17/02/2016 Newsnight


17/02/2016

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

:00:00.:00:07.

Today, the UK is still a member of the European Union,

:00:08.:00:17.

and I have a feeling that it will not change...

:00:18.:00:23.

We'll ask if it'll have to be watered down,

:00:24.:00:28.

Also tonight - we're in the migrant processing camps

:00:29.:00:32.

Will the rest of Europe allow the migrants through?

:00:33.:00:37.

People here will confess privately that they are

:00:38.:00:39.

losing faith that other Europeans will keep their part of this

:00:40.:00:42.

bargain, and that very soon Greece could find itself cut off

:00:43.:00:46.

from Schengen, from the rest of Europe,

:00:47.:00:48.

left to deal with this problem on their own.

:00:49.:00:53.

All we now need is the money to pay for it.

:00:54.:01:04.

If you look at the cost of these treatments,

:01:05.:01:06.

12 weeks of treatment for one person.

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That same treatment is being sold in the

:01:11.:01:12.

How can those who speak for the pharmaceutical industry

:01:13.:01:18.

Britain's day of destiny is tomorrow - well, tomorrow and Friday.

:01:19.:01:32.

What we think tonight is that there is still

:01:33.:01:36.

We expected to have a draft agreement this evening,

:01:37.:01:40.

We'll digest where we are shortly, but first, our political editor,

:01:41.:01:45.

David Grossman, reports from Brussels.

:01:46.:01:48.

From about three o'clock tomorrow afternoon, down that ramp,

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will sweep the 28 cars of the heads of government

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of the EU, arriving for a crisis summit,

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I have been covering these things for about 15 years and I have to say

:01:58.:02:03.

this one is about as important as they get.

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The cars will stop where that one is.

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They will maybe even say a few choice words to the reporters

:02:08.:02:13.

gathered here, as they bound in towards destiny.

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As they come through those doors, they will go up

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that step over there and pose in front of the flags.

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There will be warm handshakes but then the

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Of course, there is lots of preparation

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already being done in advance by emissaries, the so-called Sherpas

:02:30.:02:32.

The interesting thing about this summit,

:02:33.:02:36.

it seems to me, is it has been more intensively prepared than most.

:02:37.:02:40.

I think by the time David Cameron sent his first public letter

:02:41.:02:44.

to the president of the European Council at the back end

:02:45.:02:47.

of last year, he had already done several months of going

:02:48.:02:49.

round the capitals, and I can't remember a Prime Minister who has

:02:50.:02:52.

done more than that personal diplomacy.

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That meticulous diplomacy has happened for a very simple reason.

:02:56.:02:58.

For David Cameron, the stakes could not be higher.

:02:59.:03:02.

What will at this summit, amd the referendum which follows,

:03:03.:03:05.

David Cameron, I think was shaken by the adverse press reaction

:03:06.:03:14.

to the deal when it was first put forward by Tusk a couple

:03:15.:03:17.

His margin for manoeuvre is generally quite small.

:03:18.:03:20.

On the other hand, of course, the notion that he would come back

:03:21.:03:23.

and say, I have failed and I have to recommend the British people

:03:24.:03:26.

that we have to come out of the European Union

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He is on a very narrow path that sense.

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He could fall off on either side of the cliff edge as it were.

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Will the Prime Minister persuade you to back him today?

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Then of course David Cameron has his party to deal with.

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Boris Johnson, as yet undeclared, was in to discuss the matter

:03:49.:03:51.

with the Prime Minister in Downing Street today.

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As he left, there was no clue as to what had been said.

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I have said before, there is no point in saying anything

:04:00.:04:01.

Of course, it is not just David Cameron who has to walk

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Every other EU leader have to juggle domestic opinion

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European governments have been really keen to accommodate

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British requests, British needs and understands there is an issue

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But at the same time, they don't want to create

:04:27.:04:31.

a precedent which will trigger off a domino effect of other countries

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There is this delicate balance that has been sought

:04:37.:04:44.

over the past few months which is now becoming critical,

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and I think today we are seeing that every day a new member state

:04:50.:04:52.

is raising a few more objections, so much so that we don't actually

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know how the meeting tomorrow will go.

:04:56.:04:57.

And of course, at every EU summit,

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there are personal relationships to navigate.

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I was at one summit where Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor

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almost thumped the Spanish Prime Minister he was so angry with him.

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And another summit where Schroeder, the then German Chancellor,

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who was a close friend of Tony Blair's told

:05:14.:05:16.

him to "F off" at one point, simply because he was exhausted.

:05:17.:05:19.

Once agreement is reached, the champagne corks pop

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In a way, sometimes it has to go down to the wire.

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You have to look over the cliff edge to see that the alternative

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From dawn tomorrow, these desks will start filling up

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with journalists from all over the world.

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This is big news, of course, not just in Europe.

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The big question is, what story will they write?

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Well, I don't know how much we read into this fact, but the channels by

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which we expected to receive tonight at least some possible tentative

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solutions to the problem is that this deal has, we expected to hear

:06:18.:06:23.

some more details, but those channels have gone quiet. On the

:06:24.:06:27.

record, we are told that David Cameron and Donald task, the EU

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Council president, had a constructive phone call where they

:06:32.:06:36.

agreed that good progress had been made and good basis for a deal had

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been found. In truth, this form of words we have heard in various forms

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for months now. Off the record we are hearing a slightly different

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picture. More distance between the British position and those of David

:06:51.:06:56.

Cameron's EU partners on the question of ever-closer union.

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Britain still not happy with that form of words that's been agreed so

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far in the draft. The safeguard mechanism by which out of work

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benefits may be denied EU citizens arriving in Britain, still much work

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to be done on that. One senior EU source said tonight that it was

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still unclear and unlikely that we would get the precise details of how

:07:22.:07:26.

that would work by the time Britain votes in a referendum, presuming

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that is on the 23rd of June. And the other matter, child benefit. It

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wasn't envisage that tomorrow when these EU leaders meet they would be

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discussing child benefit. It looks like that's how they're going to be

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doing it. One country that has come forward, we already know that many

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eastern European countries are unhappy with benefits being denied

:07:51.:07:55.

their citizens. In Romania, 1 million of their citizens are

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working in Spain and Italy, and they are very concerned that a deal done

:08:00.:08:06.

in Britain is not translated to their citizens in Italy and Spain.

:08:07.:08:10.

The political danger for Cameron is, yes, it is very likely a deal will

:08:11.:08:15.

be done. This town wants to move on to talk about the euro and

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migration. The danger for Cameron is that the compromise, the

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concessions, the fudge, whatever you want to call it, is so impenetrable

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to people at home, it looks like to be ordinary voters that he's done

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nothing to get what he said he was coming here to get. Thank very much.

:08:36.:08:38.

Joining me now is the prominent eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg,

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and Neil Carmichael, Chair of the pro-remain

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Good evening. There does seem to be a sense that it isn't going well

:08:42.:08:54.

tonight. Jacob Rees-Mogg, is that genuine? It is what you expect

:08:55.:09:01.

around these negotiations, so they go through the night and then our

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hero returns triumphant! We've seen all of this before in European

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negotiations. My guess is that most of it is broadly agreed. We haven't

:09:13.:09:16.

asked for anything except thin gruel. There's no reason for the EU

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not to give it to us. That's where we are, it will all work out, and

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then we will be supposed to rejoice when the Prime Minister returns.

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Neil Carmichael, do you agree? The key point here is that the Prime

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Minister is representing Britain's interests. We have to get it across

:09:38.:09:41.

to the electorate that the best deal is where the UK can stay in the

:09:42.:09:46.

European Union, but have some meaningful reforms, and be a

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catalyst for further reform beyond. Angela Merkel's point, which I was

:09:51.:09:56.

on your programme earlier, about there needs to be reformed, is

:09:57.:10:02.

right. One of the issues that does appear to be nitty-gritty, and you

:10:03.:10:05.

can dismiss this, but there are other countries that have their own

:10:06.:10:11.

internal political needs. It is this one about child benefit being cut

:10:12.:10:15.

for a existing migrants whose children are back home. Is that a

:10:16.:10:20.

significant neat -- thing for them to be arguing about? There's only

:10:21.:10:26.

34,000 of them claiming signal it sends. It's about whether or not we

:10:27.:10:32.

have control over our benefits system. We are seeking to get that

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control, so a signal to the people at home and also to the European

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Union as a whole, is that we want some control, and that's what we're

:10:43.:10:48.

going to seek. Do you think it is significant? It's trivial. But it is

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symbolic of the failures of the EU. Why are we paying benefits for

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children who do not live in the United Kingdom? Our benefits is for

:10:59.:11:03.

people who live in this country, not for people who live abroad. It is

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not up to us. If we cannot get this relatively straightforward, minor

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thing, it is not a great thing we have asked for and is not the

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driving force of immigration. People are not flooding to the United

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Kingdom for a few pounds of child benefit. They come here because we

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are a more prosperous country. It is on the margins, and it -- if it is

:11:28.:11:31.

difficult, it shows the failure of the EU more than anything else.

:11:32.:11:37.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, you think that the Prime Minister couldn't have got

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more, and that shows how difficult it is to deal with the EU, or do you

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think you should and could have got more? I think he was out negotiated

:11:46.:11:52.

by Angela Merkel early on. In good faith, he set out what he wanted to

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do. He wanted fundamental reform of our relationship with the EU. That

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was set out in the Conservative manifesto, and that is what he said

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on a number of occasions before the formal negotiations started. He

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spoke to the German Chancellor last year and she said she wasn't going

:12:11.:12:15.

to give these reforms. He went along with that and asked for very little.

:12:16.:12:20.

If you look at the Sun newspaper, there was a very interesting poll

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about Lord Ashcroft about how pop killer the UK is in Europe. -- how

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popular. We are the second most popular country after Sweden. They

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would have been willing to give us a good deal. Could he have got more if

:12:38.:12:42.

he had more ambitious goals? I think the big jewel in the crown is making

:12:43.:12:47.

sure the single market is covering all the areas it should. The

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economy, the world of energy and so on, and that's something I think he

:12:53.:12:57.

can deliver, a really important part of the negotiations. In this

:12:58.:13:03.

argument, we often go down some sort of small channel, when actually it's

:13:04.:13:08.

the overall interests of the British economy that will matter. It's all

:13:09.:13:13.

very well saying, people want to come to prosperous Britain. We are

:13:14.:13:18.

in the European Union. We are prosperous partly because of that,

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and we've got to accept that. To risk that would be extraordinarily

:13:24.:13:27.

unwise. Let's briefly talk about the effect of this on your party.

:13:28.:13:32.

Tonight, the most prominent conservative who isn't an MP, Tim

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Montgomery, is saying he is leaving the party, I think on the ground

:13:37.:13:40.

that it isn't quite blue enough, in his view. We heard this a few

:13:41.:13:47.

minutes before we went on air. Some say he is maybe trying to cajole

:13:48.:13:51.

Michael Gove and Boris into supporting the outside. Where do you

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think he stands? In terms of his position, I think commentators often

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find it easier to leave the party they belong to. My father left the

:14:02.:14:06.

Conservative Party in the early 1960s when he realised he was going

:14:07.:14:10.

to be more of a journalist than a politician. It is much more easy to

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speak out if you are not a member of a party.

:14:17.:14:22.

Are you expecting Boris and goes to tilt to the outside? We welcome

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everyone to our cause, even you and Neil if he sees the light. Do you

:14:31.:14:37.

think it is plausible that those two very big beasts... First of all, I

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want to say I agree with Jacob about Tim. If someone is going down the

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journalist route it is probably easier for him not to be part of the

:14:47.:14:52.

Conservative Party. We do not want to get too obsessed with

:14:53.:14:55.

personalities. The Prime Minister is leader of the government. He is our

:14:56.:15:00.

principal negotiator. He is the one, if we decide to end up fighting to

:15:01.:15:04.

remain in, we will lead that campaign. That is the most important

:15:05.:15:08.

person out of all of this story. Boris is a great man. I hope he

:15:09.:15:15.

would join us as well. Thank you both.

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Well, Britain may be stealing the European show for a day,

:15:19.:15:20.

but what they really want to talk about in Brussels is migration.

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Greece is centre stage on that - its failure to process migrants

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and refugees properly, causing anger among the other states.

:15:27.:15:28.

Mark Urban has gone to see if the situation is improving.

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Mark, we were talking about Brexit and those negotiations, you are

:15:36.:15:49.

talking about migrants, there are links between those issues?

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Absolutely. It was reverberating in my head about all the linkages.

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Chancellor Merkel is crucial in both these matters. She made this deal

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with David Cameron to go with if you like the lesser package of reforms,

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in turn she would give her wholehearted backing to Britain's

:16:09.:16:12.

case. What has happened instead is she has had to expend a lot of time

:16:13.:16:17.

and political capital and run down the favour bank on the migration

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issue instead, because the German people care so much about it. That

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has had all sorts of consequences that read across, but in particular,

:16:27.:16:33.

in relation to a group of nations, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic

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and Slovakia. They have been the most energetic in attacking her on

:16:38.:16:41.

migration, but they are the ones now leading the resistance on the child

:16:42.:16:46.

benefit issue you were talking about earlier, on the Brexit agenda so

:16:47.:16:51.

they read across both stories. In relation to migration they have been

:16:52.:16:57.

asking for very tough action. Pressure in Macedonia, which is the

:16:58.:17:02.

country to the north of here, to close its borders altogether,

:17:03.:17:07.

pressuring the EU, to completely seal off Greece from the Schengen

:17:08.:17:11.

area, if changes are not made in the next three months.

:17:12.:17:13.

Evenings are the time for protest in Diavata,

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a hard done by neighbourhood on the outskirts

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Diavata has been chosen as one of half a dozen points

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for the screening and onward dispatch of refugees.

:17:50.:17:53.

There's a camp being built, and people don't like it,

:17:54.:17:56.

and with rumours of borders further north closing,

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Apostoll Giapoutsis, one of the protest leaders,

:18:01.:18:03.

says the numbers here could soon swell.

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These people are not going to be able to escape.

:18:07.:18:08.

So I think the big issue is how many Syrians we will actually be able

:18:09.:18:14.

The police were there in strength to block them,

:18:15.:18:23.

and there's little more people can do than sing and voice their anger

:18:24.:18:27.

The Army has been deployed for the first time since the refugee

:18:28.:18:38.

crisis got piled onto Greece's other woes.

:18:39.:18:42.

Because Europe is now threatening to freeze Greece out

:18:43.:18:46.

unless it makes a better job of screening refugees.

:18:47.:18:53.

We understand very well that there is a delay

:18:54.:18:56.

in the development of European policy about this problem -

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the problem of the war in Syria, and of course the problem

:19:00.:19:02.

So we have to work with Europe, we have to work together with other

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countries, to solve this problem that is a common problem.

:19:10.:19:13.

Greece now is the brother of the whole Europe.

:19:14.:19:16.

That means we are waiting and we are hosting the refugees

:19:17.:19:19.

So there is an obligation for Europe also to help Greece for all this

:19:20.:19:25.

This place is intended to shelter 1,500 refugees normally,

:19:26.:19:32.

But for it to work as simply a waypoint on their journey north,

:19:33.:19:39.

everyone in the EU has to cooperate, and the last few months hardly give

:19:40.:19:43.

All of this work here is part of an EU plan to receive refugees,

:19:44.:19:49.

process them, and then pass them on to other European countries.

:19:50.:19:53.

But what people here will confess privately is that they are losing

:19:54.:19:58.

faith that other Europeans will keep their part of this

:19:59.:20:01.

bargain, and that very soon, Greece could find itself being cut

:20:02.:20:03.

off from Schengen, from the rest of Europe, left to deal with this

:20:04.:20:07.

An hour to the north of Thessaloniki is the Macedonian border.

:20:08.:20:17.

And it's here that you can see an alternative future taking shape.

:20:18.:20:23.

Egged on by Hungary and the rest of the states of the Visegrad Four,

:20:24.:20:27.

the so-called double fence is being put in place,

:20:28.:20:29.

As police from the Czech Republic and Slovakia -

:20:30.:20:37.

also Visegrad countries - look on, people are checked for false papers.

:20:38.:20:48.

For those watching waiting to be checked, it's one more stage

:20:49.:21:00.

This man has already spent $1,500 travelling this far

:21:01.:21:09.

If the Turkish catch us, I don't try it again.

:21:10.:21:35.

This woman, too, was turned back, and quickly became distraught.

:21:36.:21:40.

This is the human reality of tightened controls on those

:21:41.:21:43.

who come through Greece with fake papers or as economic migrants.

:21:44.:21:50.

There are other problems on this border too.

:21:51.:21:53.

Those stemming from Greece's long struggle with EU-mandated austerity.

:21:54.:21:59.

Farmers have taken to blocking the highway to Macedonia.

:22:00.:22:06.

lumping us in with what they see as a hostile northern Europe.

:22:07.:22:34.

Their organiser even stopped one farmer explaining their protest.

:22:35.:22:41.

It's Greece's current crisis, and its poverty, that lead many

:22:42.:22:44.

other EU countries to suppose that it cannot exercise proper

:22:45.:22:48.

Macedonia, meanwhile, is coming under pressure

:22:49.:22:54.

There's been so much protest here that

:22:55.:22:59.

Between 10.00 and 12.00, the Macedonian taxi drivers,

:23:00.:23:04.

who are upset that they are being cut out of the refugee-shifting

:23:05.:23:07.

business do their thing, and from 2.00 until 4.00,

:23:08.:23:10.

the Greek farmers blockade the other side.

:23:11.:23:13.

They've got their own economic grievances with their government.

:23:14.:23:18.

And it is upon these two governments, Greece and Macedonia,

:23:19.:23:21.

that the EU rests its hopes for solving the migrant crisis.

:23:22.:23:30.

Caught for years in the vice of economic crisis, Greeks now find

:23:31.:23:34.

themselves under threat of being frozen out of Schengen.

:23:35.:23:39.

Little wonder that people here don't know what else can be thrown at them

:23:40.:23:42.

unless something happens to reduce the numbers using this country

:23:43.:23:45.

Mark, briefly tell us if there is anything that can prove Greece some

:23:46.:24:05.

hope that it will not be booted out from the Schengen zone? It is

:24:06.:24:10.

fascinating. We noticed very few refugees in the transit facilities

:24:11.:24:14.

near the border the other day. Yesterday, the police minister said

:24:15.:24:17.

only 200 had come across from Turkey to the island. Today, some people

:24:18.:24:23.

have said none at all. Potentially, this is very significant. The aid

:24:24.:24:27.

organisations say, be careful, there have been dips before and the

:24:28.:24:31.

numbers have picked up again. But some people are speculating it is to

:24:32.:24:39.

do with the change of policy by Turkey, the possibility of Nato, the

:24:40.:24:41.

certainty that Nato will soon come in, but the possibility that that

:24:42.:24:44.

could have a dramatic affect on the smugglers. All of this will be

:24:45.:24:49.

deeply significant not just for Greece, but for Chancellor Merkel's

:24:50.:24:52.

political position back home. Some say it could cost her her job if

:24:53.:24:56.

this carries on. Potentially, this could get very interesting in the

:24:57.:25:01.

next few days, if we see if this pattern is something which signals a

:25:02.:25:06.

new phase. Thank you. It is perhaps an under-reported

:25:07.:25:08.

breakthrough that new drugs are now available to cure hepatitis C

:25:09.:25:11.

in the vast majority of patients. Now you might say, "Three cheers

:25:12.:25:14.

for the pharmaceutical industry!" It's cracked the problem

:25:15.:25:17.

of a chronic viral condition that affects 200 million people

:25:18.:25:19.

around the world. But you might alternatively think,

:25:20.:25:21.

this just proves the evil of big pharma, because the new drugs

:25:22.:25:24.

are priced very high. Hepatitis C raises the thorny

:25:25.:25:28.

question as to what the rewards for drug companies'

:25:29.:25:31.

innovation should be. In this country, the National

:25:32.:25:35.

Institute for Health and Care Excellence for England

:25:36.:25:38.

and Wales has given a green light to the expensive treatments

:25:39.:25:40.

for many patients. That guidance should

:25:41.:25:44.

take effect any day now, but some categories of patient,

:25:45.:25:47.

still have to wait. The filmmaker Kate Brown had the HPC

:25:48.:25:51.

virus, but has been cured of it, and looked at the challenge

:25:52.:25:56.

for patients of getting the drugs. I'm waiting for the results,

:25:57.:26:03.

for my end of treatment results. So she's going to fax them

:26:04.:26:07.

straight through to him and hopefully he will

:26:08.:26:11.

get back to me. Sean Reddin, desperate and unable

:26:12.:26:13.

to get hepatitis C treatment within the health system has taken

:26:14.:26:17.

matters into his own hands. Millions worldwide

:26:18.:26:25.

face this dilemma. I have been making a film

:26:26.:26:29.

about access to treatment for the hepatitis C

:26:30.:26:32.

epidemic for over a year. It is highly contagious

:26:33.:26:36.

and can cause cirrhosis Previously, treatment

:26:37.:26:42.

was very toxic. Now there are new drugs which cure,

:26:43.:26:47.

with virtually no side effects. I live in Germany, where

:26:48.:26:53.

I was prescribed treatment I have come back to the UK to find

:26:54.:26:55.

out why people here are not I'm starting with Dr Andrew Hill,

:26:56.:27:04.

an expert in drug pricing. If you look at the cost

:27:05.:27:15.

of these treatments, They cost ?100 per course

:27:16.:27:17.

to make, 12 weeks of treatment That same treatment is being sold

:27:18.:27:23.

in the United Kingdom for ?35,000. It is such a huge that

:27:24.:27:31.

the National Health Service and NICE have been hesitating

:27:32.:27:34.

to decide Dr Hill told me

:27:35.:27:37.

about the US Senate's investigation into pricing,

:27:38.:27:46.

which has focused on one particular Using Gilead's own documents,

:27:47.:27:49.

the evidence shows that the company pursued a calculated

:27:50.:27:59.

scheme for pricing and marketing its hepatitis C drug,

:28:00.:28:05.

based on one goal, maximising revenue regardless

:28:06.:28:09.

of the human consequences. How many billions do

:28:10.:28:17.

they need to make before These drugs are fundamentally cheap

:28:18.:28:19.

but they are not being accessed by most people because

:28:20.:28:24.

the prices are so high. One of the reasons why there's

:28:25.:28:29.

so little protest about the high price of hepatitis C treatment

:28:30.:28:32.

is that patients I went back to see my old doctor

:28:33.:28:34.

to ask him about this stigma. Being silent about hepatitis C

:28:35.:28:41.

is doing no one any favours. I think there is

:28:42.:28:46.

incredible amount of stigma and I think that stigma

:28:47.:28:49.

probably comes from the days of hepatitis C being labelled

:28:50.:28:53.

as a disease of intravenous drug use, and of intravenous

:28:54.:28:57.

drug users, not being I went to see Dr Magdalena Harris,

:28:58.:29:00.

who is researching the experiences For them, a trip to the dentist is

:29:01.:29:09.

always complicated. The issue of the last appointment,

:29:10.:29:15.

I have been hearing it for the last ten years and conducting research

:29:16.:29:18.

into people who have hepatitis C. I am given the last appointment

:29:19.:29:22.

of the day by my dentist We need to de-stigmatise this

:29:23.:29:25.

and say this is an infection, it is no different from

:29:26.:29:32.

any other infection. It is an infection that people catch

:29:33.:29:34.

and needs to be treated. One person who has not

:29:35.:29:39.

been able to access NHS treatment Recently diagnosed, her appointments

:29:40.:29:42.

keep getting postponed. She isn't sure how she was infected

:29:43.:29:49.

with hepatitis C. What is she planning

:29:50.:29:52.

to do about treatment? I don't know what I

:29:53.:29:55.

should do, really. I suppose, I mean, I have been

:29:56.:29:59.

trying to sign up with trials, I know you can also get

:30:00.:30:06.

drugs from India cheaper. Zsuzsanna's life and health

:30:07.:30:14.

is being badly infected because she is not

:30:15.:30:20.

getting treatment. Ten years ago when I had breast

:30:21.:30:25.

cancer and stopped HRT, During the last ten years, I have

:30:26.:30:28.

gradually got worse. My mobility has been

:30:29.:30:39.

drastically reduced. Whereas before I could walk

:30:40.:30:46.

for hours, without getting tired, now I don't, I am not

:30:47.:30:53.

able to walk at all. Some people are taking treatment

:30:54.:30:56.

into their own hands, Buying drugs off the

:30:57.:31:03.

internet is a new thing. It is an emerging way

:31:04.:31:11.

of being treated. One issue is, do you know

:31:12.:31:15.

that the medicine you are Sean Reddin could not get

:31:16.:31:18.

treatment in Ireland. The Irish health service,

:31:19.:31:26.

like the NHS, Online, he found the

:31:27.:31:29.

Australian-based Through them, he bought clinically

:31:30.:31:34.

tested generic drugs. I became a member

:31:35.:31:42.

of the Buyers' Club. I had my appointment

:31:43.:31:45.

via Skype with Dr Freeman. I sent him all my documentation

:31:46.:31:50.

from my blood test results from Ireland, and he said,

:31:51.:31:56.

yes, it is possible, if I come over to Australia,

:31:57.:32:01.

he could give them to me. Sean paid about ?750

:32:02.:32:06.

for treatment that will cost And have now completed 12 weeks

:32:07.:32:11.

of treatment last Monday. I am now waiting for my end

:32:12.:32:19.

of treatment results as we speak. My GP Dr Johnny Fleetwood

:32:20.:32:30.

of Dublin is on the phone. He has the result of my end

:32:31.:32:34.

of treatment tests and so, A little bit apprehensive and

:32:35.:32:40.

nervous but excited Excellent, Johnny,

:32:41.:32:48.

that is brilliant news! I have lived with

:32:49.:32:57.

hepatitis since 1980. In the UK, it is legal to get

:32:58.:33:08.

three months' treatment delivered to your door,

:33:09.:33:19.

so for those patients who can pay for it, the online buyers'

:33:20.:33:22.

club may be an option, but most will have to wait and see

:33:23.:33:24.

if the NHS can afford to treat them. This is billions of pounds

:33:25.:33:28.

of funding at a time when the NHS is in a very difficult

:33:29.:33:31.

financial situation. So it just does not

:33:32.:33:35.

seem feasible that we will be able to eliminate hepatitis

:33:36.:33:38.

C within the next 15 or 20 years, with prices this high, but we could,

:33:39.:33:43.

we definitely could if we could get We asked to speak to Gilead

:33:44.:33:48.

about the cost of their drugs but instead they sent us

:33:49.:33:57.

a statement: While we appreciate Senator Wyden's

:33:58.:34:01.

attention to this issue, we respectfully disagree with his

:34:02.:34:03.

conclusions. With me now is Dr Virginia Acha,

:34:04.:34:23.

Executive Director of the Association of the British

:34:24.:34:26.

Pharmaceutical Industry. Good evening. We know that the drug

:34:27.:34:39.

companies have to be recommended for the billions they spend on research.

:34:40.:34:43.

Is there any limit to the price they should be allowed to charge? We are

:34:44.:34:48.

focusing a lot on price. In that video I didn't hear anything about

:34:49.:34:54.

the value we are getting from the way these medicines are being

:34:55.:34:58.

introduced into health care. When NICE gives approval, it's not just

:34:59.:35:04.

because we think the treatment is great. It's because they have

:35:05.:35:09.

decided that it makes sense to give the British public this medication.

:35:10.:35:16.

No one will dispute that these are great drugs. Let's suppose it has

:35:17.:35:23.

?100,000 benefit. Is it reasonable for the drug company to charge

:35:24.:35:31.

?99,000? That is the benefit of the system we have in the UK. Let's be

:35:32.:35:36.

honest, the list price we have been hearing about isn't necessarily what

:35:37.:35:40.

the health care services will pay. There's some very effective and

:35:41.:35:44.

competitive discounts going on. Might we be paying less than the

:35:45.:35:50.

?35,000? I would almost guarantee that within the process that we

:35:51.:35:56.

access medication, the government does a very good job of making sure

:35:57.:36:02.

it is being a careful buyer when they are investing in new medicines.

:36:03.:36:06.

It's not just a case of one medicine. We have at least three

:36:07.:36:11.

hepatitis C products all competing for that very treatment area.

:36:12.:36:16.

Competition will be driving value, no doubt. We give Gilead monopoly on

:36:17.:36:22.

the one they've got, which is the one that has the best genotype use.

:36:23.:36:27.

We give them the monopoly through patents, which allows them to charge

:36:28.:36:32.

the high price. Would it be reasonable for society to say, if

:36:33.:36:37.

you are going to abuse it, we will shorten the patents? Patents are

:36:38.:36:44.

very important to protect investment in our NDA. A patents and allows you

:36:45.:36:48.

to disclose and protect your investment. Pricing should be a

:36:49.:36:53.

separate conversation. When we look at the value of any drug, and I

:36:54.:36:58.

wouldn't compare between the different hepatitis C products

:36:59.:37:02.

necessarily, but when you look at how they are going to negotiate

:37:03.:37:06.

their value, they will look not just at what it costs to bring them to

:37:07.:37:10.

market, but what it means for patients. It is sad that patients

:37:11.:37:15.

are having to work so hard to get a medication that is approved by NICE.

:37:16.:37:23.

If you had hepatitis C and the health care system said they would

:37:24.:37:28.

not buy you the drugs, would you go to a buyers' club? With my

:37:29.:37:34.

background, I used to work a lot in regular systems. I would be

:37:35.:37:38.

concerned working on a system that didn't go through the normal

:37:39.:37:43.

channels. Come on. You would take it, wouldn't you? I can see the ways

:37:44.:37:48.

that we can abuse people's trust on the Internet, so I would like to

:37:49.:37:53.

keep people in the safe, sound system of the NHS. Thank you.

:37:54.:37:56.

Atheism is not as modern a creed as you might think.

:37:57.:38:00.

A new book called Battling The Gods looks at disbelief in God

:38:01.:38:03.

in the ancient world and finds it is not the case

:38:04.:38:05.

That's perhaps contrary to the view that atheism is a feature

:38:06.:38:09.

The author is Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture

:38:10.:38:12.

and a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge.

:38:13.:38:15.

Good evening. You are talking about the Romans and the Greeks, and

:38:16.:38:27.

atheism there. How did we miss the fact that there were a lot of

:38:28.:38:32.

disbelievers at the time? I'm not the first person to have noticed

:38:33.:38:36.

that there were disbelievers in antiquity. The book pulls together

:38:37.:38:40.

all of this material. Part of the reason why people have not

:38:41.:38:44.

historically focused on this thing is because we see the Greeks and

:38:45.:38:49.

Romans as pre-Christian, and define them as the antithesis of

:38:50.:38:54.

Christianity. The Greeks and the Romans had to be about outward

:38:55.:39:00.

ritual acts and so forth, and a lot of it was. But they did have this

:39:01.:39:05.

issue of belief in the gods. Essentially, at the time, they

:39:06.:39:09.

didn't know that the Earth revolved around the sun. They didn't know a

:39:10.:39:14.

lot. What were the grounds of people being atheistic? You can see why

:39:15.:39:20.

gods and their moods would have been explanations for quite a lot of

:39:21.:39:26.

things. It's very interesting. That argument that says there was a time

:39:27.:39:30.

when people were naive and silly and believed that the heavenly bodies

:39:31.:39:35.

were gods and so forth was in the past, and we moved beyond that, but

:39:36.:39:39.

the Greeks themselves did beyond that, on occasion. The idea that

:39:40.:39:44.

their original people lived in squalid disorder and so forth, and

:39:45.:39:51.

they miss perceived the patterns of the celestial bodies, and nowadays

:39:52.:39:56.

we don't believe that any more. It is exactly the same trait. You talk

:39:57.:40:00.

about those periods. But religion becomes more dogmatic and

:40:01.:40:05.

monotheistic. Atheism is perhaps a little harder in the monotheistic

:40:06.:40:13.

era. Yes. When Christianity comes in, you get a lot of legislation

:40:14.:40:20.

about the nature of belief. Christianity isn't hardest on

:40:21.:40:25.

atheists. It is hardest on Christians who don't believe in the

:40:26.:40:30.

correct way. A code drawn up in late Antiquity to try and dictate the

:40:31.:40:36.

kind of beliefs that were prof, it is the Christian heretics forget it

:40:37.:40:44.

worse. Your basic purpose is to say that your basic beings are

:40:45.:40:47.

instinctively religious until science comes along and says, hey

:40:48.:40:52.

guys, the earth goes around the sun and it isn't the gods, is wrong,

:40:53.:40:59.

basically. I think it... It is a hunch, I cannot prove it, but it is

:41:00.:41:04.

a hunch that in all cultures at all times, there were people who

:41:05.:41:08.

disbelieved in the gods. You do not need a science and secularism to

:41:09.:41:14.

understand it. The other thing is that the new atheists - there is

:41:15.:41:17.

something in the book to annoy everyone - the new atheists didn't

:41:18.:41:27.

believe either. Richard Hawkins and that lot, the new atheists, ten to

:41:28.:41:32.

talk about the invention of atheism as though it were solely a product

:41:33.:41:39.

of science. But in the past, a lot of people became atheists, in the

:41:40.:41:43.

18th-century, for example, by reading the classics. Good luck with

:41:44.:41:49.

the book. Thank you very much. Just time to congratulate our very

:41:50.:41:53.

own Chris Cook, who tonight shared the RTS scoop of the year award

:41:54.:41:57.

with Buzzfeed

:41:58.:42:00.

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