13/12/2013 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. On the show today:


Iain Duncan Smith tells people on benefits that they must speak


English or see their payments cut. We will have the details.


Could Britain become Europe's top destination for prostitution? That's


the warning from a Labour politician who says the law should change. We


will talk to her, and a former sex worker.


Jo reports from Berlin on Angela Merkel's new coalition government,


which should get a final go-ahead this weekend. What does it mean for


Europe? Could the world be turned upside


down in 2014? We will be gazing into the Daily Politics crystal ball and


giving you our top political predictions for the year ahead.


All that in the next hour. And with us for the next half an hour is


Carla Buzasi, editor in chief of the online newspaper Huffington Post UK.


Welcome. Let's start this morning by talking about the government's plans


to cut down on benefits tourism. The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain


Duncan Smith, says that migrants whose English is deemed to be so


poor that they would struggle to find work in this country could be


denied benefits. The announcement comes just a couple of weeks before


restrictions on immigration from Romania and Bulgaria are lifted.


Our correspondent joins me now. Can you give us an idea of what is being


proposed here? It is not just being proposed, it is being rolled out in


Jobcentres across England, Scotland and Wales this week and next. It is


a tougher habit jewel residents' test which migrants who come into


the country will have to pass before they can claim benefits. The idea


was to make sure people are coming here because they want to contribute


to the economy, not take advantage of the benefits system. The staff in


the Jobcentres will now be able to introduce a new range of questions.


One of them will be about whether the person's grasp of English is


good enough for them to have a realistic chance of getting work


here. The staff will also be able to look at things like that family


connections, housing arrangements, how long they have been in the


country and so on. So clearly, someone with little English who does


not seem to have been making an effort to look for work before they


come into the country, has nowhere to live and has no family to stay


with is unlikely to get sufficient documentation to claim benefits,


whereas if you have obviously been looking for work, you have job


interviews coming up, somewhere to stay and relatives you can stay


with, you are more likely to get it. This is about what Iain Duncan


Smith calls cracking down on benefits tourism, which many people


have argued about how much there is. Has the government given an


indication that it is sure this would be legal under the Treaty of


Rome free movement of labour provisions? Well, even the old test


is already being challenged by officials in the European


Commission. They are already planning to take the UK to court


because they feel it discriminates against workers from other parts of


the European Union. Iain Duncan Smith's people say they will fight


that robustly, and they are confident that their new test can


also be defended. Is the requirement to speak English properly going to


apply to British people as well? It is not applied to British people at


the moment, but there is a wider look at the whole benefit system


going on ahead of the next election. George Osborne said to the select


committee yesterday that billions more would have to be found from


benefits. One thing they are looking at is the benefits cap, whether it


could be brought down from the current level of 26,000. That is


being considered. What do you make of this? I am


terrified about the rhetoric around this. People are coming here as


tourists, it is all a sop to the people's fears, and yet we know


migrants are great for this country. I feel it is a knee jerk


political reaction rather than looking at the issues. But they are


clearly worried that a lot of Bulgarians and Romanians are going


to come. They don't know, but they are terrified that it will fall back


on them. We have interviewed people in those countries. We have spoken


to someone who is coming and already has interviews lined up, and we are


going to follow her through next year, because we want to see what


the reality is. There is the idea that we are going to be flooded by


people from other countries who will take our benefits, and nobody is


interrogating whether that is true. Do you think they should be able to


speak English? It will obviously help get a job. But what about our


people who retire to Spain. They can't speak Spanish. But they are


not taking benefits. But they need access to benefits they get over


there. They have access to the health care system, that is a quid


pro quo. We have to be careful that it is not one rule for us and


another for everyone else. What is wrong with that? Right, time for a


quiz. What does David Cameron want for Christmas? A new smartphone with


megapixel camera? A Nigella Lawson cookbook? A Mumford Sons CD?


Awesome squidgy tennis balls? Do you know the answer? I could have a


guess. Don't. Now, should it be illegal to pay for sex? Last week,


France became the latest European country to decide it should be. The


French government is following the so-called Nordic model where it is


the purchaser and not the seller of sex who faces criminal action. In


the UK, paying for a prostitute is not illegal, but soliciting, curb


crawling and running a brothel are. Our laws are increasingly out of


step with the rest of Europe, with more countries like France and


Northern Ireland following the example of Sweden, which changed its


laws in 1998 and is said to have cut street prostitution by two thirds.


Even countries like the Netherlands and Germany, where prostitution has


been legal for a number of years, are becoming disillusioned and are


considering tightening their laws. It means the UK could be out of step


with the rest of Europe and a number of MPs, peers and women's groups


said Britain could become a magnet for prostitution unless we change


our laws. It could put pressure on Theresa May to tighten prostitution


laws as part of the government 's human trafficking bill due to be


published this month. But senior police officers are already warning


that any change in the law would be difficult to enforce. I am joined


now by the Labour MEP Mary Honeyball, who wants the UK to


follow the rest of Europe in changing our laws, and Charlie


Daniels, a former sex worker who wrote a book on her experiences.


Mary Honeyball, the police chief in charge of dealing with prostitution


in England and Wales says changing the law to prosecute those buying


sex will" drive prostitutes into dark and unsafe areas of our


cities". Well, they already are often in dark and unsafe areas. Of


course, the police will have a respect on this, but as you said in


the introduction, a lot of European governments as well as myself now


believe that we should be looking at reducing prostitution and at the


same time reducing human trafficking, which is closely linked


to it. Some statistics say as much as 90% of those women who work in


prosecution have been trafficked. But prostitution and trafficking are


of course connected, but they are also separate issues. Trafficking is


illegal. Prostitution has a different set of laws. We have the


power at the moment to deal with trafficking if we choose to do so.


You want to change the law on prostitution. There is evidence from


Sweden, where they have had this law since 1996, that if you criminalise


the buyer, usually a man, the number of women trafficked will go down.


But the evidence is that they are off the streets, but they could have


gone elsewhere. The Danish are not keen on this. But the police officer


who made those comments, it is the streets that are the dark and


dangerous places. What do you think? I am not a former sex worker, I am a


current sex worker and I defend the right of any woman who chooses to


sell her body behind closed doors, causing no other in legal issues.


And what is your attitude to the changes that Mary wants to see? I am


jaded with this argument. I have had 20 years of people suggesting


decriminalisation, changing this or that law. There is an obvious


solution. But it does not suit politicians. It is positive


intervention with young people in care. 90% of young people in care


who are in institutes and prisons and the street girls, have spent


time in care. We need to prevent, not cure. But, clarify, are you


against those who pay for sex? I am against the criminalisation of


clients for the indoor markets. I do feel that there might be some


discussion that is feasible for those women who work on the streets,


because the clients who are outdoors those who want a woman without a


condom or want to kill women or want the woman in a vulnerable situation.


There is no room for those clients. The Mary Honeyball, how would you


enforce this if you were to criminalise the client? In the end,


this is an act between two people. There is money involved, but there


has to be consent as well. If neither of them is prepared to admit


to money passing hands, how do you enforce it? It is being enforced in


Sweden, so there are lessons to be learnt from that. Also, I totally


take what Charlie is saying about sex workers who work indoors. That


is maybe a different market. But in street prostitution, there is a lot


of violent and rape involved. There are crimes continually being


committed. If you look at the trafficking side, that is a crime as


well. So there is a huge amount of criminal behaviour happening which


is already persecuted. In a sense, criminalising the buyer is part of


that package. The police manage to deal with the other parts of it, so


this is a case of the police creating difficulty which may not be


there. I know we have some common ground here, so forgive me, but


don't you think that if we strip all this back and look at the women who


are exploited, raped, trafficked and abused, we don't seem to be


concentrating on them. There is a core of lobbyists who are feminist.


Forgive me for saying, but you said on your own blog that you don't find


the sale of sex acceptable. So the problem is that as long as the


debate is not looking at these serious issues, trafficking is a


problem that has happened with immigration. Women from other


countries are already here for commercial reasons because of the


pound and the euro. Where is the proof that there is going to be a


big rush? They are here. I have quadrupled in numbers because of lax


immigration laws. A lot of that is right, and that concerns me. You are


also right to say that I don't think it is right that women should be


able to sell their bodies. I come at it from that aspect of. But you


don't want to criminalise that? Why criminalise my clients if I choose


to sell my body? Because there was a big issue society needs to tackle,


which is that prostitution in any society which allows women to sell


their bodies makes women I meet all. I think you are taking away a


woman's choice. I don't ask for the vote, I have never voted in my life,


but these respect the fact that I choose to sell my body and are


thousands of women who do. Carla, what is your view? It is


fascinating. We were talking before the show about what side of the


argument I was on, and I find that on both sides... , oh, no! Women


need to be protected. If you criminalise this further, it will


force people down those alleyways. It is the oldest profession in the


books. I think men will always find a way to pay for sex, and if we


criminalise it, will we put more women at risk 's --? What would


happen to the porn industry? It is very closely linked. It involves


pavement... The thing about the porn industry... We need to look at it


more closely than we are. There's a lot of evidence coming out that


teenagers who look at porn actually get very unrealistic


expectations... I agree with you, I've seen it with the younger


clients. We do need to educate men about sex and respectability. You've


seen the impact of younger people looking at porn? Absolutely. I've


had younger clients who think it is appropriate to spit on someone


because they've seen that in a movie. Completely inappropriate. We


do need to protect the vulnerable women in the industry. I completely


agree with you all stop I've talked to quite a lot of survivors, most of


whom have come from that sort of background, have come from care, who


were exploited. I came from care but I choose to do this now. Respect


that decision. What do the words "digital switchover" mean to you?


It's likely you're thinking of the move of terrestrial TV from analogue


to digital. But there's another digital switchover in the offing -


for radio. It was originally slated to happen in 2015, but in a speech


next week the Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, is expected to announce the


date has been pushed back. Here's Giles.


Digital radio. No more hiss, crystal clear sound, lots of choice, but AM


and FM switch off. That was the deal. But in terms of that process,


government, manufacturers and broadcasters have had to go back to


the drawing board and adapt the plan, because building public


interest from scratch as proved harder than expected. Here at Pure


Radio's headquarters, they made a commercial decision to create set


that get both signals. If you go back about ten years, it became very


clear very quickly that not only the UK but all international markets,


the transition to digital would be a relatively slow process with many


steps along the way, as networks roll-out. It was important that


there was the capability for radios to take care of the digital signal


but also the analogue signal as well. That's a recognition that even


though they are world leaders in digital radio, and that this country


leads the world in hardware and software inside them, in terms of


the method of transmission, which they don't control, the public seem


not to be entirely on the same wavelength. The original idea was


that when digital listening reached 50%, people would have two years to


switch over. Now digital listening is below that, so what I'm saying is


I don't think we should give people this narrow two your window.


Instead, we should look for digital listening to be 75% before we decide


on the switchover term. So far, only a fifth of us have switched. Just


one in 20 of us have it in our cars. Smaller FM stations have complained


at the much higher cost of broadcast, and our coverage areas is


patchy. And if you don't have a digital set, if analogue is switched


off you will have to buy one. In the middle of a cost of living crisis, I


think that's a cost that people don't need. It might cost somebody


between ?20 to ?50 at, and ?100 to convert their car. That is quite a


lot of money. The digital will be the future, that's not in doubt.


Next week, the government announces plans for that timetable and the


industry, a UK success story, is wary. When it comes to processor


core technology, the kind of electronics that's driving this


graphics programme and makes digital radios work, Britain leads the


world. But when it comes to business, and all businesses, the


last thing they want and need is unc ertainty. With uncertainty, a


business like ourselves can plan around that. But the with


uncertainty, a business like ourselves can plan around that. But


preparing their product range and strategies and delivery of digital


radio stations and retailers can plan around that and make sure they


are preparing their product range and strategies and delivery of ready


for the consumer, but consumer. If we are able to give a certainty to


digital switchover, consumers can make sure that when they are buying


a new product that digital is standard within that product what is


in the best interest of the consumer. If we are able to give a


certainty to digital switchover, consumers can make sure that when


they are buying a new product that digital is standard within that And


we've been joined by Ford Ennals, who, as the chief executive of


Digital Radio UK, is responsible for preparing the ground for digital


switchover. In the world of digital radio, politicking has potential


risks, and nobody wants the idea to become a complete Ed Vaizey will be


making a speech at the BBC on Monday. He will digital is the


future for radio. He will say we are planning a digital switchover. What


he won't say is he is setting a date. He will say that there will be


government digital is the future for radio. He will say we are planning a


digital switchover. What he won't say is he is setting a date. He will


say that there will be DA people love DAV if they've got great


reception. If they happened, they are concerned. We need to make sure


that people will get a robust signal people love DAV if they've got great


reception. If they happened, they are concerned. We need to make sure


that people will get a robust signal. Just as we did with TV, we


built transmitter so everyone could get the will mean. What the


government will confirm on Monday is they are going to sustain it hit


will happen on radio as well. You asked a question about FM and what


it will mean. What the government will confirm on Monday is they are


going to sustain, and the Minister will say it is not happening in 20,


and the Minister will say it is not happening in 2015


The digital radios you get today have FM as well.


The local stations will stay on FM. But I am talking about the national


stations. You need to get a digital set or listen on your iPad or your


iPhone. But we are talking about seven years away, and think about


the trans-formation we have already seen. Almost half of homes have a


Diaby radio already. So you are right, there will be a transition of


the national BBC services from FM to digital and other platforms. But


will cricket still be on the long wait 's that is for the BBC to


decide. No call has been made on that. This could be the game


changer! You are on a fine edge here. At the moment, you can listen


to the cricket overnight on 5 Live sports extra. If you compare that


with trying to listen on medium wave, where the quality is very


poor... Do people still listen to medium wave? They do. 7 million


still listen to talk sport and 5 Live. But you would not want music


on medium wave. There is some music. Absolute have music on there. But we


would expect to see a transition from medium wave to FM and digital.


But it is a lot of money to replace all the radios in different rooms.


In the home, there are about two radios that everybody is using, and


many others that are dormant. Freeview is digital as well. The big


talk was that is going to go to the mobile phone companies for 4G. They


will need new equipment. That will cause a new row as well. I don't


think there's any announcement about that yet. What we are focusing on is


this transition over a period of time. Digital radio is now lost...


I've got a digital radio in my car. The quality is not that great. It


will be where you have great reception and coverage. But that's


true of FM as well. What will be announced on Monday by the Minister


is an investment in hundreds of transmitters that will improve


coverage, particularly on road networks. Good. You are in a perfect


position to lobby to make sure that the cricket is still on the right


wave. Are you ready? Do you listen to radio on the radio? I don't, I


don't use radio now. I get it all through my tablet and smartphone. I


love it. Menu to tablet and smartphone, but I've also got one of


these boxes that you put your iPhone in as well. That allows you to get


better sound. An old steam radio, whose death has been predicted again


and again, the more ways you can listen to radio, whether through


your satellite system, Freeview or through the tablets and all the rest


of it, I think the more people are listening to radio. Radio has been


incredibly robust, over 90% of people still listen to radio every


week. But we can't stand still. We do need to make this transition


towards digital. We need to discuss that on Monday and work to deliver


it over the next seven years. Good luck, because there's going to be a


huge row. You never mess with the radio for audience, you know that!


It's 2014, the decorations are packed away, you've recovered from


your festive hangovers and that unfortunate incident with the


eggnog. But what does the world look like now, and what are the odds on a


happy political New Year? In a moment, we will talk to Philip


Coggan, who makes predictions for the Economist. Now let's cross to


College Green. Give us the odds for next year, Alex. The one I think


would be most relevant to you is the Scottish independence. For- one.


That was 5-1 we've cut the odds. I've got people who work for me, you


know. There's growing confidence. At first the odds were quite long. We


thought it was almost certain to be no. But there seems to be more


confidence returning to the yes. One man in Scotland yesterday put


?10,000 down. Was that Alex Salmond? I'm not sure. Still against


independence. You put up ?1 down and you get ?4 back if the Scots vote to


go. You look pretty clear that UKIP is in with a very good chance of


coming top of the poll. Absolutely. Even money favourite. They've been


the favourite for quite a long time. Labour just behind them. When I was


speaking to our political compiler yesterday, he says that of all the


bets on the board here today, this is the best bet. Take us through all


the other odds you've got there. Millar interest rates to rise, 4-6.


That's the most likely to happen. 11-10 the other side. Ed Balls will


be replaced at 3-1. That would suggest he is probably fairly safe.


Boris Johnson to be parachuted into the House of Commons at 5-1. That


should be 10-1. Looking at things that have real outside chances,


England to win the World Cup, 33 - one. That should be 50-1! What are


the odds on us winning the third test? You name your price, I don't


think that's happening. We are joined by Philip Coggan, from the


Economist magazine. You do this every year will stop what did you


get wrong about 2013? Golly. I'm sure we got lots wrong. I can't


remember. It's the best thing not to remember. I think it's important we


work that out, so we can work that if we listen to you in 2014. What do


you think the themes will be for next year? The big theme is the


threat to Western democracy. We are seeing a bottom-up problem, voters


are not getting the improvements and prosperity they expect. They are


seeing years of austerity and are turning to extremes. There is a


top-down problem, which is that the decisions people make up being taken


not out of the hands of voters but out of the hands of elected


representatives. Central bankers are the most powerful people in the


world. Fiscal policy in Europe is moving out of the hands of


governments and towards Brussels. If you add in the courts, which are


often on a European wide basis, the IMF is a very powerful force, then


voters vote, but do they really decide on who the powerful people


are who get into office? You were pro-European, probing new row for a


while as well. But we are in favour of a reformed EU. We all want that.


Whether David Cameron can get that is a different matter. Marine Le Pen


to do very well in next year's elections in France. UKIP, as we've


just seen in the odds, are to do well. There could be about 35% of


the European Parliament by next summer who will be outside the


mainstream right and sometimes the hard right. Absolutely, you have far


right parties in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Austria. There was


one in Italy. There is a vote in most of these countries of a quarter


to a third of people who are willing to try something new. In Ireland,


21% of the vote is going to Sinn Fein. In recent years, you have


chucked out governance of the centre-left or centre-right, put in


the opposition and got exactly the same policies, and people are fed up


with it. They don't see a difference between the two main parties, and


they are looking at who can offer something new. What about our


backyard? Cameron, Clegg and Miliband? Starting with Cameron,


everything depends on the state of the economy. Recent figures have


been quite good. We worry that too much of it is based on consumption


and not enough on revival and manufacturing. That is right, in


terms of the electoral cycle, he may get away with that for most of


2014. Yes, if anything goes wrong with that, it is more likely to be a


year or so ahead. It is very unlikely that interest rates will


rise next year, which means housing will not come under pressure. What


is the having post-prediction for 2014? There are similarities in


terms of the non-mainstream parties. They will rise next year. My concern


is where young people are being mobilised. They are totally turned


off politics. They don't believe in people elected by their parents and


generations before them. We have big personalities saying, don't bother


voting, it doesn't make a difference. I passionately hope


politicians will start talking to young people. They do. In France,


the largest percentage of young people in the 18-30 group of voting


for the National Front. They have tapped into the youth vote . Is that


because those are the only politicians talking to young


people? And the centralist parties who have held power have got


complacent and stopped talking to the generations coming up and are


just worried about those who did or did not vote for them last time.


Young people don't vote, old people do, and old people are getting the


benefits out of the pension and state, and young people have to pay


for it. If you are an established petition, you are drawn to appeal to


the elderly. If you look at youth unemployment, 60% in Spain, 30% in


France, it is remarkable that the extremes have not done better. Yes,


we are lucky in that they often appear a bit thuggish. And they are


not socially liberal, so that cuts them down. In Greece, you have 27%


or 28% voting for the far left. Thank you for that. Now, time to get


the answer to our question. What does David Cameron want for


Christmas? A smartphone, a Nigella Lawson cookbook, a Mumford Sons CD


or some squidgy tennis balls? I will go for the squidgy tennis balls.


What does that mean? I don't know. Neither do I, but he says that is


what he wants to play with his kids. Coming up in a moment, our


regular look at what has been going on in European politics. For now,


can't say goodbye my guest of the day, Carla.


So, for the next half-hour we will be focusing on Europe. We will


discuss the situation in Ukraine. The new coalition government in


Germany, and the reform of the European fisheries policy. First,


our guide to the latest from Europe in 60 seconds.


Good news for plug-in air passengers. The European Commission


says that in the future, devices like smartphones, tablets and


e-readers can be kept on in-flight mode during taxiing, take-off and


landing. The Maltese approved a controversial plan to sell their


passport for more than half ?1 million a time, in effect allowing


wealthy people to buy you citizenship.


-- EU citizenship. Pro-EU Ukrainians were attacked by


riot police during a visit by European foreign holiday chief


Baroness Ashton. The European Parliament approved a


new plan for trading power in mission credits. They are hoping to


encourage industries to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.


Finally, MEPs agreed changes to the common fisheries policy. From


January, overfishing and growing edible fish back into the sea will


be banned. With us now for the next 30 minutes,


I have enjoined by the new leader of the Conservative MEPs, Syed Kamall,


and by the Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies. Let's look at one of those stories


the European Parliament on fishing. You have been campaigning for


changes. Are you happy? It is a work in progress. There will be loopholes


that have to be tightened, but it is a dramatic transformation. The CFP,


the common fisheries policy, has been condemned for years because of


overfishing and the like. At the heart of the CFP reform is a legal


requirement to rebuild fish stocks when setting annual quotas and to


end the discarding of fish. What is the timescale? The discarding ban


comes in from 2015 . The rest of the policy will be implemented as soon


as possible. Syed Kamall, are you happy? Yes, it has been one of those


issues which has got consensus across political groups. We both


agree that more power should be brought back to member state. We


also agree on trying to end the process of discarding. So this is a


reform that has happened. Of all the issues people hate about the EU, the


CF he is at the top. This is a demonstration that it is possible to


bring about sensible reform and rebuild Europe's fish stocks. Now,


let's look at the situation in Ukraine. This week, pro-EU citizens


have continued their protests in the capital city of Kiev against the


decision of the Ukrainian government not to sign a deal on closer in you


ties. Riot police confronted the protesters, tearing down are caves.


The confrontation started when President Viktor Yanukovych


announced last month that he would not sign an agreement on free trade


with the EU, despite years of negotiations. His change of heart


came after pressure from Russia. You's -- pee you's high


representative on foreign affairs, Cathy Ashton, has been to Kiev this


week for talks with the president. She says he told her he intends to


sign the agreement after all. President Yanukovych made it clear


to me that he intends to sign the agreement. He talked about the


short-term economic issues that the country faces. It is my view that


those challenges, which are real, can be addressed by the support that


not only comes from the European Union institutions, but by showing


that he has a serious economic plan inside the agreement, which will


help to bring in investment. We are joined now by Ian Bond, director of


foreign policy at the think-tank, the Centre for European Reform. His


President Yanukovych really going to sign this? We think his family is


involved in some of these deals. Will he do it? He has said he is


going to do it. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Will


the Russians allow him to do it? That is neither here nor there. He


is not dependent on Russian gas as he was a few years ago. The fact


that the EU has brokered a deal to open the pipelines from Slovakia


back into the Ukraine means that he has more options there. But if the


Kremlin turn nasty, they could make life unpleasant or Ukraine. They


could in the short-term, but in the long-term, that is more likely to


drive Ukraine Westwood stands as wedding them to stick with Russia.


President Yanukovych is an old-style autocrat, isn't it? He is not the


ideal man to be trying to do business with. Is that what we call


a British understatement? Weak probably. But he was the elected


leader in 2010 and his term runs until 2015. So unless some


constitutional way is found for the opposition to take over from him, we


have no option but to deal with him. But there economy is shot to


hell. That is one of the drivers for Ukraine to get a better relationship


with the EU. They need to get a deal with the IMF, and the best way to do


that is with the help of EU. They want a lot of money from Europe. I


don't think they will get the 20 billion euros they are asking for,


but if they get more trade with Europe, we will buy things from them


and they will certainly buy more things from European Union


countries, which means they will buy less from Russia. And who buys


anything from Russia other than gas or oil? They don't make anything.


Russia regards Ukraine as their sphere of influence. Looking at the


way they behaved to Georgia and threats they have made to other


places, I would have thought this has the potential to be a major


international crisis. There was a possibility there. The relationship


between Russia and Ukraine is more balanced than you might think. There


are a lot of producers in eastern Ukraine who still supply the Russian


defence industry. So there is a limit to how far the Russians would


want to go to damage Ukrainian industry. We know that the West is


more westward looking. The young people are protesting in favour of


Europe and so on. We know the East is more Russians teaching and more


looking towards Moscow. Is there a possibility but the country could


split? That is unlikely. The Russians underestimate the extent to


which people, regardless of the language they speak, feel


Ukrainian. The polling supports that. How big a deal is this for


Europe? It is a big deal. We are not getting letters from constituents


saying this is important, but the EU feels on the back foot because of


the economic crisis. But here we have, in Kiev, people waving EU


flags and saying, our future is with the European Union. And pulling down


statues of Lenin. Very interesting. You thought you would see that 20


years ago. President Yanukovych tried to play off Russia against the


EU in order to get money, and it has not worked. Both Russia and the EU


think they are moving closer to their position. Will Europe have to


send development aid to Ukraine? I don't think so. Opening up trading


possibilities, lowering tariffs barriers and so on will help the


Ukrainian economy. There might have to be some short-term bridging


loans, but the main economic input has to come from the IMF. But it is


not just about trade, it is also about democratic reforms and


respecting pluralism and European values, as well as a more prosperous


economy. There was a time when Ukraine was considerably more


prosperous than Poland. Now Poland is considerably more prosperous than


Ukraine. You could say the glass is half full rather than half empty.


There is huge ground it could make up. Absolutely. For years, is the


Ukraine was a breadbasket for the old countries of the Soviet Union.


There is a lot of ground to make up, but Ukraine has to decide which way


to go. Optimistic? Cautiously positive. Back in September, German


voters went to the polls to elect a new government. And now with


Christmas just around the corner, Germany could be about to get a new


government, a coalition of the conservative CDU and the social


democratic SPD. This grand coalition is expected to get the final


go-ahead this weekend. But will an alliance of parties from the left


and right herald a new direction for the European Union? Jo Coburn went


to Berlin to investigate. The result of the election here in Germany back


in September saw Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats emerge as the


largest party, but still in need of coalition partners in order to form


a government. After almost 90 days of negotiation, it looks as if that


coalition is about to be formed between the left and right here in


Germany. But will the news bring any festive cheer to the people here and


across Europe? So the picture of government here


will look different in 2014. And it's clear which political direction


the social Democrats are taking the coalition. Even though the


Conservatives on the majority party in this coalition, everything is


moving towards the left. For example, we are going to see a


minimum wage being instituted here in Germany, and expansion of


pensions. So possibly big changes on the cards policy wise at home in


Germany, but what about relations with other European countries? In


Britain, David Cameron's attempts to take back powers from Brussels


certainly isn't going down well with many Social Democrats here. They


hate it. In Germany, not only by the Democrats, but especially with them,


there's a widespread feeling that England is cutting loose from Europe


and going its own way with the dreaded United States. That is very


widespread opinion. The Prime Minister may find common ground with


Angela Merkel's sister party in the coalition, the CSU. Particularly


when it comes to the issue of EU and benefits. We are in line with


Cameron, concerned with restriction of migration in our social security


systems. But we would not generally restrict the freedom -- the freedom


of movement, but prevent people from Romania and Bulgaria, for example,


to come to Germany only to benefit from our social security systems.


David Cameron's working relationship with Angela Merkel will be critical


to any future reform of the EU. I think she is quite open to support


Cameron if it comes to really pragmatic improvements. But if it


comes to give the Brits a special... Special treatment because


his domestic constituency is demanding for it, but if it doesn't


make sense in practical terms she will strictly oppose it. So Great


Britain and the rest of Europe will watch with interest as Germany's new


government gets to work, and see how much influence the left wing part of


the coalition has an daily life. Every coalition partner has impact


on the direction of this government. However, the


Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is very strong in all European issues. The


powerhouse of Europe is heralding in a new grand coalition in time for


Christmas. But any change in political direction for Germany is


unlikely to be dramatic at this stage, as all eyes will be on the


European elections next spring. One of the dangers of this


coalition, we will come to the implications for Britain in a


minute, but one of the dangers for Germany is it could be a recipe for


rigor mortis. It could be. The agreement is 185 pages long. We have


to get used to the idea that we have to give our politicians more time to


forge a coalition agreement in future. It could be. On the other


hand, it's a fascinating partnership. You have the CDU trying


to drive forward the economic enterprise. Then you have the others


saying a higher minimum wage and the like. A stronger economy, fairer


society. Unlike the Conservatives in this country, Mrs Merkel was never


ideological opposed to the minimum wage. She was quite sympathetic to


it. We look at Germany, the latest German industrial production figures


are terrible. We look at Germany as the one economic success story. But


it has two major problems. A huge productivity problem because the


population is ageing and collapsing, there will be 6 million


fewer Germans by 2030. And they have an energy policy which is proving to


be a disaster. The one really successful heavy industry country in


Europe and the energy policy doesn't match. I suggest to you that the


coalition will do nothing to tackle these two fundamental issues. I


wonder about that. What often happens, politicians go into an


election with all sorts of claims, then you knuckle down and get down


to the reality, not only of coalition politics but also the


world outside. Think about the way that Francois Hollande has tackled


some issues in a completely unexpected way. Reality will bite.


Conservative MEPs using Francois Hollande as an example of good


things that might happen to Germany, can you explain how that is going to


work? Merkel has been looking over her shoulder at the position on


nuclear power, for example. She was looking at the leader of the SDP and


saying, I don't want to be attacked by him. Now they are together and


they had to sort out this energy policy. And they are building more


coal-fired stations. It's madness. Subsidising solar power and building


the new stations. And they are using the dirtiest possible coal


imaginable. Here's the rub for Mr Cameron. There were a lot of


indications that Mrs Merkel was prepared to help Mr Cameron


repatriate, in his repatriating mission, no details but she seemed


reasonably sympathetic. We know the social Democrats have no sympathy


with this. This is a problem for the British Prime Minister. Cameron has


talked more about reformed and repatriation. Both Merkel and


Cameron, if you look at the situation they both face, they are


both strong leaders at the head of coalitions. They will make sure, by


working together, that they achieve as much of that reform as they can.


I would suggest the real significance is not the fact that a


grand coalition has been formed. It is that the institution that has run


Europe for 60 years, the Franco German alliance, has broken down.


Yes, it has. The leader of the left within the new Hjohlman coalition, I


doubt he has much time for Francois Hollande. It's just a matter of who


is credible. This is no longer a Europe of 15, it is 28 nations. They


have potential for building new alliances. You know that what gave


Europe its drive, the summit their direction and what decisions was the


fact that Paris and Berlin... But that was then and this is now. New


member states, Poland, getting stronger and stronger. No proper


banking union. The banking union, a major step was taken this week. The


risk is still with sovereigns. Indeed. It gives us a huge


opportunity for the reform agenda, led by Cameron and Merkel. As we


were discussing earlier, the European Union's foreign policy


supremo Cathy Ashton has been making headlines in recent weeks, getting


involved in the crisis in Ukraine as well as recently brokering an


international deal on Iran. She heads up an organisation called the


External Action Service. Never heard of it? Never fear. Here's Adam. It


is in Europe but not in the EU, so Switzerland has an outpost of the


External Action Service. The union's three-year-old diplomatic


corps. Around 2000 people, about two thirds of the service, are stationed


in outposts abroad. Brussels man in Byrne is Richard Jones, on


secondment from the Foreign Office after a stint in Iraq. Basra,


Brussels, any similarities? They both begin with B but apart from


that, no. First up, a meeting of diplomats from the 28 member states.


There isn't a name for a group of ambassadors, but critics say there


is one too many here. Why can't they just represent what the EU with?


They are the members of the EU. That is what we used to do. The


difficulty was that the presidency of the Council is a resident for six


months. It was like a relay race with people passing the battle


over. There's only so much you can do in six months. Then we are off to


the Swiss parliament for a chat with MPs, because next year there will be


a referendum on limiting migration from the EU. My job here has been to


set out the facts as we see them. The arguments which perhaps they


wouldn't hear if we didn't have a delegation here to explain them. If


that is the EU's relations with one country, here is where they have


them with the whole world. This is the headquarters of the UN in


Geneva. Working the corridors is the Italian diplomat who heads the


mission here. Today she is giving Europe's response to a not exactly


thrilling report about development. Every word agreed by EU members in


advance. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and


its member states. Britain guards its relations with other countries


pretty jealously. When I ask about us, Marie Angela is diplomatic.


Sometimes it is a little bit difficult. But I think in the end


there is one quality that the UK expresses at least here, and I try


to take advantage of that and make of that also my own policy, which is


being pragmatic. Don't lose too much time in discussing what we can do or


not. But even cheerleaders at the time has been wasted in admin


problems in bureaucratic turf wars in setting up the External Action


Service. So what is it really like to work for? I read into Brett that


you are meant to call an ambassador your Excellency. Do I have to call


you that? No, you call me Richard. Do you go to lots of cocktail


parties? Guess. Do you get off with lots of parking fines? Absolutely


not, I paid a speeding fine yesterday. Is this just a huge


bureaucracy, jobs for diplomats around the world is it doing


anything? I think it is amazing that the External Action Service is an


unknown term. When the Lisbon Treaty was being negotiated, UKIP and


others were saying this is the end of the British foreign service. Here


we have an organisation which is trying to pull together all these 28


different foreign ministers so we are speaking with one voice. It


seems a perfectly sensible way to go forward for me. We've not spoken


with one voice in Syria or the French intervention in Mali or even


in Libya. It's a pretty limited number of issues in which we do


speak with one voice. Exactly. And that's what demonstrates why member


states have to have a strong foreign service. When it was originally set


up, it was supposed to be cost neutral. No extra money from the EU


budget. It has cost extra money, 420 million altogether. Some of it was


existing resources. It's also got 140 missions around the world, does


it need them, particularly when it is trying to duplicate the work of


the foreign offices? No, but we should be sharing missions in some


places. There were some countries around the world, different


countries in the European Union trying to maintain offices there


instead of sharing facilities. It is Cathy Ashton, is she leaving on a


bit of a hike? She is, no question. A good girl from Wigan. No one


expected her to get the job. She was utterly astonished when she got the


job. She has had a very rough couple of years. But now, with Iraq and


Kosovo and the like, she is on a high. I think people have been very


unkind to Cathy Ashton, sometimes justifiably so. But I think she has


proved herself with Iran. Her softly softly approach seems to be working.


She hasn't got long to go. We will see who gets the job next. That's


all for today. Thanks to my guests, Syed Kamall and Chris Davies. Hope


to see you again soon. Bye bye.


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