tv [untitled] February 10, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm EST
hello and welcome to cross talk where all things are considered on peter lavelle the european union likes to think of itself as one of the brighter and fairer parts of the world but european commission report on corruption the first of its kind but creates a very different picture in every single member country there is corruption in some cases on a massive scale and businesses complain but to do business government connections are often necessary so what can the e.u. teach the world about corruption.
cross-talk corruption in the e.u. i'm joined by my guest broken are in berlin he is a political analyst in asia on monday professor for european studies in london we have david coburn he is a u.k. independence party regional chairman and here in moscow we cross to john hell of it he is a managing partner at the group all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it david if i go to you first in london let me just read some of the high points eight out of ten believe the close links between business and politics lead to corruption almost all firms in greece spain italy believe corruption is widespread four out of ten firms surveyed describe corruption as an obstacle to doing business sixty four percent of british respondents said they believe that corruption is widespread in the u.k. and the top it off the cost of corruption it is estimated to the e.u. economy is equivalent to the blocks entire annual budget i think the term was breathtaking what's your reaction. well yes i mean the european union
itself is a corrupt institution from beginning to end but they haven't added to their books for some one thousand years so. they're not exactly a good example to set to business or to politics it is quite a dreadful organization every failed politician in any european country when he's finished making a mess of his own country then he was who often get a job with the european union or the european commission only in berlin and how do you reflect upon this report it's quite damning it's really quite extraordinary the extent of corruption particularly in some countries of the e.u. . first of all the report does not presenting the picture of what actually is corruption but how corruption is perceived and that shows that there's a much greater sensitivity for things that are going wrong which is a clear sign that our democracy is working well because this is about checks and
balances all right john how do you react to the report so democracy is working in the e.u. . well i was very surprised that the finally wanting to come out and meet that they have corruption on their home ground because they wanted to portray russia as to corrupt the country for all these. years so it's a good opening although i don't think that that the report shows at all the real level of corruption which is much much higher. you must remember that in the you there is. a great deal of the corruption is institutionalized it's such a kind of a common corruption that you don't see here it's like lobbying it's like a tailor made a directive to support certain businesses and so on ok david i know that the report does talk about perceptions but it seems the perception is that business and
politicians it is they've institutionalized their cozy relationship at the cost of an estimation again of one hundred twenty billion euros a year that's quite a staggering number. well there are under twenty billion a year i think has sort of disappeared into the you get somewhere heck of a lot i think the the budget is three hundred thirty three million so something in the question is something like a third of the budgets go walkies that's really not good enough and the european union itself as i said before is a corrupt institution every failed politician or businessman ends up in the european commission or whatever and. they are setting the example for the rest of europe one can only be surprised. i don't see why we should continue to put money at least a great britain should put money into this corrupt system is in deadly corrupt system let me go ahead john you want to jump in go ahead yeah for fairness sake
where the report is done by the commission but the figure one hundred twenty is what they did and it is trying to suppress into countries india no they think it is to corruption into you countries while they suppress their that's not the direction and the vet you notice the corruption in europe itself that's misdirection like any any good magician you don't watch the hand that he's presenting to you you should be watching the other hand you don't see and that's what you're trying to do the moment they're trying to give a certain amount of dismissed direction so you don't see the corruption at the heart of europe itself correct ok i think you guys are agreeing here only that a lot of the commentary about this report says that there is a culture of corruption of this cozy relationship between businesses and governments and politicians how do you react to that because again if this is an estimation and if it's you know a lot of people commenting on the reports it's
a tip of the iceberg are you that critical of it. well that don't think it makes any sense to discuss numbers because we all seem to have a very different point of view on what the definition of corruption actually implies when we speak of lobbying this is another important component of a functioning western type democracy because over a percentage deaves need to communicate with stakeholders in society and they try to convince politicians that the way they look at a problem should be part of their decisions this is important and it's different from corruption the fact that we now have a number is part of the say it strategy of the european commission to motivate people like us to sit in studios and to reflect how we can deal with an urgent problem of corruption that certainly exist but it's not out of the nature of the european union it has been existed for centuries in countries where you simply didn't have a functioning administration so what the european union is trying to do is to
address this problem and to improve it by best practice and not to be blamed by an artificial starship that is more corrupt than systems in the member states there's definitely a big difference in the culture of corruption in each and every member state you can even localize it by the distribution of the problem or at least in its perception in the member states that scandinavian countries obviously have a different culture and the further south you go or in some distant country may i say financial i mean how much bigger problem of it go ahead john go ahead john you know if it's not a question of scandinavian countries having a big different culture of them being in any way better it's just more totalitarian they have a police state that. corruption. on the lower level there is not going to be very little things exactly to describe the scandinavian countries police states go ahead david but i don't think that's the case i think they have
a different i think they have a different cultural approach and scandinavian countries and great i come from there. we have a different. i come from one of the understood european countries. all this sort of stuff is in debt making the whole thing ok you only have to look at the range all right john john going to give us let me clear this up john let me clear this up ok are you more virtuous because you come from one of those countries then countries from the south you know that's not the reason why are more workers there are the reason for that but let me give an example i'm doing well the reason. i meet i'm doing twenty years accounting and tax compliance services in russia. we have a lot of finnish clients of course because i come from finland and it used to be the time not anymore because they know we don't give that kind of advice but everything that makes one hundred percent honest technical aeration in
finland used to come to us and asked how do we have border taxes in russia that's been because they thought that in russia they can get our way with the ok well they certainly can't here why did the commission do this because so there is some estimates there are one hundred twenty million people in the european union itself that are in sickle called prop poverty right now and this is partly one of the major regions because of the financial crisis of two thousand and eight two thousand and nine i mean does it take a crisis like this for the european union to look at its own standards legal standards in the end how do you address even define corruption. of course it doesn't need a crisis to come up with a report like this if you carefully watch what the european union is and what it does it has always lived up to its standards and it has always done things like establishing an institution to fight after all the mismanagement but if you look at
the at the core understanding of what that is that's also to whom it is not only to open borders and to increase competition and to accept the rules of the market in a single market but if it also insists on concepts like solidarity and cohesion we transfer money from the core to the periphery and the larger the amount of money the higher the incentives to use it for dubious businesses or to use it for corruption so if they wouldn't be something like reduce pollution when you go to the problem to christenings i don't see how it is in space then it undermines should understanding of solidarity and support ok david jump in godhead. well i would be insulted the tradition of great britain to redistribute wealth it's not it that's a socialist concept that we don't we don't particularly agree with we believe in creating a level playing field yes but we don't believe in transferring vast amounts of money from one place to another we think that other countries which are not doing
particularly well should be encouraged to do better we are a capitalist country this notion of of transferring money about in terms of social solidarity is very much as french socialist concept and something to which we don't agree and one of the reasons why britain doesn't fit in very well with the european and european concept in general because the european concept in general is a as a socialist concept john how do you reflect upon that because again you are right you have got date of britain you know you as the state of britain perfectly agreed with this what you called socialist concept because every member state agreed to the forms of reach no policy aquaculture policy and structural policy and you greatly benefited with the under development policy most certainly does not well as everybody else did. all right all right gentlemen i'm going to jump in here gentlemen i'm going to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on corruption in the e.u. stay with. me
feeling. there's a saying you know when you're in the arctic you have the entire world at your feet . she looks like a fairly simple shit but really she's not simple little handful of people ever have access to the nuclear icebreakers the real king here is that the polar bear and ice breakers come second not a single complex expedition to the arctic can be conducted without the russian nuclear powered fleet of ice breakers we've undertaken a unique operation. the northern sea route russia's arctic
if. there's a media so we leave that maybe. by the same potions to cure. party. is that no one is asking with the guests that you deserve answers from. politics only on our t.v. . welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing corruption in the european union.
ok john i'd like to go back to you you know the redistribution of wealth here it's really quite interesting is that after all these years of the european economic community all the way to the e.u. today there's been a redistribution of wealth and the people that got most of the money are still the most corrupt i mean is this working or not working. well of course it's not working the problem is that. e.u. really. a socialist concept and it's not really an exaggeration to say that it's moving closer and soviet union model where they they have this is told he's drawing to a. model you know let me make my job let me show you the latest vanishing point first finish your point there they have destroyed to. market economy and competition and what they distribute in the so-called solidarity they ruin and we
call them curious euro ok only in berlin you want to react to that go ahead yes the region bankruptcy this is absolutely do reasons totally nonsense because it is a market economy and the total budget of the european union what we are talking about is not more than one percent of the cheapie of the european union the total budget is about the size of the pot. finland and if this is called a socialist concept then look at the size of well first states on the national level this is totally ridiculous in comparison ok david ignore what what's ridiculous about the them that are so ridiculous about the the e.u. marching in more or less to greece and to cyprus and starting talking about reading people's private bank accounts i mean these people and what what what could possibly be be positive about that to study diddly socialist more sightly communist
i would say to talk about reading people's private bank accounts to support the european union and this is what they're talking about they your group as well have been critical your. postings and you can see in comparison you would agree because doing very well people of falling over themselves immigrants are falling over themselves to get into great britain because they know the rest of europe is bust portugal's bust spain's bust greece's bust france's the brink of being bust and the whole thing's being financed by germany and great britain and quite frankly it doesn't work and they're keeping it afloat because they're too embarrassed to admit the mess they have made ok only in berlin please while the whole thing is not financed perjurer money and great britain cause once again the size of the budget is one percent and we are talking about peanuts in comparison to what well first dates inside of each and every member state so we should just keep things in order
and if i think it's sort of an audition what i want you to do those are you. early finish plays an important role when we speak of categories like socialism and if you criticize what the troika does in so-called program countries and the alternative to us taxpayers to pay for it would sound much more socialist so whatever model you prefer there's always something to criticize which in fact has nothing to do with corruption ok john let me go to you i mean one of the i want to talk about where we move forward here and how to fix this problem first of all there hasn't been an in-depth study on how the european commission operates and how it expands money maybe that will come with us soon but i mean is this a report i mean some could use it to say this is a way for brussels to tighten the screws even more and to take more and more solvent he away from the member countries could you see it being used that way well of course it's in it's one of the tools tools for that because the real problem
with the e.u. is that they are taking away the sovereignty from they had taken away the sovereignty from the member countries and that's why the point of the e.u. being socialist is not the size of the e.u. budget. it's the size it's the way how they direct their the budgets and finances of all the car other countries ok david do you worry about the tightening of some not only go to david here in london do you worry about the tightening of screws here when it to react to this. report on corruption. well they tried to suppress it because they're terrified of of political parties like you keep and various our other anti european parties springing up all across europe to dissatisfaction with the system spain is on the brink of collapse bulge on the brink of collapse the whole thing is falling apart and they're desperately trying to stitch
a deal of his brains they can and they're trying to look as if they were tackling corruption but they're not so they have no interest in doing that every failed politician of or anywhere in europe ends up in the european commission in the end i'm sure we'll see mr clegg the other fail politician soon appearing as the european commission. finished helping keeping mr mr cameron afloat only word of where does the european union go from here based on this report what would you like to see happen what kind of productivity would you like to see. well first of all let me say that what we heard before is total nonsense if we look at what the european your commission actually does in this field what they provide is information and they leave it perfectly up to each and every member state to address the problem according to the situation in each and every member state so in this particular case there's not a soul that's will truly interfere all senators are trying to listen to possibly people are calling greece this is all about occupy greece this is
a difference this is a different story what the condition that our government releases are helping her to refinance its budget when we talk about all of the revenue helping and that's only. a democratically elected preamble state that what we need generally gentlemen gentlemen quickly is that from best don't talk over each other don't talk over each other john you're not talking john do you do you think that they have the tools to be able to address i mean they released a report so what are they going to do now that they're not going to stand by and say well this is a dreadful situation they're going to somebody is going to use it for something go ahead well have. people in the crowd in countries such as spain italy and greece are getting very frustrated with the corruption and and the problems and i think really david said they wanted to come out with the report to show that they are. doing something which they are not ok so this is a public relations this is a public good no no let me go to italy in berlin that's a very good point this is
a part of it that yes it's very very bad but what are you going to do for the people in greece for example or cyprus or spain and southern italy and going on and on i mean i i'm not i'm not i'm an american and i don't have to care of the european union collapses or not it's none of my business here but i do know that there is a zero issue there is growth there is growing poverty in the european union and people da ta it to corruption as well. well the motto of european integration is unity in diversity if you would too much centralized competent system we have all the reasons to call it a socialist project and then we have all the reasons to criticize the commission for being ignorant about differences the idea of the problem of the report is to present developments that need to be addressed by each and every member state the what the commission does is to send letters to each and every member. not just
something that you can improve that has importance seventeen years for example in germany the financing of parties and this is part of our discourse at the moment where we can improve a particular problem not make sure enough she learns from example from experience in finland and this is how we can improve her situation if we are a club of twenty eight very different member states ok david in london just been go ahead. well it is very clear this is a pile of waffle quite frankly on a pile of piffle quite honestly the whole thing's nonsense this is these they have no intention of doing anything about it because they can't the whole thing is is so far gone so such a corrupt mass of the started properly investigating it there will be lots of people doing jail time so they're hardly likely to do that they'll do absolutely nothing about it they'll make appropriate noises then quietly ignore it the only thing to do with the european union is simply to get out of it you know we can have a good relationship with europe in terms of free trade that's what you can't want
but we don't want people each of those pockets or each of the bank accounts the euro is a catastrophe we all know that we can see what's happening there is employment in great britain a booming economy here and the rest of europe it's a mess so you know the proof of the pudding is in the ok john i mean one of the biggest problems when you deal with corruption particularly if there's very strong and dubious relations between business and politicians it's pretty hard to crack down on you know you know that this is just you know you know buying a permit you know bribing somebody for something this is very high level here and it's institutionalized according to the report anyway and there is a perception of that is well how do you deal with that on a on a on a scale of the european union because we have so many different countries and the centralisation in brussels is brussels prepared to take some a hard look at itself. well. go ahead john
ross holds his son on elected bureaucracy so of course a they can never deal with it the only way to deal with such. corruption problems they have in your opinion used to restore democracy and the country's ok. how do you hear the point across league i mean there's i mean one of the people there is one of the major criticisms i'm sorry one of the major criticisms is that there's a democracy deficit in the european union as john pointed out it's an unelected government bureaucracy in brussels and it's time and again that stone against the european union how do you react to that in light of this report. well there is certainly a democratic deficit but you find also democratic deficits international systems and there's always room for improvement because we never get the real thing and that's why it's so important to have reports like that who name and blame problems and then member states are put in the limelight to change this but it shouldn't be
done in a socialist centralized manner where a powerful institution in brussels should also surround that's why the report is a great contribution and member states with the democratically elected governments and institutions should trust the problems according to the situation in each and every member state this is not exactly the responsibility of the european union but the european union can give a great helping hand and that's what the report is about ok jim i know that london has a lot more to say on this but generally we've run out of time we've run out of time many thanks to my guests today in berlin and in london and in moscow and thanks to our viewers for watching us here to see you next time and remember. little. easier.
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