In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.
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European leaders so worn out, they're struggling to find words
Today, the UK is still a member of the European Union,
and I have a feeling that it will not change...
We'll ask if it'll have to be watered down,
Also tonight - we're in the migrant processing camps
Will the rest of Europe allow the migrants through?
People here will confess privately that they are
losing faith that other Europeans will keep their part of this
bargain, and that very soon Greece could find itself cut off
from Schengen, from the rest of Europe,
left to deal with this problem on their own.
All we now need is the money to pay for it.
If you look at the cost of these treatments,
12 weeks of treatment for one person.
That same treatment is being sold in the
How can those who speak for the pharmaceutical industry
Britain's day of destiny is tomorrow - well, tomorrow and Friday.
What we think tonight is that there is still
We expected to have a draft agreement this evening,
We'll digest where we are shortly, but first, our political editor,
David Grossman, reports from Brussels.
From about three o'clock tomorrow afternoon, down that ramp,
will sweep the 28 cars of the heads of government
of the EU, arriving for a crisis summit,
I have been covering these things for about 15 years and I have to say
this one is about as important as they get.
The cars will stop where that one is.
They will maybe even say a few choice words to the reporters
gathered here, as they bound in towards destiny.
As they come through those doors, they will go up
that step over there and pose in front of the flags.
There will be warm handshakes but then the
Of course, there is lots of preparation
already being done in advance by emissaries, the so-called Sherpas
The interesting thing about this summit,
it seems to me, is it has been more intensively prepared than most.
I think by the time David Cameron sent his first public letter
to the president of the European Council at the back end
of last year, he had already done several months of going
round the capitals, and I can't remember a Prime Minister who has
done more than that personal diplomacy.
That meticulous diplomacy has happened for a very simple reason.
For David Cameron, the stakes could not be higher.
What will at this summit, amd the referendum which follows,
David Cameron, I think was shaken by the adverse press reaction
to the deal when it was first put forward by Tusk a couple
His margin for manoeuvre is generally quite small.
On the other hand, of course, the notion that he would come back
and say, I have failed and I have to recommend the British people
that we have to come out of the European Union
He is on a very narrow path that sense.
He could fall off on either side of the cliff edge as it were.
Will the Prime Minister persuade you to back him today?
Then of course David Cameron has his party to deal with.
Boris Johnson, as yet undeclared, was in to discuss the matter
with the Prime Minister in Downing Street today.
As he left, there was no clue as to what had been said.
I have said before, there is no point in saying anything
Of course, it is not just David Cameron who has to walk
Every other EU leader have to juggle domestic opinion
European governments have been really keen to accommodate
British requests, British needs and understands there is an issue
But at the same time, they don't want to create
a precedent which will trigger off a domino effect of other countries
There is this delicate balance that has been sought
over the past few months which is now becoming critical,
and I think today we are seeing that every day a new member state
is raising a few more objections, so much so that we don't actually
know how the meeting tomorrow will go.
And of course, at every EU summit,
there are personal relationships to navigate.
I was at one summit where Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor
almost thumped the Spanish Prime Minister he was so angry with him.
And another summit where Schroeder, the then German Chancellor,
who was a close friend of Tony Blair's told
him to "F off" at one point, simply because he was exhausted.
Once agreement is reached, the champagne corks pop
In a way, sometimes it has to go down to the wire.
You have to look over the cliff edge to see that the alternative
From dawn tomorrow, these desks will start filling up
with journalists from all over the world.
This is big news, of course, not just in Europe.
The big question is, what story will they write?
Well, I don't know how much we read into this fact, but the channels by
which we expected to receive tonight at least some possible tentative
solutions to the problem is that this deal has, we expected to hear
some more details, but those channels have gone quiet. On the
record, we are told that David Cameron and Donald task, the EU
Council president, had a constructive phone call where they
agreed that good progress had been made and good basis for a deal had
been found. In truth, this form of words we have heard in various forms
for months now. Off the record we are hearing a slightly different
picture. More distance between the British position and those of David
Cameron's EU partners on the question of ever-closer union.
Britain still not happy with that form of words that's been agreed so
far in the draft. The safeguard mechanism by which out of work
benefits may be denied EU citizens arriving in Britain, still much work
to be done on that. One senior EU source said tonight that it was
still unclear and unlikely that we would get the precise details of how
that would work by the time Britain votes in a referendum, presuming
that is on the 23rd of June. And the other matter, child benefit. It
wasn't envisage that tomorrow when these EU leaders meet they would be
discussing child benefit. It looks like that's how they're going to be
doing it. One country that has come forward, we already know that many
eastern European countries are unhappy with benefits being denied
their citizens. In Romania, 1 million of their citizens are
working in Spain and Italy, and they are very concerned that a deal done
in Britain is not translated to their citizens in Italy and Spain.
The political danger for Cameron is, yes, it is very likely a deal will
be done. This town wants to move on to talk about the euro and
migration. The danger for Cameron is that the compromise, the
concessions, the fudge, whatever you want to call it, is so impenetrable
to people at home, it looks like to be ordinary voters that he's done
nothing to get what he said he was coming here to get. Thank very much.
Joining me now is the prominent eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg,
and Neil Carmichael, Chair of the pro-remain
Good evening. There does seem to be a sense that it isn't going well
tonight. Jacob Rees-Mogg, is that genuine? It is what you expect
around these negotiations, so they go through the night and then our
hero returns triumphant! We've seen all of this before in European
negotiations. My guess is that most of it is broadly agreed. We haven't
asked for anything except thin gruel. There's no reason for the EU
not to give it to us. That's where we are, it will all work out, and
then we will be supposed to rejoice when the Prime Minister returns.
Neil Carmichael, do you agree? The key point here is that the Prime
Minister is representing Britain's interests. We have to get it across
to the electorate that the best deal is where the UK can stay in the
European Union, but have some meaningful reforms, and be a
catalyst for further reform beyond. Angela Merkel's point, which I was
on your programme earlier, about there needs to be reformed, is
right. One of the issues that does appear to be nitty-gritty, and you
can dismiss this, but there are other countries that have their own
internal political needs. It is this one about child benefit being cut
for a existing migrants whose children are back home. Is that a
significant neat -- thing for them to be arguing about? There's only
34,000 of them claiming signal it sends. It's about whether or not we
have control over our benefits system. We are seeking to get that
control, so a signal to the people at home and also to the European
Union as a whole, is that we want some control, and that's what we're
going to seek. Do you think it is significant? It's trivial. But it is
symbolic of the failures of the EU. Why are we paying benefits for
children who do not live in the United Kingdom? Our benefits is for
people who live in this country, not for people who live abroad. It is
not up to us. If we cannot get this relatively straightforward, minor
thing, it is not a great thing we have asked for and is not the
driving force of immigration. People are not flooding to the United
Kingdom for a few pounds of child benefit. They come here because we
are a more prosperous country. It is on the margins, and it -- if it is
difficult, it shows the failure of the EU more than anything else.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, you think that the Prime Minister couldn't have got
more, and that shows how difficult it is to deal with the EU, or do you
think you should and could have got more? I think he was out negotiated
by Angela Merkel early on. In good faith, he set out what he wanted to
do. He wanted fundamental reform of our relationship with the EU. That
was set out in the Conservative manifesto, and that is what he said
on a number of occasions before the formal negotiations started. He
spoke to the German Chancellor last year and she said she wasn't going
to give these reforms. He went along with that and asked for very little.
If you look at the Sun newspaper, there was a very interesting poll
about Lord Ashcroft about how pop killer the UK is in Europe. -- how
popular. We are the second most popular country after Sweden. They
would have been willing to give us a good deal. Could he have got more if
he had more ambitious goals? I think the big jewel in the crown is making
sure the single market is covering all the areas it should. The
economy, the world of energy and so on, and that's something I think he
can deliver, a really important part of the negotiations. In this
argument, we often go down some sort of small channel, when actually it's
the overall interests of the British economy that will matter. It's all
very well saying, people want to come to prosperous Britain. We are
in the European Union. We are prosperous partly because of that,
and we've got to accept that. To risk that would be extraordinarily
unwise. Let's briefly talk about the effect of this on your party.
Tonight, the most prominent conservative who isn't an MP, Tim
Montgomery, is saying he is leaving the party, I think on the ground
that it isn't quite blue enough, in his view. We heard this a few
minutes before we went on air. Some say he is maybe trying to cajole
Michael Gove and Boris into supporting the outside. Where do you
think he stands? In terms of his position, I think commentators often
find it easier to leave the party they belong to. My father left the
Conservative Party in the early 1960s when he realised he was going
to be more of a journalist than a politician. It is much more easy to
speak out if you are not a member of a party.
Are you expecting Boris and goes to tilt to the outside? We welcome
everyone to our cause, even you and Neil if he sees the light. Do you
think it is plausible that those two very big beasts... First of all, I
want to say I agree with Jacob about Tim. If someone is going down the
journalist route it is probably easier for him not to be part of the
Conservative Party. We do not want to get too obsessed with
personalities. The Prime Minister is leader of the government. He is our
principal negotiator. He is the one, if we decide to end up fighting to
remain in, we will lead that campaign. That is the most important
person out of all of this story. Boris is a great man. I hope he
would join us as well. Thank you both.
Well, Britain may be stealing the European show for a day,
but what they really want to talk about in Brussels is migration.
Greece is centre stage on that - its failure to process migrants
and refugees properly, causing anger among the other states.
Mark Urban has gone to see if the situation is improving.
Mark, we were talking about Brexit and those negotiations, you are
talking about migrants, there are links between those issues?
Absolutely. It was reverberating in my head about all the linkages.
Chancellor Merkel is crucial in both these matters. She made this deal
with David Cameron to go with if you like the lesser package of reforms,
in turn she would give her wholehearted backing to Britain's
case. What has happened instead is she has had to expend a lot of time
and political capital and run down the favour bank on the migration
issue instead, because the German people care so much about it. That
has had all sorts of consequences that read across, but in particular,
in relation to a group of nations, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic
and Slovakia. They have been the most energetic in attacking her on
migration, but they are the ones now leading the resistance on the child
benefit issue you were talking about earlier, on the Brexit agenda so
they read across both stories. In relation to migration they have been
asking for very tough action. Pressure in Macedonia, which is the
country to the north of here, to close its borders altogether,
pressuring the EU, to completely seal off Greece from the Schengen
area, if changes are not made in the next three months.
Evenings are the time for protest in Diavata,
a hard done by neighbourhood on the outskirts
Diavata has been chosen as one of half a dozen points
for the screening and onward dispatch of refugees.
There's a camp being built, and people don't like it,
and with rumours of borders further north closing,
Apostoll Giapoutsis, one of the protest leaders,
says the numbers here could soon swell.
These people are not going to be able to escape.
So I think the big issue is how many Syrians we will actually be able
The police were there in strength to block them,
and there's little more people can do than sing and voice their anger
The Army has been deployed for the first time since the refugee
crisis got piled onto Greece's other woes.
Because Europe is now threatening to freeze Greece out
unless it makes a better job of screening refugees.
We understand very well that there is a delay
in the development of European policy about this problem -
the problem of the war in Syria, and of course the problem
So we have to work with Europe, we have to work together with other
countries, to solve this problem that is a common problem.
Greece now is the brother of the whole Europe.
That means we are waiting and we are hosting the refugees
So there is an obligation for Europe also to help Greece for all this
This place is intended to shelter 1,500 refugees normally,
But for it to work as simply a waypoint on their journey north,
everyone in the EU has to cooperate, and the last few months hardly give
All of this work here is part of an EU plan to receive refugees,
process them, and then pass them on to other European countries.
But what people here will confess privately is that they are losing
faith that other Europeans will keep their part of this
bargain, and that very soon, Greece could find itself being cut
off from Schengen, from the rest of Europe, left to deal with this
An hour to the north of Thessaloniki is the Macedonian border.
And it's here that you can see an alternative future taking shape.
Egged on by Hungary and the rest of the states of the Visegrad Four,
the so-called double fence is being put in place,
As police from the Czech Republic and Slovakia -
also Visegrad countries - look on, people are checked for false papers.
For those watching waiting to be checked, it's one more stage
This man has already spent $1,500 travelling this far
If the Turkish catch us, I don't try it again.
This woman, too, was turned back, and quickly became distraught.
This is the human reality of tightened controls on those
who come through Greece with fake papers or as economic migrants.
There are other problems on this border too.
Those stemming from Greece's long struggle with EU-mandated austerity.
Farmers have taken to blocking the highway to Macedonia.
lumping us in with what they see as a hostile northern Europe.
Their organiser even stopped one farmer explaining their protest.
It's Greece's current crisis, and its poverty, that lead many
other EU countries to suppose that it cannot exercise proper
Macedonia, meanwhile, is coming under pressure
There's been so much protest here that
Between 10.00 and 12.00, the Macedonian taxi drivers,
who are upset that they are being cut out of the refugee-shifting
business do their thing, and from 2.00 until 4.00,
the Greek farmers blockade the other side.
They've got their own economic grievances with their government.
And it is upon these two governments, Greece and Macedonia,
that the EU rests its hopes for solving the migrant crisis.
Caught for years in the vice of economic crisis, Greeks now find
themselves under threat of being frozen out of Schengen.
Little wonder that people here don't know what else can be thrown at them
unless something happens to reduce the numbers using this country
Mark, briefly tell us if there is anything that can prove Greece some
hope that it will not be booted out from the Schengen zone? It is
fascinating. We noticed very few refugees in the transit facilities
near the border the other day. Yesterday, the police minister said
only 200 had come across from Turkey to the island. Today, some people
have said none at all. Potentially, this is very significant. The aid
organisations say, be careful, there have been dips before and the
numbers have picked up again. But some people are speculating it is to
do with the change of policy by Turkey, the possibility of Nato, the
certainty that Nato will soon come in, but the possibility that that
could have a dramatic affect on the smugglers. All of this will be
deeply significant not just for Greece, but for Chancellor Merkel's
political position back home. Some say it could cost her her job if
this carries on. Potentially, this could get very interesting in the
next few days, if we see if this pattern is something which signals a
new phase. Thank you. It is perhaps an under-reported
breakthrough that new drugs are now available to cure hepatitis C
in the vast majority of patients. Now you might say, "Three cheers
for the pharmaceutical industry!" It's cracked the problem
of a chronic viral condition that affects 200 million people
around the world. But you might alternatively think,
this just proves the evil of big pharma, because the new drugs
are priced very high. Hepatitis C raises the thorny
question as to what the rewards for drug companies'
innovation should be. In this country, the National
Institute for Health and Care Excellence for England
and Wales has given a green light to the expensive treatments
for many patients. That guidance should
take effect any day now, but some categories of patient,
still have to wait. The filmmaker Kate Brown had the HPC
virus, but has been cured of it, and looked at the challenge
for patients of getting the drugs. I'm waiting for the results,
for my end of treatment results. So she's going to fax them
straight through to him and hopefully he will
get back to me. Sean Reddin, desperate and unable
to get hepatitis C treatment within the health system has taken
matters into his own hands. Millions worldwide
face this dilemma. I have been making a film
about access to treatment for the hepatitis C
epidemic for over a year. It is highly contagious
and can cause cirrhosis Previously, treatment
was very toxic. Now there are new drugs which cure,
with virtually no side effects. I live in Germany, where
I was prescribed treatment I have come back to the UK to find
out why people here are not I'm starting with Dr Andrew Hill,
an expert in drug pricing. If you look at the cost
of these treatments, They cost ?100 per course
to make, 12 weeks of treatment That same treatment is being sold
in the United Kingdom for ?35,000. It is such a huge that
the National Health Service and NICE have been hesitating
to decide Dr Hill told me
about the US Senate's investigation into pricing,
which has focused on one particular Using Gilead's own documents,
the evidence shows that the company pursued a calculated
scheme for pricing and marketing its hepatitis C drug,
based on one goal, maximising revenue regardless
of the human consequences. How many billions do
they need to make before These drugs are fundamentally cheap
but they are not being accessed by most people because
the prices are so high. One of the reasons why there's
so little protest about the high price of hepatitis C treatment
is that patients I went back to see my old doctor
to ask him about this stigma. Being silent about hepatitis C
is doing no one any favours. I think there is
incredible amount of stigma and I think that stigma
probably comes from the days of hepatitis C being labelled
as a disease of intravenous drug use, and of intravenous
drug users, not being I went to see Dr Magdalena Harris,
who is researching the experiences For them, a trip to the dentist is
always complicated. The issue of the last appointment,
I have been hearing it for the last ten years and conducting research
into people who have hepatitis C. I am given the last appointment
of the day by my dentist We need to de-stigmatise this
and say this is an infection, it is no different from
any other infection. It is an infection that people catch
and needs to be treated. One person who has not
been able to access NHS treatment Recently diagnosed, her appointments
keep getting postponed. She isn't sure how she was infected
with hepatitis C. What is she planning
to do about treatment? I don't know what I
should do, really. I suppose, I mean, I have been
trying to sign up with trials, I know you can also get
drugs from India cheaper. Zsuzsanna's life and health
is being badly infected because she is not
getting treatment. Ten years ago when I had breast
cancer and stopped HRT, During the last ten years, I have
gradually got worse. My mobility has been
drastically reduced. Whereas before I could walk
for hours, without getting tired, now I don't, I am not
able to walk at all. Some people are taking treatment
into their own hands, Buying drugs off the
internet is a new thing. It is an emerging way
of being treated. One issue is, do you know
that the medicine you are Sean Reddin could not get
treatment in Ireland. The Irish health service,
like the NHS, Online, he found the
Australian-based Through them, he bought clinically
tested generic drugs. I became a member
of the Buyers' Club. I had my appointment
via Skype with Dr Freeman. I sent him all my documentation
from my blood test results from Ireland, and he said,
yes, it is possible, if I come over to Australia,
he could give them to me. Sean paid about ?750
for treatment that will cost And have now completed 12 weeks
of treatment last Monday. I am now waiting for my end
of treatment results as we speak. My GP Dr Johnny Fleetwood
of Dublin is on the phone. He has the result of my end
of treatment tests and so, A little bit apprehensive and
nervous but excited Excellent, Johnny,
that is brilliant news! I have lived with
hepatitis since 1980. In the UK, it is legal to get
three months' treatment delivered to your door,
so for those patients who can pay for it, the online buyers'
club may be an option, but most will have to wait and see
if the NHS can afford to treat them. This is billions of pounds
of funding at a time when the NHS is in a very difficult
financial situation. So it just does not
seem feasible that we will be able to eliminate hepatitis
C within the next 15 or 20 years, with prices this high, but we could,
we definitely could if we could get We asked to speak to Gilead
about the cost of their drugs but instead they sent us
a statement: While we appreciate Senator Wyden's
attention to this issue, we respectfully disagree with his
conclusions. With me now is Dr Virginia Acha,
Executive Director of the Association of the British
Pharmaceutical Industry. Good evening. We know that the drug
companies have to be recommended for the billions they spend on research.
Is there any limit to the price they should be allowed to charge? We are
focusing a lot on price. In that video I didn't hear anything about
the value we are getting from the way these medicines are being
introduced into health care. When NICE gives approval, it's not just
because we think the treatment is great. It's because they have
decided that it makes sense to give the British public this medication.
No one will dispute that these are great drugs. Let's suppose it has
?100,000 benefit. Is it reasonable for the drug company to charge
?99,000? That is the benefit of the system we have in the UK. Let's be
honest, the list price we have been hearing about isn't necessarily what
the health care services will pay. There's some very effective and
competitive discounts going on. Might we be paying less than the
?35,000? I would almost guarantee that within the process that we
access medication, the government does a very good job of making sure
it is being a careful buyer when they are investing in new medicines.
It's not just a case of one medicine. We have at least three
hepatitis C products all competing for that very treatment area.
Competition will be driving value, no doubt. We give Gilead monopoly on
the one they've got, which is the one that has the best genotype use.
We give them the monopoly through patents, which allows them to charge
the high price. Would it be reasonable for society to say, if
you are going to abuse it, we will shorten the patents? Patents are
very important to protect investment in our NDA. A patents and allows you
to disclose and protect your investment. Pricing should be a
separate conversation. When we look at the value of any drug, and I
wouldn't compare between the different hepatitis C products
necessarily, but when you look at how they are going to negotiate
their value, they will look not just at what it costs to bring them to
market, but what it means for patients. It is sad that patients
are having to work so hard to get a medication that is approved by NICE.
If you had hepatitis C and the health care system said they would
not buy you the drugs, would you go to a buyers' club? With my
background, I used to work a lot in regular systems. I would be
concerned working on a system that didn't go through the normal
channels. Come on. You would take it, wouldn't you? I can see the ways
that we can abuse people's trust on the Internet, so I would like to
keep people in the safe, sound system of the NHS. Thank you.
Atheism is not as modern a creed as you might think.
A new book called Battling The Gods looks at disbelief in God
in the ancient world and finds it is not the case
That's perhaps contrary to the view that atheism is a feature
The author is Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture
and a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge.
Good evening. You are talking about the Romans and the Greeks, and
atheism there. How did we miss the fact that there were a lot of
disbelievers at the time? I'm not the first person to have noticed
that there were disbelievers in antiquity. The book pulls together
all of this material. Part of the reason why people have not
historically focused on this thing is because we see the Greeks and
Romans as pre-Christian, and define them as the antithesis of
Christianity. The Greeks and the Romans had to be about outward
ritual acts and so forth, and a lot of it was. But they did have this
issue of belief in the gods. Essentially, at the time, they
didn't know that the Earth revolved around the sun. They didn't know a
lot. What were the grounds of people being atheistic? You can see why
gods and their moods would have been explanations for quite a lot of
things. It's very interesting. That argument that says there was a time
when people were naive and silly and believed that the heavenly bodies
were gods and so forth was in the past, and we moved beyond that, but
the Greeks themselves did beyond that, on occasion. The idea that
their original people lived in squalid disorder and so forth, and
they miss perceived the patterns of the celestial bodies, and nowadays
we don't believe that any more. It is exactly the same trait. You talk
about those periods. But religion becomes more dogmatic and
monotheistic. Atheism is perhaps a little harder in the monotheistic
era. Yes. When Christianity comes in, you get a lot of legislation
about the nature of belief. Christianity isn't hardest on
atheists. It is hardest on Christians who don't believe in the
correct way. A code drawn up in late Antiquity to try and dictate the
kind of beliefs that were prof, it is the Christian heretics forget it
worse. Your basic purpose is to say that your basic beings are
instinctively religious until science comes along and says, hey
guys, the earth goes around the sun and it isn't the gods, is wrong,
basically. I think it... It is a hunch, I cannot prove it, but it is
a hunch that in all cultures at all times, there were people who
disbelieved in the gods. You do not need a science and secularism to
understand it. The other thing is that the new atheists - there is
something in the book to annoy everyone - the new atheists didn't
believe either. Richard Hawkins and that lot, the new atheists, ten to
talk about the invention of atheism as though it were solely a product
of science. But in the past, a lot of people became atheists, in the
18th-century, for example, by reading the classics. Good luck with
the book. Thank you very much. Just time to congratulate our very
own Chris Cook, who tonight shared the RTS scoop of the year award