. and many of you did just that
when we asked whether comedians should be sued for making crude jokes. cornelius t. white thinks that turkey is too sensitive for wanting to press charges against german satirist jan bohmermann. and kit carson says that apart from slander, libel or explicitly inciting violence, free speech should be unlimited. many european member states are regularly accused of cherry-picking, of insisting on their rights but shying away from their obligations. eu citizens enjoy freedom of movement and the right to work and buy land in other member states. poland was exempt from the latter for 12 years after joining in 2004, but was due to open it property market on may first. instead, it's passed a law making it almost impossible for anyone but poles to buy land there. warsaw was worried that richer western europeans, germans in particular, would swoop in and buy up much of the countryside. but the new law also affects polish farmers who complain it will stifle growth.
>> zbigniew maruszewski values his freedom. to him, freedom includes being able to buy, sell, and lease land as he sees fit. maruszewski says that as an entrepreneur, that's important. but much to his dismay, the new polish government wants to put an end to this. zbigniew: we got through the war, the division of poland, and communism. and now, in this pseudo-democracy, you can't really call it a democracy, we're dependent on a bureaucrat, the director of the agricultural agency, who will be like a god and a sovereign. that's what scares me. the new law only allows people to buy land who've already lived in the local municipality for at least five years. the land has to be located nearby. and the plot can't be larger than 300 hectares.
that's what the polish parliament has decided. their main goal is to keep foreign investors out. >> the law makes it impossible or harder to sell polish land to foreigners. some may find this amusing, or believe it's all just a figment of the imagination. but the threat is very real. >> foreign plows on polish soil? an unbearable prospect for the reigning conservative government. since may 1, eu citizens are allowed to purchase land in poland- something the polish government wants to prevent. but maliszewski from the polish peasants' party believes the law is actually hurting local residents. >> it's become practically impossible for farmers to buy additional land. >> many farmers feel like the land has been nationalized and fear falling property values.
they're outraged that a state agency has assumed control over land purchases. they say it's an overreach on the part of the new government. zbigniew maruszewski has a modestly-sized cattle herd. but there's no way he can expand his operation. for that, he'd need more land. even though maruszewski has been living here for many years, and would actually be permitted to purchase land under the new law, he says it's far too complicated. zbigniew: my grazing land isn't near my home. the new law prohibits me from buying land just across the road because i don't live there. i could buy land 20 kilometers from here because that's where i live. but that's no good. who ever came up with this law has no clue about farming. >> poland's law and justice party swept into power in part
on the strength of support from rural voters. that's part of why many polish farmers are angry. but not all of them are displeased. these two farmers are busy with spring planting and have little time for the intricacies of the new law. but they're happy to keep wealthy competitors out. >> i'm pleased. we haven't been able to expand our farms because land was too expensive. now, prices will fall which is good for us. >> now, the foreigners won't be able to steal our land away from us. it's ours. >> zbiegniew maruszewski believes that's short-sighted. when the value of land drops, the worth of the farm drops with it. and that lowers the farmer's credit rating with the bank. that could create a whole new set of problems. maruszewski worries it will become even harder for his daughters to take over one day.
zbigniew: the future is very uncertain. and profits are declining. the new restrictions sap the motivation of our young people. poland's agriculture has profited from eu subsidies. poland's new law is at odds with the eu -- and could well be putting that success at risk. michelle: picture this: a small-town soccer team that languished for years at the bottom of the league tables and dreamed of making it into the premier division. and then one day the team's president came up with totally different coaching methods and turned their game around. this isn't a fairytale, it's exactly what happened to ostersunds soccer club some 600 kilometers north of stockholm. their manager believes that the key to their success is getting them used to performing outside their comfort zone. it's an approach that gives a whole new meaning to singing when you're winning.
♪ [singing "you'll never walk alone"] >> these men are giving it their all. this song should sound nice -- it has to sound nice. but that's easier said than done. >> i sing myself very, very badly! >> i think: what am i doing? >> my wife tells me very often that i cannot sing. the coach is in good company here. the question is: why do these men have to sing at all? ♪ >> they're really professional football players. and last season their team was promoted to the allsvenskan, the top flight of sweden's professional league. the club's management chalks that down to their unusual
training methods. lasse: a footballer on the pitch is a bit like an actor. you have to do roles, you have to understand the players you are playing with and the players you are playing against. and if you're growing in this, than you will be a better footballer, too. >> for the last five years, cultural activities have been part of every player's training here. it's even written into their contracts, so there's no begging off. the program is supposed to make the footballers more well-rounded individuals. every year they face a new challenge, like painting, acting or singing. last year they even studied ballet. alex: doing the dance and then seeing 500 people stand up and clap for you is sort of like -- it was really powerful, because
it's something that i definitely wouldn't have experienced in my life if i didn't come here. so, yah, it was pretty powerful. >> players should display the same enthusiasm during their cultural activities that they do on the field. they even receive professional singing lessons. >> you know the melody. sing the melody the same all the time. >> sometimes they doubt their abilities. but with their big performance coming up, they can't afford to sing off-key. to be successful in football, club president daniel kindberg firmly believes that, players must think outside the box. he came up with the idea for the cultural program after being asked what swedes fear most. daniel: i of course say: the swedes are most afraid of dying.
no, no, no, you're totally wrong. the swedes are most afraid of going up and talking in front of people and performing. that's what swedes are more afraid of than dying. and from that, things and ideas created in my brain about that. so kindberg came up with a concept that lets players confront their fears on the stage as well as on the pitch. ♪ [singing "heal the world"] ♪ >> once they've done this, being daring on the pitch should be a snap.
>> you're ready to try things you've never done before -- without fearing the risks or consequences. graham: you can't say, just by doing that, you pass the ball better or you shoot better or you dribble better. it's not as simple as that. but i think that, if you think as a better person you become a better footballer, then yes, the answer's yes. >> so far the concept has paid off. ostersunds fk now plays in sweden's top league. but to stay there they've got lots of work to do -- both on stage and on the pitch. michelle: we could all learn something from being out of our comfort zones. that's it for today. thank's for watching. for now, it's goodbye from me and the whole team. see you next time. ♪