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tv   European Journal  PBS  September 23, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm PDT

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>> hello and a very warm welcome to "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. it is very good to have you wh us. here is what is coming up -- exploited. white fruit pickers in finland have it hard. correct. how slovenia is being hit by the crisis.
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and over fish. why inspectors are patrolling the baltic sea. more than 200 million children worldwide cannot go to school because they have to work. reports like this by the international labor organization always cause a massive outcry here in europe. we are appalled when we hear that our everyday goods are made by children or by adults working under conditions not seen in europe for generations, or at least we assume those conditions no longer exists in europe. as our report from finland shows, not every worker here has their rights guaranteed. >> these cuts in the east of finland are just as basic as the ones they left behind in thailand. it is 4:00 in the morning. the cramped sleeping quarters are shared by five people. they wear orange jackets for safety. >> they help us to find each other in the forest.
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>> but they do not have much protection from mosquitos or from the cold. it is hard work. they have only been here for two weeks, and they are already feeling the strain. it is a great smile, but cold weather and homesickness are bringing him down. >> thinking about my family is the only thing that gets me out of bed. >> like many others, the thai farmers came to northern europe in the hope of earning good money by picking berries despite the risks. >> i need the money to pay my debts and to get by. i am saving for my children's education. >> their daily earnings are unpredictable. they often have to drive for hours to find an area with lots
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of barry's -- barry's bob -- berries. it wastes precious working time. the men have to pick thousands of kilos of berries to make a profit, and their lives begin to take very quickly. >> to avoid back pain, you should bend down while keeping your torso straight and without swinging too much. >> if held problems arise or it has been a bad year for berry picking, workers could be left without a cent or even find themselves with more debt. they sell the berries for 1.5
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euros per kilo. no finn would work for such a low ridge. it is a lucrative business for the operators. they are normally camera shy, but this businessman and his go- between make an exception to talk to us. he makes good money from the 400 berry pickers he employs. he has no social security costs. all he has to do is locate the berries. his conscience is clean. >> we make sure to tell applicants that you do not always come back with bags of money. it is also possible you will come back with a mountain of debt. that is that a big risk for a destitute tie -- thai? >> of course it is. they invest nearly 2000 years. that is a lot for someone who
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does not earn that amount in the year. luckily, we can limit the risk by taking people to lots of places where lots of areas grow. >> we travel on to helsinki where this activist bytes for the rights of high low wage laborers in europe -- tie -- thai low-wage workers in europe. her secret tapes show the desperation. >> i do not know what to do. just have to endure the pain. my feet are terribly blistered. sometimes our toenails falloff. it is painful, especially when it is cold. >> at home, we eat and sleep well. in finland, we are sleepless. we only fear of not being able to pay our debts. >> they prepare here to go back home with money. they say they do not even have money to get home from bangkok
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airport to their village. they sell the image of a highly protected country like finland or sweden. that has helped to soften the image, but it does not cover of the real situation that this is not ethical, that this is unacceptable. >> the government tolerates this practice. under the law, they are considered small business owners responsible for themselves. the foreign ministry recognizes that there is are an important product for the economy -- someone has to harvest them -- berries are an important product for the economy. someone has to harvest them, so criticism is largely ignored. >> it is not fair.
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even if it is a lot of money where they come from. it is exploitation. the prices need to increase so the fans are willing to do the work. >> after 14 hours of labor, the workday ends for the very vigorous. their manager regularly inspects the camp. he depends on his workers to meet growing demand. his sales are increasing by 10% to 20% every year. the moment of truth comes with the way-in -- the weigh-in. some people will earn 105 years today. some will earn only 50. he receives a 80 euros and he says he is happy with the earnings despite the regular brakes and the fact that workers have to issue out 40 euros a day for food -- for room and
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board. >> everyone loses weight here. especially the women. i lost 10 kilos last year. >> they are exhausted. they have to rinse the dishes under the toes. there's not enough warm water for everyone to shower. but those who have no rights cannot complain. >> it seems the euro is safe for now and market pressure has been lifted. if worse comes to worst, the ecb will help out, but europe's structural problems still exist, and they are more visible than ever. slovenia's reputation has suffered a lot lately. it is the typical case of the role model turned problem child. in 2004, all was well when slovenia joined the eu and quickly fulfilled the criteria for introducing the bureau. what followed was a flourishing
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economy and euphoria in the small country, but then the financial crisis struck. one thing bame cle -- slovenia is standing on very shaky ground indeed. >> it is a picturesque city on the slovenian coast, just a hop, skip, and a jump from italy. for years, the city's venetian john drew tourists in droves. business was good in the small gallery until the economic crisis hit home. now customers are few and far between. tourists are scarce, even though it is high season. he is sort as a marketing manager in the textile sector and says the causes of the crisis are clear.
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>> for a long time, the banks had money. however, instead of pumping it into new technologies or investments in the future, they invested in the boomi real- estate market, and they bought shares in companies that were anything but innovative. slovenia's biggest problem is its banks. for years, they invested heavily in major building projects, but the boom has gone bust. the country's two biggest construction companies are bankrupt, and the third largest filed for bankruptcy protection in august. in the slovenian capital, numerous major building sites lie abandoned. for this truck driver, it is a huge disaster.
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recently, the company only paid him the minimum wage -- 537 euros a month, but even that did not help to save the firm. now, he is over 50 and out of work. >> it is so sad, but what can we do? we will see what happens. i have already lost my job. my wife goes to work for the last day tomorrow. and it is off to the employment office. what more can i say? >> hundreds of his colleagues have also lost their jobs, and their prospects look bleak. slovenia's jobless rate is rising fast in a land in which unemployment was virtually unheard of. >> it is unbelievable. i might as well had for social
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services. what can i do at the employment office? who will give us a job when one company after another is closing its doors? where should we go? >> slovenia's other major problem is corruption. construction firms could count on receiving contracts at home and inflated their prices accordingly. as a result, it costs two or three times as much to build a kilometer of highway in slovenia as it does in germany, but the state footed the bill. in a relatively small country like slovenia, having good connections paid off. >> corruption was a big part of the problem and one of the big reasons why the whole system failed, but again, this was not general corruption with blue envelopes changing hands. it was systemic corruption with conflict of interest with the political intermingling with the business, etc.. >> for a long time, the buildin
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boom subsidize the inflated costs. everything was fine as long as banks cut loaning money for new construction projects, but in the economic crisis hit europe. within two years, slovenia's construction industry collapsed. and it is dragging down the banks with it, including slovenia's largest bank, which had to ask for a government bailout. >> just plain missed location of ordinary loans. the slovenian corporate sector has capital to depend on banks' financing their investments and operating capital. >> than there is slovenia's cumbersome bureaucracy and its political class, which has dragged its heels on making necessary reforms. this prominent journalist has little faith in the ability of
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politicians to turn things around. >> they are all the same politician. they know each other from 10 years ago, and i'm not sure that they will change now, be able to talk things through and make a consensus which is necessary now for all the changes to happen. >> many slovenes have lost confidence and no wonder -- the country's conservative government is urgently seeking support for a reform package to boost the economy. the same reforms they derailed when they help bring down the previous center-left coalition a year ago. the politicians seem more interested in power than policy. >> if things keep going like this, we will end up like greece. >> thank goodness we have the eu and nato to give us stability. if they break up, then i will really worry. then i would leave slovenia. >> marco who would never go that
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far. he believes sooner or later, slovenia will find its way out of this mess. >> times will get better again, but it will not happen overnight. it will take awhile. >> in this case, help really must begin at home. >> poland has not been hit by the crisis to the same extent as slovenia. it has a different problem -- the eu is cutting subsidies for coal mining. unprofitable mines will have to close by 2018. more than half of all coal in the eu is produced in poland, but now, the pits are closing, and there are few other jobs. many people are not just jobless -- they are also losing their homes. the polish state is obliged to offer peopl in the public housing, but that is in short supply in some places, so the number of temporary homes is increasing.
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>> he sits on his stoop and whittle's. the girl from next-door keep some company. for a moment, they can forget where they live. but this is home. a cluster of containers on the outskirts of the village in southern poland. all the residents were evicted from their previous homes. he used to be a bus driver, but he drank too much and his wife left him. >> no, it is not much. i would rather have a real apartment, but at least i have a roof over my head. >> he has all the basics except space. a maximum of 20 square meters for two people. he has tried to make it comfortable, but it is hot in summer, cold in winter and damp when it rains. >> it is a tragedy. just horrible.
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one day, a doctor came, and when he saw the cat, he said, "the cat smells of mildew." >> but he is very attached to his cat. he worked in mind until his body were out and he had to stop. he says life is not fair. the company, his clothes, everything is moldy in the damp, cold container. in winter, it can drop to minus 10 degrees. rent is low, but electricity bills are huge. rodents had chewed through the garment bags. >> the worst part is the public embarrassment. it is clear to anyone getting off at this tram stop that the residents had hit rock bottom. that is something this woman just cannot accept. she sits slumped on her chair, does not want to show us her face.
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she was a teacher until her husband drove them into debt and bankruptcy. living here, she says, is humiliating. >> i find it degrading. people point at us in public. we are the dregs of society. they say we live in a ghetto, and they shunned us. this is a place you can never get away from. >> it is an industrial city, but as the mines closed, many people slipped into poverty. when the city ran out of housing for people evicted from their homes, and he resorted to the containers, and the contain a settlement is certain to get larger. another 500 people face eviction. the city's housing official knows the containers are not an ideal solution. >> yes, being sent to the container settlement could certainly be seen as a stigma. even the street address is tainted. >> the deputy mayor, on the
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other hand, sees a deterrent effect. >> the containers scare people into action. some of them suddenly fd money for the event soheyo not have to move. >> if we were compassionate, i do not think we could do this job. >> but she cannot afford compassion. every so often, she visits the containers to check on conditions. it is not the task she enjoys. but mary and is happy to see her. he tells her he is grateful to have a roof over his head. >> you take us in. it did not do that, we would have to go hang ourselves. i do not know what we would do without you. we are so grateful. >> we do what we can. >> without you, it would be a disaster. >> i am glad you think so. >> but she is not sure he means
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it. some of the containers look rundown. others show that the occupants are still trying to make the most of this situation. at one end, some of the residents have built a little garden. this woman says she has been living here for two years. >> i would love to move out. and into a real apartment. >> but you know you cannot do that until you get a divorce. >> she cannot afford a divorce, either. she sees no way out. it is a settlement in which all residents feel marginalized and yet find no sense of community. one man who live here had alzheimer's disease. he died last fall but no one noticed until spring. it is a metaphor for the settlement. people come here, disappear, and society does not even notice. >> europe's waters are over
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fished. a sad truth that the eu is determined to change. strict fishing quotas are in place and are in force. germany, for instance, has had its quota/for the year. but there is some good news. for years, car was categorized as hopelessly overfish, and now, stocks are growing. >> for the german coast guard, it is often a game of cat and mouse on the baltic. >> yes, good day. i have a question -- what is the time for them to take up the nets? >> harold schmidt wants to inspect the polish fishing boat's catch, but language is a barrier. >> ok, about 8:00. >> he hopes to go board at 8:00 in the morning, but it does not work out. >> we cannot.
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we have called it off because he has made it into danish waters. >> but his next target is already in sight, and this one will not get away. the fisheries inspectors do two or three inspections a day, day after day, months at a time. they want to check that the mesh of the fishing nets is not to find that the fisherman are correctly recording what they catch. this time, it is a german boat. the boat's crew may not call in the net until the entire inspecting crew is on board. the boat is fishing for european flounder, but we can see quite a few cod, as well. many of the flour -- many of the
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flounder are obviously not full grown. we pull out one of the smaller ones. isn't that fish much too small? >> yes, but it is legal. look -- 23 centimeters. >> looks like a baby fish to me. >> yes, but look -- these are the minimum legal sizes. see? for us, that means it is legal. >> schmidt also measures the net's mesh and finds the holes are larger than the legal minimum, but even so, the catch includes too many small fish. the fishermen so if the catch on board. small fish are not profitable, but if they were kept, they would count to the boat's quarter, so the crew tosses them
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overboard. >> what can i say? it is bad for my blood pressure, all the rules and regulations. they treat us like hardened criminals. the bureaucrats have never seen a fishing boat in their life. >> is it even possible to minimize the catch, or is that just sometimes dream cooked up by bureaucrats in brussels? our next target -- a danish trawler. schmidt went up the red and black balls on the net. they keep it from dragging along the sea floor. >> you do not have many baby fish. these are really big fish. >> yes, those are nice, big fish. we found a spot that has some really nice cause. >> the inspectors also liked what they see on the danish trawler.
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evidently it is possible to fish without substantial by catch him. >> we see this all the time. when this guy is out here along with other fishing boats, he almost always has a better catch than the others. >> the next trawler. we get the impression that this one is not as careful. >> this time, it is small cod, say, about 10%. 8% at the most. >> baby talk's -- baby cod, ways that is in touch, never to grow up or reproduce the stock. instead, the sea gulls cry. the eu wants to ban the dumping it at sea by 2013, but by then,
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schmidt will have retired. >> that report brings us to the end of this edition of "european journal." thanks very much for watching. until next week, bye for now. captioned by the national captioning institute
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