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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 14, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

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♪ peter: hello, and a very warm welcome indeed to fokus on europe with me, peter craven. and today we begin in hungary, where people are due shortly to vote in a general election. polls indicate that the far-right prime minister viktor orban will win another sizeable majority in parliament. during the election campaign, orban presented himself and his fidesz party as the guardians of the hungarian people. at large rallies, the prime minister warned against what he calls the islamization of europe and promised to keep migrants out of the country. that's why hungary has closed down the so-called balkan route by building a fence along its border with serbia. there used to be hundreds of
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thousands of people hoping to cross the border and make their way through hungary to countries like germany. now though some 4000 migrants, men, women and children, are still stranded on the border, including payman and fahrid. reporter: this make-shift refugee camp on the serbian-hungarian border used to be full of people. now, it is deserted. the drastic steps taken by the hungarian government to deter the refugees, the soldiers and the high fence, have had the desired effect, at least here in horgos. two young men are holding out, payman from afghanistan and fahrid from iran. they've been living here in appalling conditions for over a year. the other refugees chose them to be their contact persons for the authorities. they're supposed to update the list of those refugees allowed to cross into hungary, and the european union, every day.
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>> until recently, families would have to wait in various holding camps here in serbia for a year or more. now, things are much worse. for the last three weeks, hungary has only been allowing one person per day or one family a week to pass through. that increases the waiting period to three or four years. people here are depressed. they're gradually going crazy from having to wait so long. nobody knows when they can go. reporter: two years ago, this camp in serbia on the hungarian border was badly overcrowded. it had no electricity or water. only 15 refugees were allowed into hungary through the horgos checkpoint per day. hoping to provide some relief, aid organizations and the serbian authorities moved the refugees to camps with better living conditions and further back from the border, where it was easier to monitor them.
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at the same time, hungary built a fence and made it harder to cross the border. payman and fahrid decided to stay here in one of the tents left behind. they've taken responsibility for informing their fellow refugees in case the border opens. they describe how the procedure works. >> we pick up the family from the tent at 8:00 a.m., and they wait here another hour. then the hungarians call them, and they can enter the country legally. reporter: but a few weeks ago, the authorities stopped working together with these two refugees without explanation. once a week, payman visits his family in the camp in subotica 20 kilometers away. his little daughter naya is overjoyed to see her father again. about 100 refugees are stranded here.
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payman tells the people in the camp about the lack of communication from the hungarians. akhmed has a wife and three children already in germany. he himself has been stuck here, with his nephew and sister, for over a year now. ahkmed: i was so happy when i reached the border, because i thought i'd be seeing my family soon. at the time, i didn't know what the procedure here was. ally clamping down. first 60 people a week, then 30 and now just one a day. reporter: the government in budapest denies that it's forgotten about the refugees and their plight. janos: the hungarian government affords protection to everyone who needs it. there's no decree that we only let one in per day. but if there's only one guy standing around there, why should we put 10 officials on
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it? reporter: outside the border fence at horgos, fahrid and payman get ready for another cold winter night. they never know when something could happen, and they might be needed. fahrid: i hope the ones who are honest will eventually find their way to a new life. ♪ reporter: neither of them would even think about giving up. payman and fahrid are adamant that their dream of europe does not end at this border. >> i am warning you that you are at the hungarian border. peter: now my home country, britain, is an island nation and a large part of the population lives on or near the coast. people love to eat fish, and they're very proud of their fishing industry. but that industry has been through tough times in recent decades.
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fishing communities blame european union quotas on fish catches, which is why they voted in large numbers for brexit, the british exit from the european union. but will it help them? our reporter has been out with the fishermen to find out. reporter: for hundreds of years, paul joy's family has set out on the north sea to catch fish. they're one of the few remaining families of fishermen in hastings, southern england. joy and his two colleagues mainly catch european plaice, sole, and skate. paul: my brother is fishing, and cousins are fishing, but for my family, this looks like the last generation. simply it's just not viable for them to fish. reporter: but that's not because of depleted north sea fish stocks. in fact, stocks have recovered, says joy. instead, the problem is that british fishermen face a limit on how much fish they're allowed to catch.
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each year the e.u. draws up north sea fishing quotas by fish type and country. paul: what aggravates us is the share we have in our own waters. we are fishing in british waters, which was british territorial waters, and have to throw back fish because our counterparts, the european fishermen, they do not. they do not have to throw back. reporter: that's why nearly all british fishermen voted for brexit. they want to regain control over their own waters and decide how much to fish. they also want to banish other european fishermen from british waters like this dutch vessel. dutch captain guido betsema spends 80% of the year fishing exclusively in british parts of the north sea. guido: if i can no longer fish there, i'll have to find other areas. i'd have to compete with my dutch colleagues and share a tiny fishing area.
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reporter: brexit puts about 50% of the dutch fishing fleet in peril, says pim visser, who represents the dutch fishing industry. he thinks this is unnecessary because strict e.u. regulations now ensure there's enough fish for all. visser thinks the british government is the real problem for distributing only a tiny fraction of its e.u. fishing quota to british small-scale fishermen in the english channel. pim: they blame the e.u. for the internal problems. the smaller boats have no quota. that is a problem, but that is not a problem created by brussels. that's a problem created by london. and they are -- they think that they can solve a problem in london by walking away from the e.u. but that's going to be a real disappointment for them. reporter: the dutch are convinced all fishermen are responsible for north sea fish stocks. after all, fish have no nationality and recognize no borders.
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pim: what we see already in our relations with what used to be our colleagues, our friends, working together in european fisheries, politics, and all of a sudden it's turned upside down, as if they are strangers, as if we are strangers. and that is a very, very bad feeling. our friends are no longer our friends. reporter: guido betsema's existence as a fisherman is now in jeopardy. he didn't see brexit coming. his family also has a 500-year history of fishing in the north sea, and he's afraid that will be over soon. guido: even as a little boy, i joined my father, and we went fishing in british waters. he told me where and when you can catch the best fish. these are familiar waters, and i know them like the back of my hand.
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reporter: after eight hours at sea, paul joy's small fishing boat returns to hastings. so overall the catch was ok? paul: all right. not many soles but enough other stuff to make it up. so it was all right. reporter: once back on land, the day's entire catch is sold to europe of all places. and that's the problem. britain's fishermen export the fish they've caught and import their favorite fish, cod, which is the classic main ingredient in fish and chips. the british want to maintain this trade after brexit. paul: i am a pragmatist, and i am fully aware that this is going to be a long-term thing. you have to take it as it comes and see where we sit up at the end of it. and brexit is a fact. i hope we just carry on and get -- and we actually unite to get there at the end of the day. reporter: but joy's worried that
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the price for free trade in fish will be high. europe is likely to demand precisely what he and other brexiteers wanted, control over british waters. peter: now anyone who's visited the turkish city of istanbul in recent times knows what a great pleasure it can be to sit in a bar, drink a beer or two, and chat away into the night. but such pleasures are increasingly a thing of the past with the turkish authorities slapping high taxes on alcohol as part of a religiously-motivated campaign. now fokus on europe's julia hahn explored the impact of the clampdown, beginning with one man who's come up with his very own solution. julia: this kitchen might be the smallest brewery in istanbul. once a month, vuslat ozdemirhan brews up a batch of beer here. he ordered the ingredients, malt, sugar, yeast, online. that's where he got the recipe too.
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add water and stir. >> tamam. julia: and after a few weeks of fermentation, the beer is ready to drink. vuslat: i'm mainly doing this to save money. alcohol has become so expensive in turkey. taxes have been increased a lot over the years, and alcohol has become unaffordable. my home-brewed beer costs me a quarter of what i'd pay in the shops. julia: just a few years ago, istanbul was known for its nightlife. but the islamic-conservative akp government seemingly wants to put an end to that. shops are no longer permitted to sell alcohol after 10:00 p.m. advertising alcohol is forbidden. and for many turks, high taxes have made it a luxury. borak kocoglu owns a bar in istanbul.
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he says many other bar owners have already given up. customers can't afford the high prices. a glass of anise-flavored raki, a local favorite, costs about two to three times what it did just a few years ago. borak: it's getting worse. they raise taxes twice a year. they've just been raised again. i think the authorities are trying to shut down bars and clubs. or maybe it's a religious thing. i have no idea. julia: the government says its tax hikes have nothing to do with religion. but president recep tayyip erdogan has promoted a non-alcoholic yogurt beverage, as if to make a bigger statement. >> no matter what others say, our national drink is ayran, and i drink to that.
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[applause] district, home to many conservative muslims, there are no complaints about the high price of alcohol. >> i'm for a total ban. nobody should drink. it's harmful. >> i've just been to the mosque. i don't drink because islam forbids it. but everyone should decide for themselves. >> i think there should be more bans to protect our children. >> it should be totally prohibited. julia: borak kocoglu disagrees. he loves his bar. and he's convinced istanbul will lose much of its cosmopolitan flair if authorities keep making life hard for bar-owners like himself. vuslat ozdemirhan and his
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friends also don't want the government telling them what to drink. and to that, they'll raise a glass of their own home-brew. peter: on a very different note, we go now to spain where the shocking truth is only now coming to light. the truth about the spanish babies, as many as 300,000, who were, it is believed, stolen from their biological parents and sold to other couples. the system began during the franco years and went on until way after the death of the spanish dictator. the church, clinics, lawyers, were all apparently involved. and for many of those torn away from their families, the legacy has been devastating. reporter: remembering her childhood makes mercedes sad. her parents lied to her all her life. only on his deathbed 10 years ago did her father admit to her what she had long suspected, he and his wife were not her biological parents.
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mercedes: they raised me to be honest, and upright, and to always tell the truth. but then they did this to me. reporter: after they died, mercedes began researching. and found conflicting documents, two birth certificates, one from malaga and one from seville, and two baptismal certificates. she knows these documents must be forged. and so the 60-year-old has a devastating suspicion. mercedes: i think i was stolen when i was a baby. these documents are like those of other stolen children. reporter: from the 1930's through the 1990's, up to 300,000 children were taken away from their parents, who were told that their children had
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died. the newborn infants of political opponents or unwed mothers were sold to childless couples who supported franco. genetic tests have proven that birth certificates were forged to conceal these dealings. mari cruz is convinced that she, too, was a victim of such schemes. she gave birth to a premature baby in madrid in 1980. six days after his birth, the incubator was empty, and she was told her son had died. mari cruz and her husband wanted to see their dead baby and take it. mari: they refused to show us the baby. they said it was so deformed that they didn't want to upset us. when we insisted, they asked whether we had 200,000 pesetas for the burial. in the 1980's, that was a lot of money. reporter: mari cruz let herself be intimidated.
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but now she is looking for her son, whom she is sure was stolen from her. she works in a self-help group for other victims, mothers, fathers, and children. an attorney is representing the victims in court. finally one of the people involved in this mass crime, gynecologist eduardo vela, has been accused of child abduction and document forgery. the 85-year-old defendant refuses to give interviews, but in 2010 some victims questioned him with a hidden camera. he claimed that distressed mothers had given their children up voluntarily, though there were no documents to show this. eduardo: the archive with the mothers' documents has been burned. i personally burned the obstetric records and the parents' declarations of agreement to adoption. mari: it just makes me sick. it infuriates me that this man
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might die before he is convicted. reporter: the attorney says the parents did not agree to give these children up for adoption. it was a systematic political and business measure, with government and church complicity. guillermo: this is not the idea of one doctor alone. he needed officials who knew about and covered up these irregularities. reporter: the scandal involves all of spain, children for money. the justice department refuses to comment. mercedes is tormented by so many questions. was she sold? if so, then how much did the couple who adopted her pay for her? she can't imagine that the people who brought her up with so much love could have known about the crimes underlying the adoption.
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mercedes: i think that they, too, were deceived. i don't think they acted maliciously. reporter: mercedes has taken a genetic test and added the result to a database. she hopes to find blood relatives, siblings, nieces or nephews, maybe even her biological parents, and to learn what happened to her after her birth. peter: and we can only wish mercedes all the very best in her quest for the truth. now today's sweden is an aging society. and the proportion of single-person households is among the highest in europe at around 50%. so with a growing number of senior citizens living alone, the question is, how do they find new friends? well, whether it's romance or companionship they're looking for, there is a solution. birgitta: hello, hello, everybody, hello. you may talk for seven minutes, starting now. i'll set the egg timer.
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♪ reporter: these men and women have come to the senior center this afternoon to make some new friends. they've got just seven minutes to get acquainted. speed-daters have to put their best foot forward as fast as they can and get an first impression of the person they're talking to. ♪ reporter: is this person my type or not so much? the seven-minute limit means there's no time for shyness. you have to plunge right in. ♪ birgitta: when you see people chatting away, you hope they might get together again and do something fun. that's our goal. that's what we want. reporter: time's up. more than a few are surprised at how much they had to say. >> it really was quite easy to get talking. [laughter]
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nothing like i thought it would be. [laughter] >> it was wonderful. reporter: for the next round, they change partners. speed dating keeps you on your toes. there's a snack too. all the conversation works up an appetite. birgitta: after a certain age, it's not that easy to make new friends. it's hard to break into existing social circles, where everyone already has their friends. >> it can be a problem. how are you supposed to find a male partner, especially one that doesn't just want you to cook for him? reporter: but most of the speed-daters here aren't looking for romance. they'd be happy to find some new friends.
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slowly but steadily, the pace picks up. with no time to waste, the conversations get more and more animated. some of the seniors seem a bit out of practice. >> after my wife died, i lost all of our friends. there were a few who said they'd be in touch, but nothing ever happened. reporter: the speed dating get-together is held once a month in huddinge, a municipality in southern stockholm. ♪ reporter: birgitta winblad and her friends organize the meetings. they met each other at one. birgitta: how was it, gunbrith? [laughter] >> very nice. i've only been twice so far. i got these ladies as part of the deal. [laughter] reporter: they meet up often these days.
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it helps keep their spirits up, they say. everyone here has already lost members of their family, and the memories can weigh heavily on them. >> some of my friends and acquaintances died much too early. it's very sad. i've been feeling pretty lonely. i'm pinning my hopes on these meetings. i believe in them. reporter: shared hobbies and interests can help bridge the gap. the key to successful speed dating is quickly figuring out what you might have in common. >> it was very nice. we found out he's interested in electronics, and i am too. >> yes, my telephone number is 0704.
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reporter: the two exchange phone numbers. their speed-dating experience is off to a promising start. with any luck, it will be the beginning of a new friendship. ♪ peter: and with that heartwarming story from sweden, that is all for today. thanks very much indeed for joining us. if you'd like to see any of our reports again, just go to our home page at or visit our facebook page, dw stories. but until next time, it's bye-bye and tschuss. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪
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steves: we're in rothenburg, germany's ultimate walled city. in the middle ages, when frankfurt and munich were just wide spots on the road, rothenburg was one of germany's largest cities, with a whopping population of 6,000.
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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,
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with its beefy fortifications and intimidang gates, is about a mile around anprovides 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 roturg, and as w customary they planned to execute the town leaders and pillage and plunder the place. but the catholic general had an idea. he said, "hey,f someon in ts town can dri "a tee-liter tkard 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.
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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.
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