tv BBC Newsnight WHUT April 1, 2012 8:00am-8:30am EDT
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what can we do for you? >> and now "bbc newsnight." perhaps pocket tell it the seeds the at the texas police >> no country can once again live in crisis. this week, we delivered a program about germany at. some say they're holding the whole thing together both politically and economically. in a rare interview, we speak to angela merkel about her upbringing and how she reacts to being called a nazi from some increase. >> the variance make remarks about more than germans. i am tolerant.
>> can in germany shed its troubled past and lead in the 21st century? "having come to terms with the nazi -- >> having come to terms with nazi germany, it is like they have not come to terms with their cultural heritage. >> no other european power can command the attention in the way that angela merkel does. she has led the way through the turmoil of the european crisis. selling the bailout to countries that are seen to be profligate, and selling the idea to her own people. she gives interviews very rarely
but i was fortunate enough to speak to her at length in berlin. first, how far are the lutheran ideas of responsibility and a to bail outorts other european countries. one of the leading thinkers was going christen the alarm to -- was growing increasingly alarmed. german taxpayers were being fleeced of their cash. it went to go pay for projects in southern europe and many germans decided it was probably being wasted. that man was martin luther who famously named his points rebelling against the pope.
brought about reformation which shook not only germany to its foundations. whole of europe. he wanted to be part of the great european project in his head, he said it was a rip-off and the money was being wasted. when it came to economics and politics, economics one. does that remind you of anyone? the most powerful woman in the world, the first woman chancellor of germany, is a daughter of a lutheran pastor steeped in the virtues of thrift, hard work, and behaving responsibly. one of the reasons why angela merkel remains personally powerful, her image is like the house frau next door. sometimes this puts her at odds with her desire to be a good european. now, even if modern germany is
divided between catholics, lutherans or other religions, it is a lutheran god they don't believe then. the influence of the way they think about the economy is everywhere. "luther's followers are the backbone of the economic miracle. hard-working, small-business owners, teachers, professionals. they are sharing a very german east background with angela merkel. just like chancellor merkel, they believe and christian charity towards others in need. perhaps they can say what their leader cannot, that their
patience is wearing thin. >> they should have checked those countries before they joined the european community. we have to watch the greek and spanish and other countries. >> if somebody pays for those, others should follow. >> which isn't happening now? >> now, but we never give up hope. >> that is a very lutheran approach. >> the core of loser is the most to question authority -- the core of lutheranism is to question the pope. >> this is the only room originally preserved. >> they are so proud of their lutheran rubble, they have named themselves after him. >> luther was one of the deep
theologians connected with everyday life. on the idea of the transfer of money, this can only happen if those people to get the gift really make efforts to change. this is the core of the lutheran social ethics and still today. this is something that people would understand in germany right now. >> the pianist and conductor has lived and worked in germany for the past 20 years and he is one of the sharpest observers of german culture. "it's one of the main pillars of german education and family, they teach their children is not the valley of generosity but the value of saving.
it is not in their culture to teach the children when they are growing up and they are invited someone in -- and they are invited somewhere to go to dinner, they bring flowers are something as a gesture of being a good guest. the political attitudes are the result of the way in which people educate themselves. >> the modern german dilemma is this, angela merkel was born into a country which was destroyed by hitler and then divided by stalling. the core of her politics was to be a good european and not make the same mistakes again. the policies are lutheran, they are thrifty. they did not want to throw good german money into a european pit for someone else to spend.
chancellor merkel reminds us that four germans, the european project is a political choice and therefore must not fail. a devout catholics thought much the same about the church of rome until the reformation became unstoppable. the unthinkable is unthinkable until it happens. i caught up with europe's most powerful politician in berlin. what she reminded me was that it was a very rare interview. her christian democrats are not very popular but she herself is very much admired. she is seen as honest, pragmatic. she told me in perfect english that she would enjoy our small gift of british tea and biscuits but she chose to be interviewed in german.
>> i have been talking to many german people and the one thing that almost all say is that we're becoming more and more irritated with spending money which goes far away and spend five people that perhaps we don't entirely trust. do you share some of their irritation? -- money which goes far away and spent by people that perhaps we don't entirely trust. >> no, i don't feel the same way. we have to think about how and where we shape the future. we're not looking at the past with how people live today and how they will live in the future. we have to be very careful not to live beyond our means. democracy is all of the world and they are used to spending more money than they have in revenue. that is not what any family can do. in politics, you must use the
same principles that you do at home. >> people fear another bailout and it will not to speak greece, but another country, perhaps, that it is endless. can you say enough is enough? >> that is not how is going to happen. there has been a rethink going on in europe for some time. some countries except to the rescue package but they don't particularly relish it. they must follow conditions set out by the imf, the ecb, and the european commission. what democratic government wants to be in that situation for the duration? of the past two years in europe, particularly in the eurozone, we have learned a lot and we must reflect why are we together in europe. we must display solidarity and balance responsibility. i look at the world as a whole.
the world is different from the 1950's. we no longer have 2.5 billion people with 500 million europeans. we have 7 billion people and 500 million europeans. we have a much smaller share in the global population. just 7%. the 7% share values. values of democracy, freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, freedom to travel, and freedom of faith and religion. preserving freedoms against those who think differently is a good reason to get together and say, we want to stand up for these principles. this is what guides us in europe. >> you have been very clear about your hopes for the future and get some people to use the same old cliches from the past. some in the newspapers have said that this is a german? on our head again.
they're going back to the nazi past. -- some in the newspapers have said that this is once again a german boot on our head. >> is a very tense situation. europe is in crisis. this has brought about a very tough discussions in many countries printed european discussion over the euro has become almost domestic politics. we debate a very harshly in our parliament and we use tough words. maybe something is servicing in the back of people's minds. thankfully, we have learned to solve our conflicts peacefully, to talk about them, and to turn this into opportunity. i come from a federal country were sometimes more than germans make remarks about the bavarian or the variance make remarks
about number germans. -- where sometimes more than germans to make remarks about bavarians or vice versa. >> when you talk about words like thriftiness and savings measures, this is what many people in britain think is the right thing to do what they tend to be skeptical. we think because we think you are right on this, that the euro itself in the end must fall apart because so many other countries to not believe that including france in the future. >> maybe some people in britain also have a few prejudices left here and there about what country can do what parents to the u.k. has embarked on a very strict austerity drive and i think that david cameron was
right to do that. it is something that each country in europe can do because of all learned that no country can live beyond its means. we have learned this from the global financial markets. otherwise, global investors decide not to have confidence. once the markets lose confidence, we pay a heavy price. all european countries have understood this lesson and half to pave the way for political decisions. in britain, there have been protests and protests have started in other countries t. we are convinced that together we are much stronger. we get so much better benefit from the common currency that we should respect the rules as they are set out. >> there are some bad things that it would be more kind to let greece ago. europe would survive, greece would do better.
and the pain and possibly of conflict in greece and elsewhere cannot be ruled out. >> greece has time and again explained that it would like to remain in the euro. they have major weaknesses. but they are trying to overcome them. bidet in the administration or the competitiveness of the business community. it is going to be a long and arduous road. we have taken the decision to be in a currency union. this is not only in monetary decision, this is a political one. it would be catastrophic if we were to say to one of those who have decided to be with us, we no longer want you. incidentally, the treaties to not allow for that anyway. people all over the world ask, who would be next? the european area would be incredibly weekend. the export nation germany in particular benefits from the euro. it would be a huge political
mistake to allow greece to leave. that is why we will be clear with greece. we will say, if you want to be part of the common currency, you have to do your homework. at the same time, we will always support you. >> many british people see you as the most powerful politician in europe and the most powerful woman perhaps in the world and they wonder, are male leaders still sexist towards you and other women? >> no, i don't have that impression at all. it is becoming more and more of a normalcy tend to we used to have any less women but now, we have a danish prime minister, a lithuanians president and you and britain have had your only good experience with a female promise to in the past. women in the past forged ahead and paved the way for us. should there be any prejudice is, there are just as many male
colleagues who don't have those prejudices anymore. >> chancellor, thank you very much. as we have heard, the chancels leadership of germany is between her principles and the rallies of the economic crisis. hardly anyone disputes that the country must place some kind of leadership role since they have the midas the economy in europe. -- they have the strongest economy in europe. they are uneasy about the bold leadership from berlin that resulted in two world wars and the destruction and a vision of their country. -- destruction and division of the country. militaryy's long
tradition had given birth to a new country, the oldest democracy after unification. we were invited to watch the navy honor guard escorting the chancellor to him a meeting with another democracy, tunisia. germans nowadays are extremely cautious about their use of power and uncomfortable with the idea of german leadership in europe. it is the "f" word. >> i would sit here clear of a term like "fuhror." i have a daughter who is a member of the younger close group.
they are the young leaders. >> it might be an economic giant but desperate never again to be seen as a bully, germany often plays the political pygmy in world affairs. and yet, as germans think about their future in europe, wherever you go in this country, the past this not history, it is not really past. this is berlin's shopping area and this is one of its most posh stores. just behind me is the underground station. a charming place in the 1920's being refurbished. there is a sign which says, the that thishorrors concentration camps and extermination camps and it says "we're always to remember this."
this pianist says that as a jewish man, he admires germany for coming to terms of the past the wonders it is time to leave the guilt behind. >> having come to terms with aziir past, with the not period in germany, there is almost a rejection of their own cultural heritage. they don't want to hear about the german way of producing things, the famous dark german drinks, etc.. they want to do this. i think this is a pity because culture, different cultures in europe have very nationalistic
elements. >> this is serious station run by a pair of german entrepreneurs. they are keen on the new and different. >> everything at some point, it would not be graded the name or rita station or -- or a radio station. -- it would not be created with a german name. >> germany is indeed in flocks, europe is in flux, and this radio station is proving a huge success for this generation. there are frequent news bulletins, phone in some discussions about politics. -- phone ins, and some
discussions about politics. >> hello, how are you? >> i'm fine, how are you. >> we have our next listener. >> how do you think that germany can lead in europe? >> i don't think that we want to or that we have to lead politically on our own. i think that it can be collaborative, working together with all european nations. >> hello. >> how do you feel that germany leading in europe? >> i feel like germany is being modest in trying to not appear to be strong internationally and i hope it stays that way. >> we have to make a quick break right here. >> for a glimpse of how a new germany might grow from be --
from the flux of the old, i went to a production house. in cutting rooms here, hitler's protegee shows the führer himself. one of germany's most creative new ways -- new film directors is previewing a trailer for his latest thriller. for his generation, the horrors of the past are to be forgotten and never be repeated. however, they must not prevent younger germans from playing a wider role in europe. >> it is it possible really to move on? >> yes, absolutely. if you look and speak to people
who are 17 or 18, and they don't feel this change. they don't feel the guilt anymore. like world war ii is so far away as for your generation. for us, it is a new generation, we are living in the age of facebook, youtube. don't tell us about globalization. if i talk to my own father, he says that we have to protect greece. it is our responsibility. the european idea? if i speak to my younger cousin she says, let them go, it is too much money. >> for 150 years, europe has had to come to terms with some kind of german question. the answer, every generation or so was usually wore. we and the new generations of germans have new questions. -- the answer, every generation
or so was usually war. memories and memorials are virtually inescapable. it's hardly surprising that the core of foreign policy has been to have no problems with their neighbors. if the consequence of that is the german politician sometimes have to take a back seat when it comes to leading in europe, most germans seem to be content with that. at least for now. one of the reasons why angela merkel is personally popular is that she understands perfectly the dilemma of german leadership. a woman conservative, cautious in a system full of checks and balances, she is the opposite of old german leaders who risks and lost everything. 80 million people and the strongest economy and 500 million europeans, will someday have to come to terms with fewer
leaders. that is all from germany and us this week. goodbye. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations.