tv European Journal KCSMMHZ February 26, 2013 2:00am-2:30am PST
>> hello and a very warm welcome from "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. here's what's coming up in the next half hour -- switzerland, how parliamentarians are fighting against that had feared. and our viking's part of the world's cultural heritage? first to italy, where parliamentary elections are coming up. prime minister mario monti has imposed strict reforms, raised
taxes and made it easier for companies to lay off employees, all part of an effort to get italy off the list of endangered eurozone countries. before he took office, italy was in bad economic shape, having lagged behind its economic neighbors for years, but italians are fed up with this strict past, and lately, support for the former premier, silvio berlusconi, has been on the rise again. >> it has been the same for 20 years -- the same music, the same fans, all this for silvio berlusconi. boosted by recent polls, he appears to be in splendid form and can even afford a touch of self-deprecating and. -- self-depredation. >> i took a look in the mirror before leaving the house and thought what a shame the old
mirrors do not exist anymore. i always looked so handsome and young. >> that is what his fans like so much -- he always has a joke or an amusing anecdote. he is also good at making promises. >> do you want fewer taxes on companies, families, and income? >> berlusconi's campaign announcements are legendary. in 2001, he offered italians a packed and signed it live on television. in 2006, he promised to abolish property and real estate taxes. this year, he is hoping to win the elections again with the same promises, but he has not always made good on his promises. that is why many voters have turned their backs on him.
some have turned to mario monti. they hope his centrist alliance will lead italy out of the crisis. others are even willing to give their vote to the comedian. his five-our movement has united many who are completely disappointed by the party politics -- his five-star movement. but berlusconi has a loyal following. over espressos, they swear that berlusconi will rescue the country, just as they did their football club, and there are plenty of fans. >> berlusconi is charming. he lets us believe in the future. he is like a life raft people cling to.
>> but not everyone has so much faith. some say that after four elections, berlusconi has had enough chances to reform italy. >> after 20 years and so many promises, you really have to ask what he has actually done. he has a poor record. he can conduct another great campaign. people are sick of politicians who make promises they just do not keep. >> berlusconi has a village just a few kilometers away. this is where many of the infamous parties are posted. in what has become known as the ruby case, berlusconi is being tried on charges of paying for sex with minors. the verdict is expected after the elections.
this town has distanced itself from its most famous inhabitant. the democratic left has been in power here for two years. the mayor wants to promote a more positive image. >> we do not want to hear about the scandals and more. a woman rules as mayor here. there's a majority of women on the council. they speak professionally, with competence, even to silvio berlusconi. his portrayal of women has nothing to do with reality. >> after living here for 40 years, colombo things berlusconi could have done more for the town. she is still waiting for him to get back to her on plans to turn this renaissance villa into a cultural center. nobody here at the democratic left party headquarters believes berlusconi will make a comeback.
they have faith in the center- left candidate, who is ahead in the polls. >> these policies are different from those of berlusconi, who just arrived with his bodyguards and disappears into his villa. he is not interested in the city he lives in. that speaks volumes. he just uses his position to defend his own interests. >> berlusconi rejects such talk as propaganda, but he knows he will only keep his legal troubles at bay as long as he is still in the political game, and that is why, once again, he is placing all his bets on this year's elections. ♪
>> istanbul as the only city in the world located on two continents -- europe and asia. that is significant not just from a political point of view, but earthquake researchers also keep an eye on turkey's largest city. i see tectonic plates under is and will start moving, there is a high risk of a severe earthquake, but these warnings are currently being ignored. its symbol is dealing with an increasing number of tourists and rich investors. it is a top location, which means good business for the building sector. them as moving company is doing a raging business. he is in a perfect position to see how his city is changing every day. up to seven days a week, he helps people, rich or poor, move themselves and their property. once everything is packed and loaded, he drives his moving van through the metropolis of 15
million. that drive can take several hours. >> i have more jobs than ever before. the rich are taking over whole districts in the city and pushing out the poor, but for my business, that is good. >> his workplace, istanbul, covers 2392 square kilometers. its symbol is in a building boom. for the last 10 years, it has been europe's fastest-growing region. everything is going higher, faster, and further. and the race to set records in concrete and glass seems to have no limits. istanbul's third airport is scheduled to open in 2013 as the world's biggest air traffic hub.
but this booming city is built on unstable ground. istanbul is in an earthquake zone. so the state is calling for better building standards, but that costs lots of money. and 80% to 90% of turkey's economy depends on the construction industry, so, of course, there is pressure. international finance capital has its eye on istanbul. the city is considered a top investment site. >> this was istanbul before the boom. it was the world's best known roman district, it must see for every istanbul tourists. roma have lived here since byzantine times, but the district is in the middle of the city, so four years ago, the people were evicted from the dilapidated buildings.
the district is unrecognizable today. new luxury apartments are spread off like fortresses. we set off in search of former residents. after a two-hour drive, we find housing that was built for the roma in the outskirts of the city, but many apartments stand empty. >> many people simply cannot afford to pay the rent. they have left because there was no work for them. i am going to leave, too. i cannot stand it anymore. >> he is on the way to a current hot spot of gentrification, a district in transformation -- or demolition. it is home to 70,000 people. it is the oldest area designated
as built overnight without a permit. many of the buildings would be especially unsafe in an earthquake. it is also a very desirable location. when new buildings replaced the old, a different economic class will move here. >> they are building regular mansions with swimming pools and servants. the high society will be coming here. who else can afford it? we will have to move out of the city. then he has lived here all his life, but soon that will change. in a few days, he will have to vacate his little teahouse. >> i really do not know where to go. i cannot find anything affordable here in the neighborhood. what will become of us? >> today's moving jobs takes into an old district.
a to was once istanbul's well- to-do jewish quarter. many left it for israel. they were replaced mostly by people from the shores of the black sea. more and more of them came, and the apartments filled up to the point of crowding, and the district deteriorated. the location is absolutely prime, so the city administration would love to push out the low-income residents to make way for wealthier people. ibrahim was born here, and he is fighting the city's efforts to destroy the old architectural monuments and make the city shiny, soulless, and modern. >> officially, the people here have not been allowed to restore anything for years, even though some residents would gladly spend money to do so, and said the buildings are falling apart.
as you can see, it is part of a plan. >> growth versus grown structures, the conflict is common, but this boom may actually be a bubble. >> istanbul now has a total of 800,000 empty apartments -- that is an omen of a crisis coming to the real-estate market. >> the business is still booming along with the city. sometimes it seems as if the whole city is in motion and then he will never have a shortage of work. >> the rich are moving into the skyscrapers in the center. the pork can no longer afford it here and have to leave. >> so the 10-year boom has been a success, but only for part of society. the rest may be left in the wake of relentless progress, and
nothing in its symbol is what it used to be. and many people say the current economic crisis was caused partly because banks paid excessive bonuses to their top speculators, giving them an incentive to continue risky behavior. hi bonuses have since become a very contentious topics. the eu is currently working on plans to limit banker bonuses. it would be a historic first. a swiss politician also launched an initiative a few years ago. he was fed up with the high bonuses paid to managers in switzerland's top companies. now swiss voters will decide if stockholders of companies will be able to determine how much money managers get. >> if -- is thomas a modern-day william tell or simply obsessed with revenge? for months, the 49-year-old businessman has been promoting his initiative to tighten controls on executive
compensation with countless speeches, debates, and interviews. 16 hours a day he is in the fight of his life. >> the debate in assembly's committee, blocks have been phenomenal. it is a real pleasure to have the swiss system of direct democracy and to use it as an individual. >> it began in 2001 when swiss air was grounded. for the swiss, the bankruptcy of their debt-ridden national carrier was traumatic. in the company's last ceo -- then the company's last ceo took home some 10 million euros. this mouthwash company was also on the verge of ruin after swiss air reneged on a huge contract. minder was outraged company executives pocketed millions despite going nearly broke.
>> i'm going to take matters into my own hands. >> his initiative against so- called ripoffs is about ending excessive salaries for swiss ceo's. he wants to ban welcome payments like the 4 billion euros or golden parachutes like the 13 million of credit suisse. and he wants shareholders to approve a executive salaries on an annual basis. >> i do not want these excess is because it is always the same with this mismanagement and excess. salaries and compensation worth millions while thousands lose their jobs. >> valentin does his best not to come across as a greedy executive. the ceo of this engineering firm has an annual salary of 100,000 euros.
as the president of swiss employers association, he is doing everything he can to fight the initiative. >> we are struggling with a strong swiss franc. it is expensive here, and it would be a big disadvantage for the country if we suddenly had the world's most rigid company law. >> in a huge, flashy campaign that has cost more than 6 million euros, business associations are doing everything to convince citizens that the initiative would be bad for all employees in switzerland, not only executives at the top. tv commercials and posters are warning of the country's downfall. they've even gone so far as paying students to criticize him in internet forums, but they deny any wrongdoing. >> we are not buying these votes. the swiss cannot be bought. that has been seen in the past as well. it takes a lot to raise awareness. >> the other member of the team
is his loyal sidekick, secretary, press officer, and campaign manager all in one. they only have a modest budget of 300,000 euros, but their arguments have found resonance among it particularly to solution segment of the population. it took no time at all to get the 100,000 signatures they needed. >> i am extremely angry because they just do what they want. >> it is not right. we've got less and less while those at the top just skim off the cream. >> everything is getting more expensive and salaries are not getting any better for simple workers. it is time to put the brakes on this. >> the swiss employee association has powerful allies.
the swiss parliament procrastinated for six years wrangling over alternative proposals trying to get him to drop his referendum, but he never lost faith in his cause. >> it would be the best export. people would ask who invented it -- the swiss. >> the swiss population has not been wooed like this for a long time, and right now, it is looking good for minder. polls predict him winning slightly, but even if his initiative fails, the country will adopt some of his demands. >> the united nations say that all cultures of the world are equally important, but if you take a look at the list of places unesco deems worth protecting, you will notice that have the world heritage sites are in europe. in comparison, continents like africa or asia have only a few
places on the list. europe does have a rich cultural history, but applicants themselves do not always agree. >> the northern german town is located between the north sea and the baltic. it has a population of 24,000. just outside the town, archaeologists uncovered the remains of a viking settlement. such villages are rare in germany. replicas of the cuts have been built for a museum on the site. many people are curious about the norseman and want to know about their way of life. >> after what i have seen here, i think they must have existed. these things did not just drop out of the sky. >> they were here. what you can see and read here makes them real for me.
>> the vikings place in european history has made them the stuff of legend. six northern european countries including germany and sweden want to know more about them. there is an initiative to have 13 viking sites included in the unesco world heritage program, but sweden is backing out. >> we welcome all possible initiatives including that of the vikings. there are many ways to do that. of course, you cannot forget the unesco world cultural heritage program is just a tool for disseminating information. >> germany was bewildered by sweden's withdrawal from the project. the chief archaeologist believes there has been a
misunderstanding with the swedes about the selection of sites. >> another problem was the presentation implied a romanticized nationalistic elements. that is what is so difficult for me to understand. because i believe that when we fail to join the contextual discussions, we lose our ability to determine what actually happened. of course the vikings can be used for political purposes, just like the slavs and the celts. everyone knows archaeology is always political. >> political propagandists have exploited the vikings more than once. extremist white supremacists and rightist groups on the nordic got a strong dramatic heroes. online shoppers with innocuous names peddled images of the gods in war history.
in the history of most scandinavian countries, images of the norse crop up again and again. the swedes say they have problems with it even today. >> it comes from before the 1960's when the vikings were celebrated as heroes. that image went through some successive changes. for example, the vikings were peaceful traders. >> but the old image of the vikings is still revered in some political groups still today. >> researchers know these myths well, yet they also know that
the legend of the mighty barbarians of the far north does not reflect the whole truth. >> there seems to be no place in these myths for people who may have presented a very different figure. perhaps they were weakened by malnutrition because of the poverty they lived in, or suffered from serious illnesses. >> the vikings are being re- evaluated today, and their culture is being put in context. a new market has emerged for viking longbows. history fans want a closer look at the life of the norseman. the operators of the northern european viking museum cites are hoping the world cultural heritage project will bring more financial aid and more tourists. >> they were good. i liked what i read about them. they were nice -- nicer than other groups i read about. >> i think they are really interesting, and not everyone
had a round shield. >> german archeologists do not want to give up their plans for the world's cultural heritage site. they are applying again without sweden. this time, it is about another ancient site, a fortification. >> it is the frontier between scandinavia and continental europe, the biggest site in northern europe, and it is superbly preserve. a 28-kilometer-long wall. it is unique. >> they could become world cultural heritage sites as soon as 2015. that will bring renown to the town between the north sea and the baltic. then the vikings will become better known, this time as they really were. >> that report brings us to the end of this edition of "european journal." we hope you can enjoy a s again next week at the same time.