when president trump meets the north korean leader. but kim jong—un must take irreversible steps to get rid of his nuclear weapons. speaking on us tv, national security advisorjohn bolton sounded a note of caution, saying the trump administration was not naive or "starry eyed" about the meeting. a key british minister has resigned amid claims she misled parliament over targets for removing illegal immigrants. home secretary amber rudd had faced increasing calls to quit, over the so—called windrush scandal. and this story is trending on bbc.com. it's the mystery disappearance of a tree given to president trump by france's president and planted by the two leaders last week. some reports suggest it might be in quarantine. that's all from me now. now on bbc news it's time for hardtalk. welcome to a hardtalk from brussels.
i'm stephen sackur. today i am in the headquarters of the eu's executive body — the commission — the engine room of the eu. but how smoothly is that engine running? for all of the focus on brexit, perhaps the bigger challenge to eu unity comes from a growing fault line between east and west within the european club. well, today, my guest is czechjustice commissioner vera jourova. how is the commission coping with an increasingly fractious europe? commissioner vera jourova, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you for having me here. do you accept that there is a potentially dangerous fault line between the vision of what the european union can be and should be, that is being developed in paris and in germany, and the vision that we hear and see coming from poland, from hungary, and from your own country, the czech republic? hmm. it might be potentially dangerous if we do not listen to each other. because the west and east have different historical development, different background — the people have different fears and different ideas. and that is why i think that the lack of communication between west and east might be the problem. and i know it is a pretty general answer, but i want to say that i as the easterner, i am patriot of the czech republic, but i am also very devoted european. and i like many people in the east love living on the continent with prosperous market and with
the rights being guaranteed. so i think that we need to listen more each other and understand better. i guess the nations of east and central europe are working together in a close way. we have the so—called visegrad 4, which involves poland, hungary, slovakia, and the czech republic. they had a meeting where your prime minister, andrej babis, said this — he said "we cannot and will not be in a position where we," he meant the visegrad 4, "accept that there are effectively only two big nations," he meant france and germany, "and the eu commission that decide everything." is that a feeling that's growing — that the french, the germans, the commission in brussels,
are imposing their will on countries like that? it might be like that, but i know the mr babis... well, he is the leader of your country. yes. and i think he meant it in the way that we need to be more vocal. this is what i would sign easily because i think that the worst possible scenario is that some countries will keep complaining the germans and french will decide everything also on behalf of themselves. this must not happen. this is why this is normal that alliances like the visegrad 4 or others are gathering, debating their visions, which should be shared by the others in the eu. it's pretty normal. so let's take a very important test case of what is happening between east and west— that is poland. the polish government made some key changes to the judicial system to the appointment ofjudges, including in a supreme court justices.
you have a role in assessing those changes. it's clear that the commission as a whole does not like them. but have you gone too far in your determination to change the polish government's policy on a very domestic matter. poland is a democratic state and is the result of free elections. they have the right to free reforms. the commission's role is to assess the situation and when we see systematic breach of the rule of law, then we have to come with the opinion — and it is not only the commission involved in the procedure. because in due time we put this on the table of the ministers of all the member states so that they share the opinion with others. so to be clear about this,
commissioner, you are saying that the democratically elected law and justice party is acting in a way that is entirely contrary to the values of the european union. it is contrary to the value which is called by this abstract concept of rule of law, we described where we see the breach of the rule of law and the danger. i can reflect on it not only as thejustice commissioner but also as a czech person. what i see in it is that in some countries, when the government comes to rule, they think that the winner takes it all. and it must not be like that, because we have to insist on having independentjudiciary in the state. what is good to happen to this stand—off between poland and the european union? we had the polish prime minister
the other day talk about modifications to the plans put forward by the polish government. it has to do with howjustices are appointed to the supreme court. he says that there is now an 80% chance that poland can solve this dispute with the commission. do you share that optimism? i share the optimism in the case there will not be cosmetic changes — but we see in poland that there is a guaranteed independent judiciary. i would be happy if we settled this dispute, because we need strong partnership within the eu, between the states. it's hugely corrosive, isn't it, to unity in the european union? the notion that one nation can be suspended — can lose its right to vote in european institutions, because it is acting in a way that the other member states regard as entirely contrary to european values. it is a tough procedure
with tough possible results. but to answer your question as to on whether it is a domestic or european issue, in thejustice area, we have to maintain 100% trust between the member states, because thejudges in member state one now has to fully trust thejudges in member state two. in the recentjudgement of the irish judge, she already asked the european court ofjustice if she can still trust the polish judiciary in the case related to the european arrest warrant. it's a warning signal. not only for the eu, but also for poland, that we need to solve this and solve this soon. and i hope — i don't know if i share the optimism of 80% — but i do hope we will settle this soon.
well, let's put this in a broader perspective. this is notjust about poland. this notion of deep discontent in east and central europe with things that they get from brussels — it goes wider. it includes the immigration question. every member state, including the eastern and central european members, must take their share or quota of immigrants coming into the european union. your own country and hungary and poland are being taken to the european court ofjustice because they refuse to accept that idea of burden sharing and quotas. how embarrassed are you, as justice commissioner, that your own country in is refusing to accept the commission's rules. of course i am unhappy with the situation. i must correct you. it was not purely the commission's
decision, but it was the decision of the council which dealt with migration issues. of course, and now being incremented by the commission. and some countries went against that, including the czech republic. so now it is for the czech republic to cope — to face the situation — to bring the arguments and to find a way out. i am not happy about that. here's what your own prime minister, mr babis, said recently: "these quotas are dividing europe, they are ineffective, and it is a huge problem for the image of europe in the eyes of our citizens." is he right? i started this debate by saying that the west and east was developing in different conditions. and now we have it. the migration quota has divided us because this was very clear — the approach of eastern countries is different to the western
countries, because the societies in the east — in the centre of europe and the east are more or less monocultural societies. and they have their fears and apprehensions whether accepting the quota will not mean that they will have to accept the multicultural scheme. i must say as a czech person that they have to see that 90% of people think this is a problem in my country. so the national politicians need to deal with this. but back to your question, of course, from the beginning, i had big doubts about the quota and whether it can function in practice, and whether it is acceptable for some countries, including mine. just — just... sometimes commissioners are in a schizophrenic position.
let's think again about your role as justice commissioner. you have to put your input into the current debate about the next eu budget. and you, it seems, have been putting forward the idea — or you were, a little while ago — that countries should be judged on their adherence to the rules and regulations of the eu and that those who are failing to adhere to the rules may find that they have to deal with consequences in terms of contributions to cohesion funds and other things they get from the eu budget — essentially, punishment for bad behaviour in terms of finance and budget. is that your position today? it is not punishment. it is nothing new. already these countries had to comply with many, many rules. this is nothing new. and you are referring... you said in helsinki in 2017, in october, "we should consider
creating stronger conditionality between the rule of law and these cohesion funds." yes. so you do want to change things. you want to toughen it up. i have not changed an inch. because i say we have to condition the money by the things which matter. rule of law matters. and what i have in mind is functioning judiciary, functioning procurement system, sound financial management — these are the things which matter. again, it is nothing new. it isjust formulation of the condition in a more concrete way. so do you think that the language you are using of this conditionality, and judging, from brussels, whether countries are adhering to the rule of law, whether they will get the funding that they are expecting from brussels — do you think all this language is helping the cause of europe —
if i can put it that way — in prague or warsaw or budapest right now? i think people understand why for absorbing the money from the common budget must be balanced or conditioned by a working judicial system and fair decision—making by the judges. there has been fraud and corruption on eu money. we need to address that. and just one thing — it is notjust me who says the rule of law matters in relation to money. it's the concern of the taxpayers of the eu who contribute — who contribute. and i think... i'm just wondering... i talk about perception and feeling towards europe. thinking about your own country,
the most recent euro—barometer poll suggested only 30% of czechs had a positive view of the european union. and the numbers of people supporting parties who advocate a referendum on leaving the european union is rising. we saw it in the last parliamentary elections. what on earth is going on? it has to change. we have to change it, because i think that we have not communicated well why the european union is the best option for the citizens. and one thing must be said. i feel myself obliged to do that, but there must be local entrepreneurs, the scientific sphere, the mayors who understand the importance of the eu for their flourishing municipalities... but look at the...
look at the power of the messages coming from mr orban, in hungary. one can say from your own president, and to a certain extent your prime minister in the czech republic, one can also talk about leaders of justice and law in poland — there is a deep, deep strain of euroscepticism. andrej babis referred to brussels as the new moscow, and some of them are looking at brexit and thinking maybe the brits are onto something. i don't know which statistical figures you have, but for hungary and poland, we see a very high number showing that the people want to stay in the eu. well, i am interested in your country, where the numbers are nowhere near so good. but you mentioned mr orban. coming back to my country, there is a historically deeply rooted fear that there will always be somebody dictating to us from outside. and part of our society does not make a big difference between vienna and the hapsburg empire,
and berlin and moscow. now, they say it is brussels. that is why i am happy to hear from other czech politicians that they want to be more active in european politics, to have stronger ownership for what is being decided in brussels, and to come back home and say, look, people, this was our decision. this is not anyone from outside. just a quick point on brexit, before we quickly get on to other matters. theresa may, the prime minister in britain, appears adamant that britain will not be a member of the customs union post brexit, will not be a part of the single european market, but does want a very favourable trade deal. now, for you, do you think it would be dangerous to give britain
that sort of favourable trade deal, because it might encourage others to look at the exit door? we are seeking for a balanced approach — the obligations and the rights and privileges. so we do not want any privileges for exiting countries, including the uk. no special privileges for the uk? it will be a matter of negotiations on the future strategic partnership. and we are doing this for the first time. we have to do this right. it will be dependent both on brussels and london. and i strongly believe, also, based on the knowledge of my files, and understanding of the strong need to have a strong partnership, that we could manage it. i am responsible partly for security measures. this is of high importance — that we will keep a very strong line between the eu and uk. data protection is another. well, we will talk more about data protection in a minute.
just one more specific point about the commission. the appointment of martin selmayr as secretary general of the commission, the chief bureaucrat in brussels overseeing the machinery of the commission, it was the most extraordinary appointment. he went for the job of deputy, and within a couple of hours the incumbent in the top job, the secretary general‘s job, had quit. and mr selmayr was just nodded through on the advice of his former boss, jean—claude juncker, who is president of the commission. this to most people across europe looks dodgy, it looks wrong, it looks entirely unaccountable. you sat in the room while it happened. did you feel comfortable? i also explained the procedure, respecting the rules, and the selection respects the rules. so i was myself surprised. what kind of appointment happens within three or four hours, with no contest, and where the man
who gets the job is the former chef de cabinet, chief of staff, of the president of the commission, and the president of the commission himself waves it through? what kind of appointment is that? very likely the rules of the procedure do enable such quick action. again, i think it was sufficiently explained that the rules have been respected, and that mrjuncker is open to changing the rules in the future, if some people think they are not right. do you think they are right? this is by the rules — do you think those rules are right? if not, let's change them, but the commission... what do you think? i'm not an expert on international rules and the commission. well, you are the justice commissioner. it is an importantjob, and your voice matters. let's just quickly deal with two big matters in your in—tray right now.
one is data protection. so much focus on this, after the revelations of what happened to all of the personal data, millions of people's data being, without their knowledge or consent, being given to cambridge analytica and used by them, from facebook. you have said that was a threat to our democracy. you have also said europe is taking measures to ensure it can't happen again. how can you ensure it won't happen again? first of all, there are two lines. the protection of data, and we need to insist that companies including those giants operating in the european market from the united states, american companies, fully comply with the data protection rules in the eu. and if not, there will be sanctions. we have quite draconic sanctions. yes, but the new data protection regulations that are coming in very soon, they have, you know, quite big fines, i think of 20
million euros for companies that do not adhere to the strict protection rules. facebook, google, the giants of the information tech industry, they do get their users to sign consent forms. and if you do sign the consent, then your rights, as i understand it, are not safeguarded, if you have consented. according to other rules, the people have to be asked in a simple way, because the people — not all of them are lawyers, who are able to read sophisticated texts. so they have to be informed in a simple way what the company wants the data for, and the purpose is very important. the giants of the industry, facebook, google, etc, they can afford to employ digital protection units, and officers, and thousands of staff, if necessary.
but your regulations will hit every company around the world that uses consumer data from european citizens. and there is a fear among some that the rules are going to actually put new costs on start—up businesses, innovative tech companies, inside europe, and actually hamper their growth. can you be sure that won't happen? i am pretty much sure that... of course there will be costs for the companies, which use the data for processing, for monetising, who have their core business based on data processing. and here, i have to be tough. the companies are making money on getting the private data from people, so they have to bring something back. they have to keep, again, the respect of every individual. and you know, in data protection, we are in a difficult situation. the protection of privacy is a fundamental right in the eu. at the same time, the private data became the money, the currency.
and we have to cope with — the balance, and find a way out of this schizophrenic situation. in gdpr, our rules are in response to that. those companies which do not process the data on an everyday basis, they will have to do some necessary basic arrangement, like having a good antivirus and anti—hacking programme in their pc. commissioner vera jourova, we have to end there. thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you very much. hello again.
for some of us across east anglia and south—east england, it is going to be a disappointing start to the new working week. on the menu, heavy outbreaks of rain and stong to gale—force winds and this will conspire to make it feel really quite cold if you are out and about. normally, this time of year, temperatures up to 15 degrees across parts of south—east england however under this area of persistent rain, large swathes of the day where temperatures struggle to get above 4 degrees across parts of south—east england and east anglia. the troublemaker then is this area of low pressure. relatively high pressure, the isobars are pinching together so the strong winds to these eastern areas with high pressured with us to the north and west of the uk, we have had
clear spells overnight which has allowed temperatures to plummet away, it's a cold start to the morning. indeed, we've got a number of areas with frost, so a cold start but a fair amount of sunshine bursting. the best of the sun shone across northern and western parts where there will be a lot of dry weather. really, across the midlands into eastern england, a lot of cloud with those cold winds. notice those winds on the east coast, 50, 55mp, something like that, and those winds will be with blowing all day, persistent rain across east anglia and south—east england. 25— 35 millimetres of rain. some risk of localised surface water flooding across eastern counties. temperatures really struggling. where we see the sunshine, high pushing on intimate leased double figures. the low pressure will be moving away to the north sea. pressure ahead of the next atlantic weather system. so cloud and rain close away from eastern england. sunshine for a time but scotland, england and wales, the next burst of rain coming in from the atlantic
to bring wet weather into northern ireland and as we go through tuesday afternoon, the rain will be arriving across parts of england, wales and scotland. temperatures coming up a bit, but ttill, a little cool for the time of year. that rain will continue to push eastwards, right away across the country into tuesday night and wednesday, it loiters around central and eastern england followed by some sunshine but there will be heavy showers moving into the north—west the uk. these, thundery at times. temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees. a bit of a manky start of the week across eastern england but things will improve and we will get some drier and warmer weather towards the end of the week and next weekend when temperatures push back into the 20s. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. the headlines: the us says there's a real opportunity for a deal
with north korea's leader but he must take irreversible steps to get rid of his nuclear weapons. we're not naive in the administration and a lot will ride on this meeting with kim jong—un. a key british minister resigns amid claims she misled parliament over targets for removing illegal immigrants. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme: rohingya protesters demanding the right to return to myanmar greet visiting un ambassadors who are due to meet the burmese leader aung san suu kyi. and a quarter of a million filipinos working in kuwait are told