our top stories at this hour, the european commission president says that the eu is facing its greatest challenge ever as the european parliament adopts a new euro rules. human-rights groups calling on germany and other countries to take in thousands of refugees fleeing libya. no one, not even the state is above the law. the german court celebrates 60 years as guardian of the constitution. after spending billions of euros to bail out greece, ireland, and portugal, europeans have moved closer to a deeper economic form of integration. reforms passed by the european parliament paved the way for action to rein in governments with runaway spending. president jose manuel barroso
has hailed the vote. he says that there will be a tax on financial transactions despite resistance from london and washington. >> the speech comes amid a crucial week for the european project. the commission president says the eu faces economic, political, social crisis but also a crisis of confidence. the european parliament has backed tough reforms to offer up confidence in the euro. the new measures center on dealing with debt offenders. they get more power to the european commission. they will be able to impose penalties on eurozone countries. it will also be able to implement macro economic reforms like binding targets to avoid property bobbles. -- bubbles, >> this will give us a stronger enforcement mechanism.
we can address budget plans before national decisions are taken. also disciplined and integration holds the key to the future. we will have more integration and more disciplined. we can have a credible era. >> european lawmakers hope that this will prevent future debt crises but many experts say it does not go far enough and it could be replaced by more ambitious proposals. >> international debt inspectors are due to return to greece on thursday to determine whether the country qualifies for new loans. protests are continuing against austerity measures. there is a strike by taxi drivers and construction workers. transport workers are facing wage cuts and tax to drivers are angry about plans to increase competition in the sector. athens has stepped up its austerity measures to meet the terms set by international
creditors. the european debt crisis has become a defining moment for german chancellor angela merkel. there is a vote that will determine whether germany throws its weight behind the latest bailout plans. the ballot on extending the european financial stability facility is expected to be approved but it is still unclear whether chancellor merkel will get a majority within her own coalition. opposition leaders say that she should step down. >> this might be one of the most important votes of chancellor merkel's term. she wants to know who is voted against extending the european financial stability facility. one doubter has returned to the government fold. >> i guess i will return -- i guess i will vote for it unless some unsettling news comes from washington or somewhere else. >> there is some support because
the opposition also supports it but angela merkel does manage to scrape a simple majority. she is short of the absolute majority from our own coalition. it would be a symbolic blow to her authority. >> if she fails to win an absolute majority. this would mean real damage to her image. this would raise questions about the stability of this coalition and of confidence within the coalition itself. >> chancellor merkel has been lobbying representatives to pass the stability fund but she might have to live with the result that leaves doubts about her future. >> with more on this, we spoke to the chief whip of the conservative block and we asked him what argument he was using to persuade parliamentarians to vote for the proposal. >> there is a range of good arguments. the first is the preservation of
the euro which is in the interest of all of us. we have to avoid worldwide recession. we have to stabilize the eurozone. we have to increase the european role on the world market decisions honoring the relations of financial markets. the last point is that we have to stabilize our own economy. germany is dependent on exports. this is an interest of all europeans. >> let's go over to our correspondent. this is not only germany voting to give more power to brussels. >> all 17 members have backed the fund before it comes into operation.
concerns about the debt crisis continues to trigger volatility on equity markets but to many investors are worried. >> in frankfurt, work continues on the new headquarters of the european central bank. many germans believe that all whole eurozone project is built on shaky transitions. there is a plan to rescue the euro and get a grip on the debt crisis. they are pushing for tougher regulations and they want banks to foot the bill for a financial transaction tax. they propose taxing transactions of shares and bonds and derivatives at just 100th of a percent. the commission estimates that it would raise about 57 billion euros of revenue annually. the tax would be levied on deals between banks and other financial institutions. the commission says this is a way that the industry can help to pay back taxpayers during the
financial crisis. >> new economic data and the u.s. manufacturing sector were the talk of the day. we have this report from the frankfurt stock exchange. >> after two days of frenzied, but sobriety returned to the trading floor. people are starting to calculate the potential cost of the solution debt situation. the solution which most probably will come along with higher payments to be made by banks and other players of the financial markets. more economic data came in and it was received negatively in germany. consumer prices rose at a faster pace than anticipated and in the united states, the manufacturing sector got fewer new orders for durable goods. this caused a decline in the stock markets here and frankfurt. >> stock prices fell on
wednesday despite renewed hope will get -- renewed hope that greece will get its next installment of a bailout funds. the euro stoxx 50 fell by 176. the dow jones closed down over a 11.5% sign. amazon has unveiled its long- awaited tablet, the kindle fire. the co showed off the device. this feature is a color screen, a new internet browser. this is set to sell for under $200 which is far less than the ipad from rival apple. in germany, inflation rates are at the highest rate in three years. consumer prices jumped 2.6%. that is more than analysts were expecting.
fuel and heating oil were among those increasing. german inflation is outpacing the european central bank's target rate of less than 2%. some figures are going up. the biggest number of job vacancies are attempt agencies. the total was about 1 million jobs up for grabs. the fallout from the decision to phase out nuclear energy will be very expensive for power companies. a new report puts the cost of dismantling the power plant at more than 18 billion euros? the 17 facilities will have to be decommissioned. the plants are going offline in stages with the last due to shut
down in 2022. for more, it is back to brian. >> we are staying with the nuclear sector. switzerland's parliament has approved plans to shut down the country's nuclear power plants over the next two decades. the first will be closed in 2019. the government says faster decommissioning is not necessary because each has passed a stress test. they get about 40% of their energy from their nuclear reactors. a member of the libyan national transitional council says that they believe that muammar gaddafi is hiding among nomadic tribes along the border with algeria. troops loyal to the interim leadership have seen more setbacks in their attempt to seize khaddafi's hometown of sirte. sirte and bani walid are
bastions of pro gaddafi's supporters. streams of refugees are going to neighboring countries. some 5000 cans are living along the egyptian antony's and borders. the u.n. has recognized them as refugees. seven european countries are granting them asylum. >> on the river in berlin, protesters call attention to the plight of refugees trying to reach europe across the mediterranean. they say the european union state should take the men, not turn them away. >> we are ceiling ourselves off and talking about how to fortify our borders. every person should have the right to tell their story. >> alongside the untold thousands have not been heard, 5000 people recognized as refugees are in north africa
waiting for a country to accept them. >> these people should be taken in here. we have 27 member states. this should not be a problem. it would be an act of solidarity with northern africa. >> amnesty international is calling upon the german government to set up registration programs for refugees much like those in the u.s. and norway, even when there is no threat or crisis. >> the european union's envoy to ukraine has accused kiev of ignoring their plea to release yulia tymoshenko. they are concerned that the charges against her are motivated by political opponents. the former prime minister is on trial accused of abusing office when she signed a gas import contract with russia. prosecutors are calling for a seven-year prison sentence. yulia tymoshenko denies the
charges. serbia and kosovo have broken off talks after renewed unrest in goes a vote. a four u.n. peacekeepers and 16 nationals were injured in protest. a serbian government spokesperson says that belgrade is working to stabilize the situation. tension has arisen after the close of those security forces attempted to take control of a border crossing with serbia. the constitutional court is marking its 60th anniversary. they have a long tradition of judicial independence and a bold and the right of citizens. they enjoy broad public support and they're considered pillars of the postwar democracy. >> the political leadership, the president, the chancellor, and
her ministers came for the celebration. >> we celebrate the 60 anniversary of a constitutional body without whose independence our republic would be a different one. we celebrate the anniversary of a constitutional body that has influenced our democracy. the constitution of the federal republic of germany was ratified in may 1949. the court is charged with of holding it. every citizen has the right to plead the case. >> experience of asserting one's rights even against the state played a major role in consolidating appreciation for the role of law in the government of germany. >> on issues such as equal rights, freedom of expression, the judges have upheld many articles of the constitution against inroads by the government.
>> our constitution cannot and does not intend to replace good governance. it should make good governance possible and even easier. for that to happen, we need a prudent, brave, and intelligent cord which enjoys the trust of the citizens of this country and its state institutions. >> over the past 60 years, the court's judges have heard more than 180,000 constitutional complaints. the court continues to be a citizen's advocate. >> we will have more on the system and the constitutional court coming up later. cuba has eased its restrictions on the buying and selling of automobiles. until now, most cubans were restricted to trading vintage cars that were on the island before the revolution. a building black market has built up around a new or
imports. the new rules limit the purchase of new cars to select groups of people on the island nation. this is part of a series of free market reforms backed by president castro. the star attraction at the leipzig zoo, heidi, the cross eyed opossum has died. she rocketed to stardom when she was on television. then it went on the internet and went a viral. her facebook page has more than 300,000 fans. she has been in ill health for some time. i will be right back with more on the german legal system. stay with us.
court was designed to guarantee independence from government pressure and to win confidence and full faith of the public. it has been highlighted its successes in these and other areas. it allows anyone to present their case. this is a pillar of the democratic system off where all people are equal in the eyes of the law. people can go to court for all kinds of issues and they can get a fair hearing. >> if it was not for germany's constitutional court, this would probably not exist anymore. people who come to the doors like to smoke a cigarette or two. under berlin law, smoking was only allowed had separate rooms for the smoker. this had no such room. that meant that they had to institute a smoking ban. the owner felt that was unfair.
the court said that she was right, berlin changed the law and now bars that did not have enough space for a separate room can declare themselves as smokers bars. the case was a good example of how the rule of law should function in a democratic state. >> it is great that a normal citizen has the right to say that something is not right and i want to do something about it. in normal citizen can go to the constitutional court. that is fantastic. >> they have saved a lot of money. this man drives 70 kilometers a day in his job. when the government decided that the first 20 kilometers of any daily commute were no longer tax-deductible, he took to the case to court. >> for me, personally, it made no sense why i could not deduct the first 20 kilometers of but then get money back for the next
50. >> his case went to the constitutional court where he faced off against the finance minister. he beat the government when the judges ruled that every kilometer travel had to be treated the same way by the finance ministry. another case involves the rights of fathers such as this man, here visiting a museum with his son. he was not married when his son was born and under german law, that means that most rights are given to the mother. when she planned to move to a different part of germany, he feared he would not able to see his son anymore. he wanted to stop his son's mother from moving and filed suit. the judges said that an unmarried father must be able to demand his parental rights and welfare of the child is at stake. >> my son and i gave each other a big hug. we were so happy. >> they now live together. something that would not have been possible without the constitutional court.
>> judicial independence is one of the elements not only there but in the entire german legal system. over the past six decades, observers say the judges have demonstrated their freedom to make difficult decisions that have angered and frustrated many politicians. the court also tried to ensure that the proceedings are as transparent as possible while protecting the privacy and rights of the litigants. revisit a court in the capital of berlin. >> berlin pause criminal court is one of europe's largest judicial complexes. hear, verdicts are announced in cases large and small, wet air is death or murder. the principle remains the same. the court must guarantee the defendant a fair trial. when the charge is read out, that means that the public prosecutors are convinced of
the defendant's guilt. until they come to a decision, the defendant is presumed innocent. the prosecution must prove its case beyond any doubt. >> the public prosecutor as the one in charge of the investigation has the job of bringing together all the relevant elements of the case, those that mitigate against the defendant but also that support him. >> most german trials are open to the public, although cameras or microphones are not allowed to go to the verdict is pronounced in the name of the people and therefore can be monitored by the people. >> the right to a public trial is a pillar of the legal system. justice should not be carried out in secret, it must be transparent. trials are public with few exceptions. >> another important principle is judicial independence.
>> i pronounced the fall in verdict in the name of the people. the defendant is guilty of theft. >> judges must be free to decide cases without interference from politicians or other parties. their decisions must be subject to review. every defendant can appeal a verdict. >> that is the defended's right. he does not have to accepted but he can't take it to a higher court of appeals. -- he can take it to the higher court of appeals. >> each case is tried according to the role of law. >> the highest court is viewed as one of the great success stories of the german justice system and of the country's postwar democracy. for years, this has served as a model for a number of new democracies moving from one party system to multi-party democracies. with decades of experience, lawyers and legal organizations often provide advice on legal
issues around the world. one recent example is in tunisia where that country is creating new institutions. >> this is the head of the tunisian young lawyers association. the focus of his meeting is an issue that has concerned him since the ouster of the president, a new justice system. >> the tunisian justice system needs fundamental reform. that goes for the structures as well as the personalities. for example, judges who were imbedded in the old system. >> as the lawyer who focused on human rights under the regime, he was constantly in danger of imprisonment. he cannot comprehend why many of the judges who supported the old
regime are still in their jobs. he said that they are not in a position to oversee fair proceedings. he says the trial shows this only too well. >> issues like drug trafficking were addressed but this is not what phoenicians' wanted. they wanted a fair trial, one that exposes the worst crimes. >> the people think trials like this are not credible. that is why young lawyers are looking at how other countries organized judicial affairs. they have been getting help from berlin and munich. at a meeting, german lawyers relate their experiences. they explain how the german justice system works.
>> a law passed to change. they have to get rid of corruption. they have to build up the rule of law and the separation of powers. it seems like this is not adhered to. >> this is something that this lawyer fights for every day. new laws are being worked on to give the citizens more rights. other reforms i said to follow. it is hear that input from germany is important. >> we hope that the german contribution continues to be of help, that they are acquainted with fair trials as we are. >> along with a souvenir photo of the conference, he will be taking with him the hopes for a new and more just to nietzsche. >> thank you for joining us. we will see you next time. -- he will be taking with him hopes for a new and more just tunisia.