tv Inside Story 2019 Ep 141 Al Jazeera May 21, 2019 8:32pm-9:00pm +03
to run for vice president in october question is accused of receiving kickbacks from public construction projects during their presidency she denies the charges. protest leaders in sudan are calling on their supporters to prepare for a general strike demonstrators say they'll remain on the streets of the capital until look silly in their governments and stalled talks to discuss just that are due to continue later on tuesday and judges in france are force doctors to resume life support for a car crash victim at the center of a debate over end of life decision making. suffered severe brain damage 11 years ago our lives in his arms and legs the 42 year old's been life support ever since well those were the headlines these continues here on al-jazeera after inside story stage and thanks for watching other.
with europe's populists finally make a breakthrough mainstream politicians face a challenge from the far right as 400000000 europeans vote in this week's e.u. parliament elections how will voting shape the future of the continent this is inside story. hello and welcome to this special edition of inside story from london i'm barbara sara the world's 2nd largest democratic election starts on thursday voters and 28 countries will choose 751 members of the e.u. parliament immigration and the economy are dominating the political agenda and the
rise of the far right is dominating the headlines mainstream politicians are calling for a united europe urging voters to reject rightwing and populists candidates meanwhile far right leaders from nearly a dozen countries including france germany and the netherlands where initially on saturday in a show of unity the rally in milan was led by italy's deputy prime minister met their son vini who wants to form a powerful far right bloc within the e.u. parliament some analysts are saying the future of the european union is at stake we'll talk to our guests in just a moment 1st though this report from osama bin in the land. but it is deputy prime minister and interior minister is hoping to upset the status school during this european nick. he plans to do it with the help of euro skeptics and immigrant nationalists still are pulling crowds in ailing economies will be out more. i need to do everything that is right to free this country this continent
from the illegal occupation organized by brussels. instead of traditional billboards and t.v. ads social media has been instrumental in getting the league's message across and making inroads into traditional left leaning cities such as milan and it found an audience in the richer parts of northern italy where some relate to slogans such as why should we pay for others who don't contribute as much. and xander morelli has been bit salvini since the beginning he built a divided e.u. balls. into france decided to start a military operation against libya which caused very serious damage not only in italy but also in europe and europe today is totally divided in only exist for the interests of france and germany. many italians disagree with the populists and they have been protesting with thousands of homemade banners. the movement grew up to the government forcibly removed slogans from a balcony by using fire fighters the opponents this was one more manifestation of
authoritarianism and fascism which they say is being peddled by the elite party. that. is beginning to make. this election has become more interesting than previous ones besides u.k.'s brags of fame there's also a surge of populists across europe among them its least let yourself be populist policies about immigration an economy that's found in allies from germany to hungary and this new alliance wants to overhaul the european union elizondo wrote a book about the rise of salvini 2015 he fears that a strong right wing alliance in the long run could mean the end of the european dream. of any fair. politics have been too far from people and too close to finance europe was not able to give real answers as it put too many limits
on everything and there are many parts of the european population who felt the burden of the european union without feeling the advantages of. the european parliament consists of 751 amy pease representing more than 500000000 people from 28 countries the big question is how many of them will give their backing to the new alliance of far right european leaders. let's now introduce our guests they are finance expert that the most senior lecturer in european politics at the university of surrey and men and director of the u.k. in a changing europe initiative and a former special advisor to the house of lords e.u. committee and joining us from milan stefan of edge in an italian journalist who focuses on economics and foreign affairs and is also co-author of the black book of the leg gentlemen welcome all of you to inside story the finest expects of us if i
can start with you were just seeing this report about that rally in milan led by matt hale vini how likely do you think it is that a lot of these far right stroke populous parties across europe will be able to form a functioning coalition a functioning bloc within the european parliament this is the most important question because this is the 1st time that we've seen these parties cooperating together usually they don't like each other they don't like to be associated with each other right wing nationalism has different sade's and for a lot of these parties across europe they have tried over time to create a more mainstream image about themselves to be able to attract more. mainstream voters rather than the extremes so they have traditionally they traditionally didn't like to to cooperate with each other but this time i think they're trying to to put together something that's more transnational in order to be able to tackle the issue of europe all of them have and the european feelings and sentiments and public discourse is so that helps them but at the end of the day how much they will
be able to sustain this kind of alliance going forward inside the european parliament will remain to be seen i don't mean on the what do you think using there's more they unites them than divides them. there are things that unite them they have common attitudes towards in particular the centrist political elites of in across europe now you're getting this rhetoric about mainstream politics being broken but of course. the fundamental paradox of these policies is that nationalist parties struggle to work transnationally it's almost inherent in their d.n.a. that you know they will fight and if you take an issue like for instance immigration on the one hand yes they want lower immigration on the other hand they fight amongst themselves because the rights in italy one of the bases of the countries in the european union and taking enough of these people that come to europe and of course that's something they squabble amongst themselves about stefan of energy joining us from milan where of course that meeting to play it took place led by matteo so the any who is not only the head of the lego but obviously that if
you prime minister in initially and it does look like his party will have the majority i mean how was he selling it this this union of far right parties. well. this is saying that these elections are very important for labor and for the european union and he's trying to gather together all the european far right parties. in order to change the european union that's what he's what he usually says i agree with mr mannion when he comes to to to propose how to change it. the party is these these far right parties are very diverse. among each other for example legal. self he's trying to to to push public spending in italy so the public will willing crees and last year they drafted
a bill always which was expansionary. and later was criticised by a 50 which is its german ally now the european elections. and of course back to the studio so not their finest exit that to go to you i mean the timing wasn't great for much else of being in that meeting because on that very day we saw the eventual resignation of the vice chancellor in australia was a member of a far right party part of a coalition because of this video it's thing that released that was shown effectively showing an offering government contracts to a supposedly russian oligarch nice how that obviously damaging potentially maybe in austria but beyond that do you think people across europe will look at that and think actually we can't trust these far right parties when they get into government well they there have been equivalent reports for other parties around europe
classic example is the golden dawn its members have been accused of murder they're participating in gangs prosecuting immigrants and so on on the streets they have gone to jail and still. it remains so we have to consider how much of an effect a leader has in driving support for the party and how much the ideology of the party has infiltrated certain segments of the voters in order to convince them to stay on despite all these allegations so we need to to to to to see how how damaging it will be for the f.b.i. in austria but i don't think it will be that damaging for all the parties across europe and men and do you agree with that do you think that stuff like that actually has an impact on voters in other countries has an impact but on the particular issue of links with russia and with what amir putin it depends on the country because of course in italy it's very mainstream berlusconi was a great friend of putin a didn't harm him in france you saw the scandal over the
foreigners you know with bank loans from russians and again that didn't seem to resonate so on the one hand the opponents of these policies say they're dangerous that teaming up with our enemy but it doesn't seem to get that much residents among the public opinion and certainly not among supporters of these policies it doesn't seem to make much sense to cut for the stefano that leads me to you because of course one of the issues in your book the black book of the legacy was very much about potential financial links between russia and the leg 1st of all explain to us what you said in your book and also what reaction there was to it initially when it was published which was only a few months ago. you know well we revealed in the book that there was a negotiation on going at least from july 2018 until october 2018 to fund with the russian money when i say russian money the negotiation that we have evidence of was between an oil state owned oil
owned company by a by the russian state or us and you have to and the toddy and state oil company would use any and i. so we witnessed a meeting of the métropole tale in moscow one of tobar 802800 where there was a soviet news representative whose name is john lucas several unique. and something to me juries from from the russian from from from russia people that are deemed to be strictly living with with putin as inner circle so basically they were talking about selling rosneft selling 3000000 tons of diesel to any via an intermediary bank from the european union. on these these amount of diesel they were discussing about having a 4 percent discount but in the end it was not any benefiting from the discount but
legal this is what the people were saying and one of sylvania representative for russia was was there we didn't get any reply from them. and there wasn't much coverage of the issue in italy and since the publication of the book i mean really have seen the leg a surge in the opinion polls that we think you know they could almost double what they had in the previous elections at these elections in italy specifically what do you think is behind the leg a success and then i'll ask all of our guests you know why they think populism is surging but starting with you stephanie. well it's mainly the migrant issue that is very something. very very big for for italians at the moment. because of the flow of migrants that arrived in italy over the last 2 years and this is this is what so the need is always stressing so he's always focusing you
speeches on the migrant issue by saying i'm the one who is going to solve it. in fact the number of arrivals have decreased dramatically i would say over the last 2 years. however the percentage of people that. are going missing or are dying on the journey to eataly in the military and see these percentages is an increase i don't mean i'm looking at populism across europe is immigration really the main issue do you think immigration is one of the main issues yes i mean we've got to bear in mind that it's a different immigration issue in different states so if you take britain what distinguishes ours was a very very sort of focused debates on e.u. citizens coming to the united kingdom brought to a referendum that's totally different to any other member state where the debate was about people coming from outside europe into europe but of course the other common theme i think is a sort of anti politics this notion that we hear from the brics it party in this
country the mainstream politics is broken and that's one of the reasons why we have populism rising not just on the right but also on the left with radical green and radical left wing movements as well set to do well in these elections in the growing sense i think partly because of immigration partly because of the continuing after effects of the financial crisis and wage stagnation across europe but politics is somehow broken and we need to have something new to fix it so final 6 that the loss of obviously in the eurozone there was also a terrible crisis which for many countries is still ongoing does that go hand in hand with the immigration issue of course is there at the end immigration are are the 2 key drivers especially in the south of europe. the fact that it was too much of german money pillay ssion of the bailouts too much involvement in the mess the politics so there is a sense that the previous political elites who have agreed those bailout agreements who have agreed to us there at the measures have failed what the people really need
and this is one of the classic. this course is that populist parties use a kind of divide between the previous corrupt elites and the pure people and this is the kind of vision that we see being reproduced over and over in political rallies from these parties and i would agree with ron and there that it's coming both from the left and from the right but who latches onto which particular discourse depends on on on where they are situated so in which country so for example in greece the left wing message has been much more popular than the right wing message in italy this has not been the case so the mainstream parties have failed to capitalize on the concerns of the people and present the alternative discourses that that can can can potentially protect liberal democracies from the surge of the far right and focusing on bret's of course it does seem a bit absurd that nearly 3 years after this country voted to leave the e.u.
here we are holding european elections i mean we hear a lot of the topics immigration as you mentioned earlier the economy the u.k. not part of the eurozone but such an enormous inequality that we see is only in here how would you differentiate a perhaps you think they're similar the populist movements that we have seen in europe with the brakes a phenomenon that we've seen here which of course almost predates all of the big surges in europe well 1st the world is this is the only country where those anti european forces have significant support for leaving the european union what you see across populist movements in the rest of the e.u. is this remain unreformed so i project salvini reform from within it. only in this you still want to leave oh absolutely and that's change and change very nicely in france as well a marine le pen changed her message during the presidential campaign because that issue of leaving didn't give her the resonance you want and i think one of the reasons is because briggs has proven so difficult if you're a citizen a friend sort of italy you're watching what's happening in britain and you're thinking if we try to leave not only will we have that but we need to get
a new currency as well the difficulties of leaving have become very very clear i think so in that sense we're slightly different to the other member states because the desire to leave was a lot stronger i think amongst the british people than it is among the people in other member states so stefano very janet what impact do you think of bracks that the bait and the fact that the u.k. as we've been hearing so hasn't really managed to leave what impact has that had on the electorate in italy do they really talk about it does legate for example use it as you know as an example of a country can lead to follow. oh well the short answer is no in the sense that. brought suit from the from the media and from the politicians is deemed to be a separate issue from the european union issue. so the debate here is more about. the migration as it was mentioned before and on the budget and the fact that italy should spend more public money in order to boost
the economy we're as the european union as they see the elites in brussels are more strict and don't want to us to spend money and in our economy to grow this is mainly what. the league and the 5 star movement are saying 7 before we spoke about you know potential of russian links with the leg steve bannon as well transformer chief strategist has made no secret that he wants to support us led the union does that have an impact in a country like italy. well it has an impact. not so much because of benon which is not very known among the people ordinary people in italy but it did have an impact on salvini i think because as we revealed in the book the 1st meeting between salvini and ben and took place on april 2016 in
washington d.c. when when ben and explicitly. suggests that sylvia need to attack pope francis and in fact this is what happened right afterward sylvie any tweeting against the pope for the migrant issue. and. wearing for example a t. shirt during a rally of benedict so the pope francis predecessor. this led to an alliance according to what we what we what we could reveal between ben and part of the u.s. and also with parts of the cardinals that are within devout he can and oppose pope francis and his politics. and that you finally see it here in the studio i mean steve benen has always said you know he wants the end of mainstream politics to change the system just regarding him or really the demise
perhaps of certainly the change of mainstream politics. first you how well i mean is that what we're seeing across europe you think well i think it we're seeing a new version of politics not the end the fall of the as we know it but it is a new version and we have to understand how that operates and populist parties are very good the dream bending themselves capturing the spirit of the times so to speak whereas more mainstream parties are more rigid in their structures in the way that they approach people so i think there needs to be a different tactic that mainstream parties can follow in order to be able to to to counter the surge but it's interesting that you mentioned steve bannon because what effectively that kind of support manages to do is to organize the right wing populist parties better and provide the external support that there's no visibility and so on so there is
a different way of doing things in politics which seems to be a little bit more under the table rather than more transparent and it's interesting because right wing parties have the capacity to mobilize support there's mainstream parties don't have that capacity and it's precisely those active messages that steve bannan used to bring come forward that have an additional effect in the european context and only mention that the rigidity of some parties and how it could be working against them in the conservative party might be a case in point to seeing the various fringes it's just very difficult to contain it in one party is that when we think of changes to mainstream politics perhaps the end of the big umbrella party and more smaller coalition got governance well maybe i think we need to just be a bit cautious here because ultimately in countries like this or in france or in germany you have a populist. but they're not about to take over the government i mean the mainstream party you know the leader of the european peoples party is going to get as many votes as last time but still looks like being the largest party in the european
parliament so it's worth putting in context but yes there is an organizational challenge here in this country partly because the 2 big parties are so intimately divided about brics it that they can barely bring themselves to come up with a position which is very very true of the labor party but also if we look at the new brics it policy that nigel faraj has long launched he's chief executive and leader they have the ability to do and say whatever they want on his whim and that gives them an agility that the longer established parties are finding it very very hard to deal with and just a final question to all of you and then perhaps starting with you what do you think the e.u. has failed in the past few years because obviously we are seeing the surge it's obvious that the institution isn't responding or isn't connecting with the citizens what do you think it's failed well i think one of the things even is always failed to do i don't think this is new is to attract the loyalty and sort of animate its public to come out some votes in large numbers of these elections to announce is always low in european parliament elections and one of the problems of the house is
when it comes to that that connection between itself and its citizens and that still rather weak i would say their funds well i think there are 2 issues there one is the issue of identity so the youth has failed to create a more european identity across all 28 member states and this is the result here that we've seen with drugs the distance that people feel from from europe and the other thing is transnational solidarity the fact that it hasn't been able to find the mechanisms to respond to problems that are happening in different parts of the you with the appropriate means and stephon of edge and very briefly where do you think the us failed. i think only on on coping with the economic crisis that started in 2008 saying this at least on the telly inside the feeling among ordinary people is that the european union was not able to help italy and other countries such as greece oh during the economic crisis and this is also a reason why also within legal there are people saying we should leave the euro
zone and go back to our old currency in order to be able to boost the economy stefan a virginie we're going to have to leave it there stephan a vegetarian and the man on so finest xor that in the us gentlemen thank you so much for having shared your views with us so thanks to all our guests and of course thank you for having joined us you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is at a.j. inside story for now for me barbara sarah and the whole team here bye for now.
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