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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  January 18, 2019 4:30am-5:00am GMT

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has been involved in a car crash, but was unhurt. it happened near queen elizabeth's sandringham estate. buckingham palace says the queen's husband, who is 97, was driving a land rover, which ended up on its side. mi ng womeninihejtheuehtcle a senior north korean negotiator has arrived in the us as the two sides try to arrange a second summit between kim jong—un and donald trump. south korean reports say kim yong—chol is carrying a letter from the north korean leader to the president. thousands have been demonstrating in the sudanese capital khartoum, demanding the resignation of the president, omar al—bashir. there've been protests for a month. on monday the president insisted they would not lead to a change in government. it's reported that two people, a child and a doctor, have been killed. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk from paris. i'm stephen sackur.
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the political and economic mood here in france has shifted dramatically in just a few months. last summer, president macron was pushing ahead with his reform agenda, crowing that france was back. well, now, he is besieged by critics, forced into a retreat by the yellow vest movement, facing huge challenges inside and outside the european union. today my guest, in an exclusive interview, is the french finance minister, bruno le maire. has the macron moment already passed? right now. britain is in the deepest
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there is no viable solution to the brexit problem. how worried is france by the uncertainty that you see in london? we are worried, of course, and we are waiting for clarification coming from the british government and the british majority, so that we can have a fair brexit. we are all waiting for a fair brexit, which would be both in the interests of the uk, the british people, and the eu, but now it's up to the british government to give us
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all the clarifications that are needed. they cannot give you clarification because in the westminster parliament, there is complete confusion, no agreement whatsoever on what is the next step in brexit. how do you, as a minister in the french government, respond to that? my answer will be quite simple. it's not the responsibility of the eu member states, i mean france, germany, italy or spain, to find the solution, the political solution to a political crisis in london. it's up to the british government, to the house of commons, to find the right solutions. we are preparing for the worst, of course, we hope for the best, but we are also preparing for the worst. and it'ss my responsibility as the minister of finance and economy in france, to prepare all our smes, the french economy for a hard brexit. i really hope that we will be able to find a solution and that there will come a clarification from the british government, so that we could escape such a situation.
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but once again, the responsibility is on the shoulders of the british prime minister and the british government. let's just talk a little bit about your perspective as france's economics and finance minister on what a no—deal brexit would mean for france. your prime minister held a meeting, at which you were present today, to launch the no—deal brexit plan that the french government has. what does it involve? and how worried are you, for example, about the prospect, as some of your road transporters have said, a prospect of massive tailbacks and delays around french ports? i don't want to enter into too much technical details but, of course, a hard brexit would have negative consequences. first of all, for the british economy, but also for the european economies, especially for france, because we have a close relationship to the uk. so we are preparing all our smes, we have a plan, we have technical decisions that we are currently taking to face such a situation. but, once again, i really hope
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that we won't have to face a hard brexit and such a difficult situation. the clock is ticking towards march 29. it seems, at the moment, highly unlikely that the british government will be able to deliver a deal that will pass the british parliament. are you prepared, as one of the key governments in the european union, to talk about flexibility, to accept that there, almost inevitably now, will be an extension of the march 29 deadline? an extension, why? if there is a need from the british government, but for the time being, the british government did not ask for further delay. and either asking for the delay, we have to understand why we should
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give further delay to discussion and clarifications. what for? further delay, what for? if there is a need for clarification, of course we are always open to technical clarifications on the deal, but the deal is a fair deal and we have been negotiating, thanks to michel barnier, very long to find that deal between the uk and the eu member states, so we really want to stick to that deal. is it too late, for example, to put a time limit on the so—called backstop, the solution to the irish border problem? would you accept a time limit? it's up to the british government to ask for those delays or clarifications, and then it's up to the head of states to decide on the demand coming from the uk and coming from the british government. but i just want to record the french position. we have been negotiating during many months on that deal. we have a fair deal, we need to stick to the fair deal. if there is a need for clarification, of course we are always open to a clarification on the deal, and if there is a need for further delay, it's up to the british government to ask for that further delay,
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to explain to us why it could be useful to have that further delay. what if the reason given by the british government for a further delay were to be a general election in the uk, or the idea of a second referendum, another vote for the british public on the question of whether to leave the european union? how would the eu react to that? i don't want to speculate on that. i don't want to make too much speculations on the sovereign decisions that might be taken by the british people. you know, when the british people decided to leave the eu, i deeply regretted that decision, because i personally think that it is a bad decision for both the uk and the eu. just 48 hours ago, president macron
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said, and he's said it before, that the leave campaign in britain had lied to the people of britain. you have said similar things yourself. do you see any sign in british politics today that the politicians of britain have stopped lying to the people of britain about the realities of brexit? i'm not here to criticise the british politicians, but i fully share the assessment of emmanuel macron. the campaign for the leave and for the brexit has been based on lies, and the british people are paying now for those lies. there is currently a huge division among the british people, and i deeply regret that division among the british people about that situation of the brexit, and i really hope that the british people and the british government will be able to find a way out and to find a compromise on the deal that is currently on the table. you have said we can talk some more
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but the deal is the deal, and yet others in europe, and i'm thinking of voices coming from the polish government, the dutch government, some others too, have signalled that there needs to be, there must be realflexibility in the european union. there is a danger now that the european union may itself become divided. but for the time being, what strikes me is that there remains a very strong unity among the eu member states, and i really hope that we will be able to preserve that unity
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and to preserve also the single market, because the key question behind that is, to be very clear, the fact that you can't be outand in. you cannot decide to leave the eu and to keep all the benefits of being a full member of the eu. you cannot decide to leave the single market and to keep all the benefits of being a member of the single market. that's the key political question, which is behind the question of the fair deal. let's broaden the conversation now, because in the past, your government has characterised brexit as part of a populist movement in europe, which has included the politics of countries like poland, even — you've looked at your neighbours in italy, and you've talked — president macron has talked about what he once described as the leprosy of populism, the danger of populism. and it seemed that you believed that your government had the antidote to populism, and yet, today in france, we see with the yellow vests, the gilet jaunets movement... yes. that you have a profound problem
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of your own with anger at the grassroots of your country. you're right, and i share your assessment. i think that we have to broaden the picture. we are all facing the same crisis, which is a social crisis, an economic crisis, and also a political crisis. you have a large amount of people in the uk, in france, but also in germany, and spain and italy which are suffering from globalisation, which have deeply the impression of being neglected, of being left out. we have to listen to those people. why didn't you see this coming? thomas piketty, for example, the french economist famous for writing the book on capitalism, he said "since trump, brexit, the explosion of xenophobic feeling all over europe, there should in france have been a better appreciation of the dangers posed by the rise in inequality and the sense of abandonment in the working class." you and your government didn't read the signs. we read the signs. i can assure you that —
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i've been elected for many years, in my constituency in evreux, in normandy, and i have been knowing for many times that there are a large amount of people who are suffering from the globalisation, which suffers from the rise of inequalities, not only in france but in many other states. the bet that we made is to try to change the french economic model, to have a total of the whole of the french economic producers, so that we will be in a situation to reduce those inequalities. but it's a question of time, people... but with respect, minister, your priority... people want results from right now. but your priorities
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as a government, from the outset of the macron reform programme, seemed to be about cutting taxes, corporate taxes, wealth taxes... of course. taxes which, according to france's public policy institute, have clearly made the biggest winners the richest i% of your country. but, you know, during the last 30 years in france, the economic policy that we have put in place proved to be inefficient. that policy was based on the idea that we should spend more public it proved to be a failure and to be totally inefficient. so that's why with emmanuel macron we have decided, on the basis of the mandate given by the french people, to try something else, to cut red tape, to reduce the level of red tape in france, to reduce the level of public spending, so that we will have a better economy with better competitiveness for all the french companies, being able to create more prosperity for all the french people and all the territories, but of course... so why has it all gone so badly wrong?
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it's a question of time. you need time to get results, and people are... it's notjust a question of, because according to the french economist who advised macron... and people who are suffering from inequalities do not have time and they want the results coming right now. an adviser to mr macron in his campaign, a leading economist, a friend of macron for a long time, says now that macron underestimated the magnitude of change that he was calling for, but more particularly, he failed to respond to the demand for fairness in the design
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of the reforms, he failed to respond to the need and demand for fairness. i really don't share that assessment. i really think that all policy is based on fairness, onjustice. the key question is that people want to have the result right now. they do not have time. but we made that assessment that there are too many differences between the highest wages and the minimum wage. we made that assessment. will but we made that assessment that there are too many differences between the highest wages and the minimum wage. we made that assessment. we made the assessment that we should try to improve the level of the lowest wages, so that people can live from theirjobs. so we made that assessment. but maybe the results are too long to come. why do so many people in this country, outside of this building in. paris. but mere qertirularlu= the france that exists far “fiancee. fifiefiifia‘ei—e isizfieeaeeeeeee
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we are trying something why do you think so many see him, see his tone, see his style, and conclude that he is the president of the rich? why? because we have taken difficult decisions. just have a look at the decisions we have taken on the full french taxation system. we have decided to change the whole of the taxation system. we have decided to delete the so—called esf, the european social fund, for the richest people. we have decided to reduce the level of taxation on capital, for the sake of having more money for investment in innovation, because there is a lack of investment in innovation in the french economy. but of course, the change is a radical one, and it's difficult to explain to those people.
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and once again, i am elected by la france profonde, but when you are reducing the level of taxation on the richest people, on the fortunate, it is not to make some gifts to the richest people. it is to help our industry to invest and to innovate. so minister, where now for this ambitious reform programme? you didn't talk about reform, you talked about transformation of france. and yet after the gilets jaunes took to the streets, after the violence which left six dead and hundreds if not thousands injured, it seems mr macron has entirely lost momentum. he climbed down on the fuel taxes. he climbed down on some other key changes, freezing some pension changes, changing the rules on overtime and workers‘ annual bonuses to give something back to those people. it seems, not for the first time in france, that the ambitions
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of a reformist president have been dashed by the french population. we've been here before. but we will stick to the path of reforms, and transformation. but you've already started to u—turn. for one single reason. we have been elected on that promise of transformation, reforms, and full overhaul of the french economic model, so that we will get more prosperity, and more fairness. we know that you are now actually, in france, going to break the eurozone rules on the size of your budget deficit. it's going to cross the 3% barrier, which it should not do, and which you've railed against other countries for doing in the recent past, including criticism of italy. and mario draghi says that the eurozone as a whole is in grave danger of a protracted slowdown. so suddenly france, and indeed the eurozone,
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look as though big trouble lies ahead. we will stick to the path of reforms, and we will stick to our european commitments. we will remain under the 3% of deficit. you have to take into account the so—called one—off of the tax credit in 2019. but if you take into account that one—off, we will remain under the 3% of public deficit. well, minister, you call it a one—off... and that is the first time for ten years that we have been under the 3%, and we will stick to our european commitments. well, that doesn't impress others in european union. poland, who have again been criticised for all sorts of reasons by your government, says france is now the sick man of europe, france is breaking european law, and the european commission is turning a blind eye. i'm not listening to those critiques and those remarks.
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and i think that in the times, the difficult times, we're facing, we should avoid that kind of critiques among eu member states. the fact is that we have a steady growth in france, 1.7% in 2018, and i hope that we will get 1.7% of growth also in 2019. well, the forecast suggests you won't. and i fully share the assessment of the bank. they are at risk of having a slowdown in the whole eurozone, and among the eu member states. that's why we should avoid critiques against the other member states, and try to know, how do we work altogether to fuel the economic growth of the eurozone, and among the eu member states? that's why i am so much advocating for a better integration of the eurozone, for an improvement of the functioning of the eurozone, for the banking union, for the capital market union, for the introduction of the eurozone budget —
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for the sake of having more investment and more convergence among the eu member states. when you're facing a crisis, you should do your best, when you're a minister or when you're a politician, to find solutions while avoiding critiques. you very comprehensively there laid out the french ambition and vision for a deeper economic integration in europe. it was a flagship policy of emmanuel macron when he came to power. the truth is, because france now has lost credibility and authority as a result of what has happened in the last few months in your own country, france is no longer in any position to persuade other european partners tojoin this vision. indeed, we've seen already, there is going to be no eurozone finance minister. the so—called ring—fenced eurozone budget is going to be tiny, not the massive budget that you wanted. you have lost the
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argument in europe. you like to provocate, but i am a calm guy, and i can tell you that we did not lose our credibility. and many people, many nations, are waiting for the solutions and the proposals coming from france. they are waiting for a strong couple between berlin and paris to propose solutions to be discussed among all our partners. but maybe, minister, you are not listening to what is happening in europe as a whole. did you not see... we are all in the same boat — poland, germany, italy, spain, we are facing the same challenges. the challenge is not to fight against poland, germany, spain or italy. the challenge is to gather our forces to invest more, to innovate more, and to be in a situation to resist the competition coming from china and coming from the us. that's the key challenge.
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but minister... and what i'm asking for, more integration within the eurozone, more investment in innovation, in new technologies, in artificial intelligence, is for the sake of having a sovereign europe being able facing china and the us. minister — i do not wish to be rude, minister, but the phrase in english would be, isn't it time to wake up and smell the coffee? because look at what is happening your own country. the polls suggest that the populists, whether it be from the right, with marine le pen, or for the left, with jean—luc melenchon, they are the leaders in your own country. we have one of the key leaders in the italian government, matteo salvini, saying the franco—german axis may well be replaced by a polish axis, ie the populists are gaining ground across europe, and they are not interested in the grand liberal ambitions of emmanuel macron. but the ambition of emmanuel macron is not a grand liberal ambition. it's an ambition to respond
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to the demands of the people. and i can tell you that marine le pen or other leaders in europe are selling illusions to the people, the same kinds of illusions that nigel farage in the uk sold to the british people. and what is the result of that? less prosperity, lessjobs, less integration, less force of the european countries to face the challenges of the new technologies, and the rise of china, and the new situation in the us. that's a fact. and a final thought, which takes us back to the beginning. you refer to those european elections in may of this year. do you think, in your heart
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of hearts, that britain will still be a member of the european union in may 2019? we will see. it's possible. everything is possible now. bruno le maire, we have to end there, but i thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you, thank you. hello there, good morning. the cold weather has arrived, and it looks like it's going to stick around for quite some time. and it's really cold and frosty in many places right now. not everywhere, because we've got a weather front coming in, bringing in more cloud, bringing some rain. but it's moving into the cold air, so there will be a bit of sleet and snow, mainly over the hills. but ahead of that, still some icy patches, following those earlier showers on the northerly wind.
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widespread frost, and we could be down as low as minus seven celsius. but there's more cloud coming into northern ireland, into wales and the south—west, bringing with it some rain, a bit of sleet and snow over the welsh hills, then over the cumbrian fells, the pennines, the southern uplands as well. but there may be even a little bit of sleet and snow at lower levels through the midlands, the west country too. temperatures in the west will recover a bit later on, but for the eastern side of the uk, where it's going to be dry but nowhere near as sunny as it was on thursday, it's another cold day. but at least we don't have the northerly wind, and it's not set to return this weekend either. it will stay cold, mind you, although a lot of places will be dry, particularly on sunday. now, this area of low pressure is bringing in that band of cloud and patchy wet weather, and it tends to weaken and stall as we head into saturday, and things turn a little more showery. now, it won't be as cold and frosty in the morning, because there'll be more cloud around. there'll be some showers, as well, mostly of rain, but a bit of sleet and snow in those, particularly if they head a bit further north across england towards northern ireland, as well. it's probably going to be a dull
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day for the most part. the best of the sunshine across northern parts of scotland, but temperatures struggling — four, five, six degrees generally across the uk. now, as we move into sunday, pressure starts to rise a bit more. so that will tend to push away the showers, break up the cloud a little bit, and into that, we've got a weak weather front arriving from the north—west. but there's probably going to be more frost ahead of that. not as cold as it is right now, minus one or minus two, but some more sunshine across the uk on sunday. we've got that weak weather front bringing a little bit of rain, maybe some sleet and snow over the hills, nothing very much, and behind it, a north—westerly wind pushing in the sunshine back into scotland and northern ireland. but again, it's quite a cold day, with temperatures about six degrees or so. let's look ahead into the beginning of next week, and another frost to come as we move into monday morning. then we get these weather fronts coming in from the atlantic, and at some point they're going to stop, and that means we run the risk of some sleet and some snow, particularly in the west for a while. but an easterly wind may pick up as the week goes on, and therefore it is staying cold.
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hello. this is the briefing. i'm victoria fritz. our top story: prince philip, the queen's husband, is recovering after a car crash. he was driving and collided with another vehicle and overturned. he was said to be be shaken but unharmed. thousands have ta ken to the streets of khartoum, demanding the resignation of sudan's president. rising from the ashes: 0ne of europe's greatest art schools restored after devastating fires, and revealed in virtual reality. and in business, a stream of new viewers for netflix, but will wall street stay tuned as production costs spiral and competition mounts? also, tax cuts and trade wars. two years on, do voters still trust president trump on the economy?
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