tv Focus on Europe PBS March 17, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
♪ michelle: hello and welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. anxiety is running high as much of europe awaits the outcome of italy's election. with eu-sceptic and far right parties on the rise, experts predict that they will surge in the vote. whether italy does lurch further to the right will depend on one man, matteo salvini. railing against the euro, brussels, and migrants, he and his populist party lega could form part of a governing coalition in rome. perhaps inspired by the success of u.s. president donald trump's slogan, america first, matteo salvini has made italians first the defining catchphrase of the 2018 italian election. polls in the run up to the vote showed his right wing party
lega, with their anti-migrant platform, in the lead. with around 600,000 refugees and migrants having landed on italian shores during the last four years, immigration is a hot topic in the election campaign. and the lega party activist we met in puglia plans to take advantage of that. >> leonardo and his fellow activists want their the slogan "italians first" to strike a chord with voters in southern italy. after years of campaigning for a division of northern and southern italy, lega has changed its tune. >> it will be a historical moment if we are able to get lega politicians from puglia into parliament, so they can represent the interests of the south. >> in this case, the south is lecce, also known as puglia's baroque pearl, and a massive
tourist attraction. lega supporters say that they want to save lecce from foreigners. there are many refugees and migrants here. this is often where they end up after being rescued at sea. the lega wants the eu to introduce stronger border controls along the italian coast, so that migrants disappear from view in the town. >> we are the only party which calls things by their actual name. such as public order, security. we don't embellish anything. we want to solve the problems that we see here on the streets before our eyes. >> such populist promises have propelled the 44-year-old head of lega, matteo salvini, to superstardom. he's campaigning to become prime minister in the upcoming elections. he's transforming a former separatist party into a nationalist entity and hopes to unite all italians against foreigners.
>> from bolzano to lampedusa, we have far too many migrants and 240,000 crimes a year. 240,000 crimes committed by foreigners. that's 700 per day. >> but lega is not welcome everywhere in lecce. the businessmen salvatore mazzotta and massimo maffei are not impressed by the party's xenophobic slogans. >> how does salvini want to deport so many people? these are just empty promises that the lega will never be able to fulfill. >> they are also not impressed by lega's sudden interest in the south either. >> 10 years ago, lega thought that we in the south were the devil. now it's the migrants. they're saying the same thing as before, "they're dangerous, stealing our jobs, settling here." >> massimo maffei might be glad about the election campaign
, which means plenty of work for him, but he's not so pleased about the empty election promises he has to print. >> lega is presenting itself as being completely transformed. this will disappear after the elections. we could throw away the campaign material right now. >> local businessman salvatore mazzota is also not impressed by the lega. at his firm producing tractor parts, he employs five foreign workers. one is a trained pakistani auto painter, another is an unqualified man from gambia. for the entrepreneur, it's not the qualifications but the attitude that counts. >> we used to go to germany before and we would work on saturdays and sundays. the germans stopped working on friday. that's what's happening here with foreigners today. they don't have families, only want to work. that's an advantage for us.
>> it might not be so easy for leonardo to find supporters for lega's anti-immigration policy. even his favorite bar has a young senegalese employee. modi got the job through a state integration program. >> we've never said that we want to chase anyone away if their work permits are in order. we just want to deport those who are here illegally or those who are criminals. >> barkeeper modi is saddened by the fact that there is prejudice against people just because of the color of their skin. >> friends have told me that they are accused of not wanting to work. this is not fair. all of us migrants should get a chance. >> but leonardo and his idol matteo salvini are hoping to conquer southern italy with the simple, populist slogan italians first.
michelle: with all of the talk of a united europe, one that is to borrow another american politician's phrase stronger together, the growing populist demand to put one's nation first seems to run counter to that. ♪ michelle: despite being in power in russia for almost two decades, vladimir putin's enduring popularity is undeniable. after years of chaos and corruption, he is viewed by his supporters as a leader who has brought about stability and has restored respect in the world. and it's not just the older generation who have felt his impact. russian youth have also been shaped by him. but while some see him as a national hero, there are others who reject everything he stands for. as the country prepares for their elections, our reporter
juri rescheto went to yekaterinburg to ask three young people about their very different political views. >> i'm collecting signatures for ksenia sobchak. >> i don't need her. >> ksenia sobchak is female, feisty and defiant. once among russia's most visible society ladies, she's become an independent journalist. sobchak strikes a chord with the young people who oppose vladimir putin, but not yet openly and actively. which is just what alexei navalny does. he's one of the kremlin's most vocal critics, but a criminal record prevents him from running for office. his young supporters repeatedly call for protests and election boycotts. russian president vladimir putin, on the other hand, is urging voters to head to the polls. the greater the turnout, the greater the legitimacy of his re-election, which many, and not just his fans, see as a foregone conclusion.
>> i like being a russian citizen, living under the leadership of a strong politician named vladimir putin. >> i expect the secret service to arrest me at any moment for something i posted. >> ksenia sobchak herself says she's not running for president. her strategy is to go against everyone. she's not fighting on the front lines like navalny, but she can appear on television. putin's using her as token opposition, so he can say, look. we've got freedom of speech. >> i'm convinced that all the candidates except navalny are kremlin projects. their purpose is obviously to -- their purpose is to legitimize putin's re-election. navalny's the only one able to mobilize thousands in this kind of cold and snow. ♪
>> lenin's komsomol from the soviet era was a good training ground. we should all take that as an example and not just protest in the streets. we ought to do something useful, like collectively clean up the city. >> the leadership should know what we're doing, and it's not sitting at home like a couch potato. >> many young people take a critical stance. but that doesn't mean they're in the opposition. many are happy with putin in office because they're doing well. >> you notice that russian culture is increasingly popular and that the russian position is gaining more respect abroad. >> many young people don't care about putin. they're not interested in politics. our task is to get these indifferent voters on our side.
>> we should be allowed to protest, but within the legal framework. and if someone doesn't agree with that, he should run for election as a people's deputy. >> putin will step down within three years. he can't hold on any longer, and the more we rock the boat, the better. we don't want him to govern the entire six years. we want him to go earlier and peacefully. >> we are being intimidated. in siberia or chechnya, i wouldn't be as politically active as i am here. >> afraid? we either die standing up or live on our knees. if we take to the streets, i'll be in the front row. >> we support the president. we support his decision to run.
we'll all be giving him our vote. >> they may support alexei navalny, or ksenia sobchak, or putin. it seems the 2018 presidential election has at last politically galvanized russia's young people. >> hello. i'm collecting signatures. michelle: cornwall is one of the most picturesque coastal regions in britain. known for its stunning seaside towns, surfing, and sandy beaches, tourists flock here not just in the summer but all year round. but because of its location, currents wash up tons, actual tons of plastic waste on to its shores. it's not just unsightly. it is devastating to the natural environment. but a local environmental activist in penzance, a town on cornwall's most westerly tip, has managed to inspire the local economy to go plastic free.
>> it's picturesque and wildly romantic, the steep cliffs along cornwall's breathtaking coastline. cornwall's weather-beaten location at the southwestern tip of britain is both the county's charm and its achilles heel. the wind and currents wash up more rubbish here than anywhere else in the british isles. whenever rachel yates goes down to the beach in penzance, where she used to play as a child, she brings a bucket. >> it upsets me because i think it's a symptom of where our society has kind of gone off track a little bit. it's a symptom of a lot of different things, of things like community, the way that we buy things, the way that we live our lives. >> so rachel has declared war on plastic, on trash, and what she
calls the indifferent society. she's shaken up her home town, asking shops to get rid of disposable plastic bags. and encouragingly, businesses are responding, replacing plastic straws with paper ones, plastic cutlery with wood, and plastic cups with biodegradable ones. there's real momentum here, a resistance as rachel calls it. 30 shops have signed up so far for a certificate that proudly proclaims their plastic-free premise. rachel makes the rounds of local businesses. this wine shop wants to join in. first, it has to pass the checklist. >> we are not using plastic straws or drinks. there is no plastic bottles in the shop anymore, so there's no water bottles. >> check. the wine shop can say it's plastic-free up to a point. there have to be some compromises. >> it doesn't mean completely plastic free.
it means, basically, they're focusing on eliminating single-use plastics. some plastic you can't get rid of overnight. it's a bit more of a complicated process. >> many of the big chains have never really bothered going green and are still freely handing out plastic bags. that upsets penzance town councilor simon reed, who's proud to be leading the battle, his small town against the rest of britain's rubbish. that generates positive publicity, and it's good for tourism. >> if you walk along the beach, sometimes you see an astonishing amount of plastic waste, especially at this time of year after a storm. and we do get year round tourists here. we get a lot of people from germany and holland, who expect to see our shores clean. >> thanks to support from the local council, penzance is proudly calling itself britain's first official plastic-free town. a club founded by surfers set up the award. for years, cornwall's surfers
have been campaigning for the environment. their concerns have long fallen on deaf ears. but now, things are changing. now, the surfers don't have as much time to spend in the water as they used to. david smith and his colleagues have triggered a wave of activity. 150 coastal communities are working to get themselves certified plastic free. >> i think we're in a place where we're starting to know we need to catch up, so we can now really work hard at persuading the government to put really strong legislation in to help improve our environment, so ask them to make sure they bring in the deposit return scheme that everyone's asking for. >> until now, european union legislation has required a minimum of environmental protection in britain. but now, the british government also has plans to jump on the green bandwagon and is promising stricter standards of protection
after britain leaves the eu. rachel is putting her faith in the next generation rather than the politicians. her next stop is a school. >> you can take action on these plastics in your canteen and elsewhere in your school, and these guys will help identify those things that you want to look at. >> the school picked a group of eight young environmentalists. >> i am constantly nagging my parents, don't get the plastic bags. don't get the ear buds with the plastic bits, and it's all about just continuing to change people's mindset. >> and so here in penzance, in the west country, britain will soon have its first plastic-free school. all thanks to some very involved citizens. ♪ michelle: farmers in spain are worried. despite regions like castile-leon having naturally fertile soil and are accustomed to managing limited rainfall, climate change has brought about long periods of drought.
water, once plentiful with the use of irrigation, is now scarce. the reservoirs that were built decades ago, for which entire villages were sacrificed, are drying up. the region's antiquated water systems desperately need updating, but no one can agree on how. ♪ >> he didn't think he'd see his home ever again. albito suarez was just eight when he and his grandfather were forced to leave his hometown la guelles de luna. after the construction of a new dam, the valley was flooded. albito's home vanished in a new artificial lake. >> this is where we lived. these are my childhood memories. we'd play in the streets right here. this is where the village came together because this street led to the highway. well, you can see what's happened to it now.
>> 60 years later, la guelles and 15 other villages are re-emerging as water levels drop dramatically. the iberian peninsula has suffered particularly from climate change. a few weeks ago, water levels in spanish reservoirs reached a new historic low. but the surrounding population relies on the water from this dam for their homes and fields. albito suarez is angry. he says the precious resource is being wasted carelessly. >> it actually is possible to fight the drought with sound water policies. you need to organize how fields are watered and modernize the system. but that's where things are failing at the moment. >> large parts of spain's irrigation system are indeed in bad repair. from spring to autumn, water is
diverted to nearby fields through open channels with a lot of water evaporating along the way. guillermo mantecon knows this all too well, for he relies on the irrigation for his fields. he grows wheat, corn, potatoes , and turnips in castilian soto de la vega. >> this is all outdated. these canals have been here for over 40 years. they are leaky, that accounts for about 10% of the water lost before it reaches me. but there are canals that are even older. there, they might lose up to 40%. >> guillermo mantecon wants to repair the aqueducts. but it's not up to him to decide if the open concrete channels are replaced by subterranean pipes. first, the regional farmer cooperative must vote on it. but many aren't willing to shoulder the costs themselves
and feel that politics have abandoned them. >> they're cutting an increasing amount of subsidies. if there were more subsidies, i am sure more farmers would be in favor of modernizing. many are discouraged by the high costs. >> the regional government of castile and leon is prepared to invest 600 million euros into renovating the irrigation system. under one condition. >> we want the farmers to merge their fields so that each plot reaches the minimum size required for a modern watering system. but many are unwilling to do that because they feel connected to their lands. so we're not only dealing with an economic, but also a cultural problem. >> to save water and build a modern irrigation system, farmers would have to redraw property lines.
albito suarez is skeptical. he doesn't believe politics will be able to persuade all farmers. but that's exactly what is urgently needed. anything else, he says, would just be a slap in the face. >> water is going to waste at the cost of everybody who contributed to creating this dam, this wealth. of course that bothers me. why did we make such sacrifices if they can't appreciate it today? >> it's of little comfort to albito suarez that he might be able to visit his sunken village again soon, the next time spain suffers from drought and water shortage. michelle: and finally, we take you on a visit to the town of slubfurt. but don't bother trying to find it on a map. because this place is a
fictional border city in which germans and poles come together. it was thought up by a local artist who in an effort to revitalize the area combined the names of the polish city slubice and the german city frankfurt an der oder. there is even a virtual municipal government which issues i.d. cards and coins. despite its success at encouraging cross border relations, not everyone is happy with the initiative. >> this is the city wall of slubfurt. and this is michael kurzwelly, the artist who first came up with the idea of slubfurt. >> reality emerges with an idea. if more and more people believe in it and live it, it will become a reality. >> in kurzwelly's reality, there is no border between the german town of frankfurt an der oder and the polish town of slubice. for him, both towns make up slubfurt.
>> this dotted line symbolizes poland, and this one symbolizes germany, and where the two meet , we have created a circle that symbolizes slubfurt. >> and this imaginative idea is having an impact on real life. the slubfurters invited the current mayor and the candidates for the upcoming mayoral elections in frankurt an der oder to an event in their fictional parliament. the current mayor of slubice was so impressed that he invited them all to his town hall. >> welcome to this historic event. it's the first time that we're meeting frankfurt's candidates for mayor. i am very pleased that it worked out. >> it's also a great occasion for kurzwelly to see real
politicians taking his slubfurt vision seriously. but not everybody shares his vision. there are some german nationalists who didn't like slubfurt's bilingual signs for example. >> on one side, it said plac mostowy, and on the other, bruckenplatz. the next day, someone turned up and asked if it would soon be called polack square. >> the sign was vandalized a few months later. the nationalists are particularly annoyed by the fact that anyone can be a slubfurter, refugees, too. they come here to garden, do crafts, or receive legal advice. two slubfurt associations, one german and one polish, organize this. adam poholski has also encountered resistance because of the help administered to refugees. >> people see slubfurt as a project for refugees. only for refugees. and they don't want to integrate refugees.
>> the slubfurters can't help much here because refugees can't cross the border. but for others, slubice and frankfurt an der oder are getting closer and closer. >> it's a long-term project that is slowly making its mark. i'm sure that one day there will be signs for slubfurt at all the points of entry, even if i don't get to see it myself. >> michael kurzwelly is convinced that if everyone has faith in slubfurt, it will become reality one day. ♪ michelle: that is it for today. thank you for watching. goodbye from me and the whole team. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
today, even with its crowds and overpriced souvenirs, i love this place. during rothenburg's heyday -- that was about 1200 to 1400 -- it was the intersection of two great trading routes -- prague to paris and hamburg to venice. but today, the great trade is tourism. rothenburg is a huge hit with shoppers. true, this is a great place to buy cuckoo clocks, steins, and dirndls, but see the town first. most of the buildings were built by 1400. like many medieval towns, the finest and biggest houses were built along herrengasse, named for the herren, or the wealthy class. the commoners built higgledy-piggledy farther from the center, near the walls. hanging shop signs advertise what they sold -- knives, armor, bread, whatever. rothenburg's wall,
with its beefy fortifications and intimidating gates, is about a mile around and provides great views and a good orientation. rodertor is the only tower you can actually climb. it's worth the hike for the commanding city view and the fascinating display on the bombing of rothenburg in the last weeks of world war ii, when much of the city was destroyed. but rothenburg's most devastating days were 400 years ago, during the thirty years' war. in the 1600s, the catholic and protestant armies were fighting all across europe. the catholic army took the protestant town of rothenburg, and as was customary, they planned to execute the town leaders and pillage and plunder the place. but the catholic general had an idea. he said, "hey, if someone in this town can drink "a three-liter tankard filled with wine in one gulp, i'll spare the city." according to legend, rothenburg's retired mayor nusch said, "i can do that." mayor nusch drank the whole thing, the town was saved, and the mayor slept for three days.
and today, tourists gather on the town square several times daily for a less-than-thrilling reenactment of that legendary chug. nice story, but in actuality, the town was occupied and ransacked several times during that 30 years of war, and when peace finally came, rothenburg was never again a major player. it slumbered peacefully until rediscovered in the 19th century by those same romantics who put the rhine on the grand tour map. they came here to paint and write about the best-preserved medieval town in germany. shops are filled with etchings and prints inspired by this 19th century romantic take on the town.