tv Focus on Europe PBS December 18, 2017 7:30pm-8:01pm PST
♪ michelle: a very warm welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. germany is in the midst of a political crisis, one that the country has not experienced since the federal republic was formed after world war ii. for the first time, there will be no new government in berlin. after eight weeks, government coalition talks, aimed at forming a so-called jamaica-coalition of christian democrats, liberals, and the greens, have collapsed. >> we believe we were on a path where we could have reached an agreement, said chancellor angela merkel, and that's why i'm sorry we could not find a common solution. michelle: chancellor angela
merkel stands empty-handed. and this doesn't suit french president emanuel macron, who has big plans for europe. he wants to comprehensively reform the e.u., but he needs germany at his side. some of his most passionate supporters, like the parisian chantal leib, worry that without the support of their teutonic neighbor, europe's future could look bleak. >> robust relations between paris and berlin are vital for a strong europe. that's the firm belief of chantal leib from paris. a supporter of emmauel macron's la republique en marche party, she's disappointed by the failure to form a government in berlin. she and a friend of hers say the setback in berlin means yet another delay to macron's vision of a united europe. chantal leib: if we don't move forward, germany will focus on russia and china, and france on the mediterranean, and that'll
be the end of europe. [applause] reporter: emmanuel macron has championed a europe with a joint army and an elected president, a vision chantal leib shares. back home in her apartment, she tells us she has very personal reasons for supporting a more integrated europe. her father was a french jew, her mother a german christian. her background is one reason chantal identifies strongly as a european. chantal leib: i grew up with europe. we always had different european cultures around the table, and we celebrated various european festivals and holidays. reporter: but this vision of an integrated europe, powered by the franco-german alliance, is not popular with everyone in france. julien aubert belongs to the center-right republican party. he believes the crisis in germany is an opportunity for france to stop relying so heavily on berlin.
julien aubert: in the past, we had an irrational hatred of the germans. now we have an irrational love for them. but we don't benefit from giving germany the key to the truck and then hitching ourselves to the back. france needs to stop that. reporter: chantal leib, on the other hand, feels it's important for germany to overcome its government crisis as soon as possible. she wonders if it's time for germany to begin a new political movement like macron's en marche, offering an alternative to the traditional parties. chantal leib: the germans should take part of the cdu, part of the spd, and part of the fdp, and found a new movement. i don't think the established system of parties is working for germany anymore. reporter: what with brexit and now uncertainty in germany, many french analysts believe emmanuel macron will struggle to push
through his european reforms. remi bourgeot: we already had something of a blockade before, that's nothing new for the e.u. but this new situation of uncertainty and the political crisis in germany will make it even harder to reform the eurozone and the e.u. reporter: here at kiez, a berlin-themed bar in paris, where chantal leib's french-german group meets regularly, some believe the crisis could also be an opportunity. perhaps the franco-german alliance will now become a relationship of equals. matthieu crevits: if angela merkel wants to move forward with europe, she will need to listen to emmanuel macron and his en marche party. reporter: but right now, chancellor merkel has more pressing issues. relations with france and efforts to reform europe are on hold. first she has to have a functioning government.
michelle: while france envisions a united europe, england once to break away, and for fishermen along england's coast, britain's vote to leave the european union was a dream come true. after years of having to share the north sea with dutch fishermen to meet rules set by the e.u., the u.k. would finally, in their terms, "take back control" of their own waters. but as our reporter found out when he met with a british fisherman, while they can be sure to expect bigger and bigger hauls of fish, there's a catch. 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 joy: my brother is fishing and cousins are fishing, but for my family, this looks like the last generation. 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. each year the e.u. draws up north sea fishing quotas by fish type and country. paul joy: 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 betsema: 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. 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 visser: 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. pim visser: 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 fisherm 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 betsema: 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. reporter: after eight hours at sea, paul joy's small fishing boat returns to hastings. reporter: so overall the catch was ok? paul joy: alright. not many soles, but enough other stuff to make it up. so it was alright. 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 favourite fish, cod, which is the classic main ingredient in fish and chips. the british want to maintain this trade after brexit. paul joy: 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. but brexit is a fact. i hope we just carry on, and we actually unite to get there at the end of the day. reporter: but joy's worried that 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. michelle: imagine being taught to count with bullets and grenades instead of apples and oranges. or to mistrust and attack those around you considered non-believers. that is what's happening to the children of the estimated 5000 e.u. citizens who left their countries to join the so-called islamic state. after the fall of raqqa, in syria, the isis caliphate is considered beaten. now europe must ask itself, how should governments deal with the return of its children, its citizens, caught in the crossfire? ♪ reporter: europe is afraid of
these children. this is a camp for detained i.s. fighters and their families. it's mostly women and children who wait here before being returned to their home countries. but no one wants them. a belgian reporter tries to make that clear to a dutch woman. yes, she says, she knows she'll have to readjust. he asks her if she's aware she'll be sent to prison. she is, but says that's better for her children than staying here. is she aware that people in the netherlands don't trust her? yes, she says, but everyone deserves a second chance. the french defense minister sees things differently, saying, quote -- >> the more jihadists who die, the better. rory stewart: unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them.
koen geens: the children are also under suspicion, and we take precautions for their return. reporter: return? many think that terrorists should rot in the camps. but what do people with children and grandchildren currently trapped in syria think of such statements? veronique loutes' son was one of the conspirators in the 2016 attack in brussels. he's still my son, she says. he died in syria and left behind two of her grandchildren there. veronique has never seen them. veronique loute: i believe that there is still something good in these young people. they are not just monsters. is it not more the case that they were so skillfully manipulated that they became monsters? certainly i.s. is a machine that creates monsters. but there is still a glimmer of hope that they can be normal again. i don't know for sure, but i
think we should have a bit of faith in them. reporter: the belgian town of vilvoorde represents that hope. here, jessika soors deals with the numerous problems that the unwelcome homecomers bring with them. jessika soors: let's say educational institutions, schools, or daycare would have a lot of questions about how to deal with the child, also questions about security. but if one day the parent shows up there, if you're talking about older children, let's say children above the age of 10 who might have had some active contribution to the conflict, who might have been enrolled in the i.s. educational system, you might also need other types of debriefing for those children. so a lot of very complex issues arise that clearly are also far above the local capacity.
reporter: the ruins of raqqa, syria. even worse than the damage to the surroundings is the reporter: it's beautiful when children sing, but this is an i.s. war song. it's the only one they know. they tell of what they've learned about jihad, how to blow themselves up, how to use weapons. and that they were afraid of their teachers, because they beheaded people. lessons at i.s. schools include learning to tell time in english, using timed detonators, size relationships using weapons and ammunition, and lessons in disassembling weapons. psychologist alain nlandu has successfully treated child soldiers. now he treats children of the i.s. are they dangerous? alain nlandu: yes. yes, simply because they came from a war zone.
either they were traumatized themselves, or they possibly traumatized other people, because in the war zone there were explosions, mass murders, and hails of bullets. they have heard thousands of different human screams that were the result of torture. if we want to pull these children back, we need institutions and specialists that can accompany them. you can't just go there and say, "great, you guys are belgian, so come on back," because we don't know in what state they are coming back. reporter: are they all future terrorists? if so, let them stay where they are, say some in europe. but will that solve the problem? jessika soors: it's more of a reality call i would say. and just ignoring the issue
won't make it go away, so it's investing in social cohesion from both sides, and we also have a lot of successful experiences with reintegrating returned foreign fighters. michelle: it seems it is not the safety of the returned children that worries most governments, but the security of their own positions. organic food is all the rage nowadays. activists argue that fewer pesticides are good for the environment and for our health. but not everyone sees it that way. farmers pitted on either side of the argument are at war, one that has come to a head in a small village in italy's south tyrol. ♪ reporter: brown leaves and an odd smell made apple farmer agidius wellenzohn suspicious. wellenzohn, from mals in south tyrol, soon realised something was wrong.
agidius wellenzohn: you can see that these leaves have been damaged or burnt by a herbicide. it happened this autumn, just before the harvest. someone sprayed these trees with glyphosate. reporter: now wellenzohn may be unable to sell organic apples from this orchard for years. he's certain it was an act of sabotage. agidius wellenzohn: why? well, i guess some people didn't like my activism for a pesticide-free mals and organic farming. reporter: agidius wellenzohn and many other environmental activists want their village of mals to remain pesticide-free. in a 2013 referendum, the villagers made clear that they reject pesticides. and they don't want a monoculture of endless apple orchards. those already dominate agriculture and the economy in
the valley below. apples generate about 300 million in turnover annually. the provincial councilor for agriculture is a conventional apple farmer. he doesn't think the attack is linked to the conflict in mals. arnold schuler: i don't think this is because someone expressed criticism. there were several incidents of sabotage. first, there were four cases here in vinschgau against an organic orchard, a conventional orchard, and two in the process of transitioning. reporter: not everyone is convinced. urban gluderer has been producing organic herbs for 26 years. his neighbors are conventional apple farmers. they apparently don't care if their pesticides affect gluderer's organic crops. urban gluderer: you wake up at half past 6:00 in the morning from the noise of the spraying machine. you rush outside to protect your crops. we've covered our entire crops with tarp.
we invested 200,000 because they keep using these chemicals. reporter: for years, gluderer has been collecting evidence of his neighbors' actions. he's asked the regional government for support, so far to no avail. urban gluderer: my resistance isn't welcome. especially when it goes against the farmers' lobby, which we call the farming mafia. they're incredibly powerful. reporter: in mals, there's widespread resistance to conventional farming. whether farmers, business owners, hairdressers, or pharmacists, they all reject conventional agriculture, despite the personal threats. johannes fragner-unterpertinger: we've been fighting for a pesticide-free countryside and agriculture for years. this nefarious attack on an organic orchard, which doesn't even use organic pesticides, but none at all, is inexplicable and outrageous to me. it's an absolute moral low-point.
♪ reporter: the village activists are also concerned about the results of a study indicating that two-thirds of vinschgau's playgrounds are contaminated with agricultural chemicals. ♪ arnold schuler: those are only traces that don't constitute a health hazard. with today's scientific methods, you can find the smallest traces of substances. johannes fragner-unterpertinger: if you apply the precautionary principle, as stipulated by the constitution, health concerns come first. so this must have consequences. we will insist on that. reporter: the pesticide conflict also has a legal dimension. can a small village use a referendum to make such a major decision? ulrich veith: some farmers from mals and farmers from other towns who farm land here took legal action because they felt they'd suffered losses and the
town wasn't responsible. bolzano's administrative court dismissed the case. reporter: despite the attack, organic farmer wellenzohn remains undeterred. agidius wellenzohn: everyone has to face the truth. that's just how it is. and i don't see any grounds to change the way i farm or to change my attitude. ♪ reporter: the south tyrol villagers' fight against pesticides is gaining attention. now, switzerland has said it will hold a referendum on the use of pesticides next year. michelle: the consequences of climate change are varied. from extreme weather episodes to dormant microbes waking. in russia, the soil in its permafrost regions is beginning to thaw, resulting in the emergence of bones and entire carcasses from the ice age. now scientists say they are on
the brink of reviving an ancient beast from extinction. ♪ reporter: it may look a little wrinkly, but then it is pretty old. the scientists here have named her yuka. she's a strawberry blonde woolly mammoth. >> it stinks. [laughter] >> it smells bad. reporter: in her defence, yuka has been dead for around 34,000 years now. these days, she spends her time at the permafrost kingdom, a museum in the russian city of yakutsk. scientists hope woolly mammoths will one day walk the earth again, thanks to yuka's dna, which has been extraordinarily well preserved. semyon grigoriev dreams of bringing back these woolly giants. he wants to set up an international center for mammoth studies here in yakutsk. he's stored his most important specimen at minus 86 degrees
celsius. it's a fully grown female mammoth, which the scientists have named buttercup. grigoriev says buttercup's trunk is a real treasure trove. semyon grigoriev: when we cut into it, we found a number of areas where the flesh was still red. we found real muscle tissue, that's amazing. this trunk offers our best hope of finding living cells. reporter: it was 2013 when semyon grigoriev made what he says was the most amazing discovery of his life. only buttercup's tusks were protruding out of the ice. the rest of her was buried in the permafrost on an island in northern siberia. when the team of scientists removed the ice underneath the mammoth's stomach, they witnessed something that had
never happened before. dark blood came trickling out of the ice. amazingly, it wasn't frozen. ♪ reporter: grigoriev later discovered that the carcass was over 28,000 years old. he had often heard stories of how locals fed mammoth meat to their dogs. but this was the first time that he had actually come face to face with beautifully preserved mammoth flesh. semyon grigoriev: in this tissue, which is tens of thousands of years old, we are hoping to find living cells. that's not easy, of course, almost impossible in fact. reporter: the cell nucleus could be implanted into the egg of a female asian elephant, the mammoth's closest living relative, which could then give birth to a hybrid mammoth. but there is another way, which is looking more feasible.
genetic engineering and the artificial synthesis of the complete mammoth dna. semyon grigoriev: in five, 10, or at most, 20 years, we will have created artificial mammoth dna molecules. i very much hope that i will be around to witness it. if not, it will be our children who will see the mammoth resurrected. reporter: it was humans who were once responsible for driving mammoths to extinction. now, thousands of years later, they could also be the ones to resurrect these giants of the ice age. michelle: it sounds a bit like jurassic park. it didn't end well for us or them in that film. here's hoping for a better outcome. that's it for today. thank you for watching. see you next time. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪