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With Talks Deadlocked, Grexit Risk Grows; Egypt's Child Migrants; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 17, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: state of emergency as Greece stares down the barrel of a default. The former
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has harsh words for a government that's making its people pay the price.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, FMR PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: . I'm sorry to say, I'm measuring my words, lack of responsibility of the Greek
government that is more interested in showing that they are an ideology, that they are a government representing such an important country as
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Plus as Britain reports record levels of child sex abuse, we see how young Egyptian children are exploited on the streets
of Europe, falling into sex trafficking, robbery and drugs. The final part of CNN's special exclusive series on child migrants.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
The picture of the Greek finance minister on today's front pages says it all. Yanis Varoufakis isn't even bringing any new proposals to the
meetings which are designed to stave off default and now he says he doubts a deal can be reached. And the Greek people are facing the fact that
they've been close but never this close to disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think there is a lot of anxiety going around. Nobody knows what is going to happen and the
situation is incredibly unstable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Undoubtedly it is very worrying. The situation needs to change immediately because the economy's
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They keep cutting and cutting and the result is zero. I don't know what we will do.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Anxious and hoarding huge amounts of cash are being stashed under mattresses and sent out of the country while the major
players seem to be digging in ahead of an emergency meeting tomorrow after Sunday's summit fell apart just 45 minutes in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: With rare candor, the country's central bank warned of a, quote, "uncontrollable crisis" if Greece doesn't reach an agreement with
its E.U. partners.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Commission, joined me from Madrid with some very harsh words for the Greek government's
AMANPOUR: Jose Manuel Barroso, thank you so much for joining us. Welcome.
BARROSO: Thank you. It's my pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Do you think there's any likelihood at this, the 11th hour, of a deal to prevent Greece from defaulting?
BARROSO: I still think it's possible. But it requires a complete different position from the Greek government. Some months ago I already
said that the probability of a default was 40 percent. I'm afraid now that probability is quite higher.
AMANPOUR: More and more people seem to be coming to terms with that this might be a possibility.
What precisely does Greece have to do?
Can I just play you what Mr. Juncker has said about Prime Minister Tsipras in terms of, quote, "misleading the Greek people"?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I think the debate in Greece and outside Greece would be easier if the Greek government
would tell exactly what the commission, being one of the two institutions in charge of all this, are really proposing.
I'm blaming the Greeks to tell things to the republic which are not consistent with what I told the Greek prime minister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Barroso, you've been in these positions before.
Is the Greek government telling its people what's really at stake and what's really being demanded of them?
BARROSO: I'm sure that if he has said it, it's because he feels that what has been now communicated, conveyed to the Greek people by their
government, is not accurate because I'm sure -- I am absolutely positive that the European Commission wants a solution for this problem.
I have no doubts about it. While concerning the Greek government, we have to say that for strong ideological reasons, very radical ideological
positions, from the beginning, they seem not to cooperate with all the other partners. It is the first time in my life I see one government
completely isolated from all the other governments.
And you know, in the European Union, decisions are taken at the end by some kind of compromise. But it's really a tragedy, what's happening,
because during the most difficult moments of the crisis, I was then president of the commission. We have done everything to avoid a Greek
At that moment, the situation in the markets was much worse, much more difficult and we couldn't avoid it.
And now that the Greek people have done almost all efforts, they've done indeed remarkable efforts and went through extreme sacrifices, it's
really a pity for all these sacrifices are going to waste and that Greece does not achieve an agreement with its partners.
AMANPOUR: The Austrian chancellor has come down on Greece's side. And you've heard the Prime Minister Tsipras of Greece talk about, you know,
Greece being humiliated by the demands of Europe.
What is your reaction to his accusation?
BARROSO: I don't think this is appropriate, this kind of language. I want to tell you that I was quite surprised by the positions taken by the
Greek government, accusing other countries of European Union to be negative towards Greece, including, by the way, Spain and Portugal, for instance.
I want to tell you that I know well those countries and they are certainly not interested in a Greek reform; on the contrary, they will
probably be affected if this happens.
Let's not forget one important thing. There are countries poorer than Greece that are lending money to Greece -- Slovakia or the Baltic
countries, for instance, are poorer than Greece in GDP per capita terms. And they are lending their money to Greece. They do not want Greece to
So when some countries, some governments wants the others to cooperate, it should at least not insult the other partners.
And I think this is very negative if this is the perspective of negotiation, inside euro area. In fact, I have never seen that in my life.
And I'm -- I've been participating in European Union meetings and European committee since the '80s (ph) in different capacities. And it is the first
time in my life I see a country -- or a government, to be more precise -- attacking the others when, in fact, it needs the support and the solidarity
of all the other partners.
AMANPOUR: Are you interested by the rare warning that's been issued by the Greek central bank? The governor said striking an agreement with
our partners is a historical imperative that we cannot afford to ignore. That's what the bank says.
So that's a loud and important voice.
Why isn't the government listening?
BARROSO: I think the government, since the beginning, apart from showing complete lack of experience, they have never been in the
government, but in fact they are very strongly radicalized from an ideological point of view.
They have the point that they believe that everything so far has been wrong in the European Union and in the euro area and that they are right.
And the reality is that Ireland was successful at a so-called clean exit of the program; Portugal was successful, also concluding with success its
program. And Spain, it also has a program for the banking sector, was successful.
So the problem is not the program. Of course, you can always adapt the programs. We can also always make it better. The problem is that the
Greek government has completely changed expectations. According to all the European and the international organizations, you're expecting very strong
growth already for 2015 and 2016, mainly for 2016.
But of course when there is a reversal of expectations, I mean, people go and take money from the banks, investors do not invest. And this is
extremely negative and at the end, it's the Greek people that is paying the price of, I'm sorry to say -- I'm measuring my words -- lack of
responsibility of the Greek government that is more interested in showing that they are an ideology, that they are a government representing such an
important country as Greece.
AMANPOUR: A lot of these migrants that we've been seeing come across the Mediterranean have ended up in Greece as well as all the other problems
The Europeans have failed to come up with any kind of solution for distribution, for instance, quotas and all the rest of it. I just want to
play you what Pope Francis has said, basically appealing to European nations to do the right thing for the migrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): I invite you all to ask forgiveness for the persons and the institutions who closed the door to
these people, who are seeking a family, who are seeking to be protected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's the moral authority of the pope weighing in.
What should Europe do right now?
Is quotas the right way to go?
BARROSO: Not necessarily quotas, but certainly a bigger effort in terms of burden sharing. Countries have to do more, pooling their
resources, sharing the burden, showing solidarity. So this is the only way to do it because, frankly, there is not a magic silver bullet for the
European institutions. I think the effort has not been up to the task, to the challenge that is indeed a very serious problem, I think probably
biggest problem that we are facing now in Europe.
AMANPOUR: A huge number of problems in Europe; Jose Manuel Barroso, thank you for your perspective, former president of the European
BARROSO: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So while Greece hovers on a euro knife edge, what about these dollars and cents?
Last week we reported the incredible value of a peace dividend -- if there was peace -- to Israelis and Palestinians, $173 billion over a decade.
Well, now, the latest on the cost of violence and war. More than $14 trillion was spent globally in 2014 alone. Proof that the dollars are
there; what's lacking is the sense.
Next: the price of survival, desperate lengths that child migrants go to -- after this.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Now you've just heard former E.C. President Barroso tell me that the migrant crisis is Europe's biggest challenge right now. And at his weekly
public audience in Rome, Pope Francis today asked for those migrants to be shown respect and dignity.
Rome is where we find Nima Elbagir on the last leg of her investigation into Egypt's child migrants, desperate to make money for
their families back home, they sell whatever they can -- including themselves.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man approaches a boy for sex at a train station. Two boys holding drugs for criminal gangs.
These are just a few of the stories of children exploited and trafficked for criminal gain right here in the heart of Rome.
Roma Termini station is one of the country's main rail terminals. This is where thousands of illegal migrant children arrive, desperate to
make money however they can.
We've been directed here by local contacts, who tell us the boys work the corners on the streets outside. As we drive past, as if on cue, we see
a group of Egyptian kids approached by an Italian man.
Further down the streets, other Egyptian kids are looking around. They seem to be on the lookout. We watch as money and something else is
ELBAGIR: It's broad daylight and we are right in the center of Rome. And yet groups of boys were clustered together. We saw them in a known
pickup location. As soon as they saw the camera, they disappeared.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): One of the boys later agrees to talk to us. He is one of the thousands of Egyptian children that have disappeared out of
the Italian care system. For his safety, we've disguised his identity and his voice.
He calls the sex trafficking and drug selling he and some of his friends are involved with "the illegal stuff."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The illegal stuff, that's the easiest and not just here in Rome but across the country. A friend will be
working in these kinds of things will tell you, come, I'll help you and he'll take you with him.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): I asked if it's hard living this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, but what are the options? Our parents spent thousands to get us here. We have to pay it
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Table football, ping-pong, pretty typical teenage pursuits. But this isn't your usual local youth center.
ELBAGIR: The shiva kozira (ph) center is a refuge for these unaccompanied children. It's somewhere where they can have a meal, meet
friends, perhaps even remember how to be children again, if only for a little while.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): We come to Rome as part of an investigation. We're tracing the steps of the unaccompanied Egyptian children arriving in
Italy and there are thousands. Taking advantage of Italian law, which allows children smuggled here to remain in country legally, impoverished
Egyptian parents are paying thousands of dollars for the mirage of a better life. The lucky few stay in the Italian government-run children's homes,
but thousands of others disappear, making their way to the big cities.
CARLOTTA, SAVE THE CHILDREN, ITALY: They are ready to do whatever they can to earn money. And this means very often exploitation.
Unfortunately, they found another alternative, which was prostitution. So out there, they were exploited or they thought that this was the only
option available to, again, earn money and send them back for their families. Very often we have heard children crying and saying they didn't
want to come and they didn't want to stay. They would love to go back to their families, to their country.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Howard (ph) works for Save the Children. He translates for the kids, helps them understand the system, listens to their
HOWARD (PH), SAVE THE CHILDREN: The family in ways have not really -- they don't care for (INAUDIBLE). They care only for the money that are
raised. They don't ask how did you get the money. They don't ask about nothing. And even I think if we tell them the country is disguised as
meaning something illegal, I don't think they will mind. They will still stay. They send them the money. Never mind.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Emanuel Fattori (ph) is the chief of police in Rome's Termini Station. He's seen some of the worst of the child
exploitation up close, sex trafficking, drug selling, even robbery. To the gangs, children, he says, are an invaluable asset.
EMANUEL FATTORI (PH), CHIEF OF POLICE, TERMINI STATION (through translator): They use children under the age of 14 because according to
Italian law, they cannot be taken to trial.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Fattori (ph) and his team have found cases of children whose parents paid for them to be smuggled into Italy, who are
then trafficked by the very same criminal networks specifically for the purpose of committing these crimes, but his jurisdiction is limited to this
FATTORI (PH) (through translator): We need to fight more decisively the abandonment of the children by the parents.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): But the parents, of course, are far, far away. And whether they don't know the truth or don't care, the tide of children
flooding Italian shores flows on unchecked, bringing with it lost childhood and young lives destroyed, perhaps beyond repair -- Nima Elbagir, CNN,
AMANPOUR: Sobering indeed. And Nima joins me now here on the set after that extensive journey from Egypt to Italy.
It is really remarkable that you put a face on the desperation of these migrants. We've seen them all come across the Mediterranean. To me,
what struck me right there was that two laws, two laws, act actually against the children, one that they can come to Europe and stay there under
the law so their parents send them away.
And, two, that they can't be prosecuted so the traffickers use them.
Do they ever imagine that they were coming in to just one frying pan after leaving the fire?
ELBAGIR: No, and that's what we hear continuously from the children and their parents, that their perception of Europe is really this awaiting
paradise. They're going to get there, they're going to go to school but they're also going to work, which obviously the two are impossible to do at
the same time. And they're also going to be supported. They're going to be able to support us. At no point did any of the children -- and this was
what really struck us -- they're not -- at no point did the children feel like they were being exploited. That was what really, I think, was
heartbreaking. They felt they had a choice, at 11 and 12 and 13. They felt this was their choice to become the men in their families.
AMANPOUR: (INAUDIBLE) before their time. We see that so often across the Middle East, particularly in these war-torn places, where kids have to
become adults so quickly.
In one of the reports this week, we saw papers being exchanged. We saw the Egyptian parents with their contracts. We saw the lawyers that you
showed us and who you talked to in Italy.
What is happening? Are the parents, are the Italian authorities able to connect the children back with their parents?
Is there any solution to this legal dilemma?
ELBAGIR: Well, the parents and the children are falling into that gap between the Italians and the Egyptians. The Italians have actually
formally requested the extradition of three what they're calling kingpins of smuggling networks. They said they're tired of filling their jails with
the people crewing the ship. They want the men at the top. The Egyptians haven't handed them over. And what was --
AMANPOUR: So these are the people before they even take off from the coastal village, that they are being taken into this crime ring in Egypt
ELBAGIR: Well, the Italians -- and the Egyptians accept this. They believe this is a transnational organization. Egypt, Italy, even in
Greece, you know, across Southern Europe and North Africa, but until the Egyptians cooperate, there's very little they can do. And that those
mothers you saw in the first episode, their children are part of one of the biggest investigations that this Sicilian prosecutor is involved with.
They think -- the Sicilians think they know who's responsible for this. But they're not being handed over.
AMANPOUR: And this horrible situation for these children happens across a much wider backdrop of a spike in sexual predators. We've just
seen this awful report from the British NSPCC, the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, of a huge rise, apparently 85 sexual crimes reported per day,
here in this country, to police.
ELBAGIR: That gives you a sense of how widespread that exploitation is. But we have the figures here, 85 a day at over 30,000 in this last
year. That's over 30 percent rise. And a lot of people believe it's because you know, of course we've had this high profile investigation into
known prominent figures in this country over the last few years, who are alleged to be involved with child sexual abuse rings. But actually, the
NSPCC believes it's more than that. They believe that actually the offenses are going up. And when you think about that -- and these are
children that are in their homes, they're in their home country, you start to wonder what hope the kids coming over from Egypt have.
AMANPOUR: Well, exactly. I mean if it's happening here, what about them, as you say. But there are some good news stories, and you reported
them, Karim (ph), in one of your reports, he is not as desperate as the others. Give us a quick snapshot --
ELBAGIR: Karim (ph) was extraordinary. We can see his picture now. He actually had had a hard life before he even got on that boat. He'd been
working since he was 8. He got to Italy at 12 and since then he's turned his life completely around. He looks after the younger boys. He's really
found a family in Italy. And that was one of the other things that struck me and Dominique (ph), our producer on this, is you hear so much about the
racism that migrants face and the difficulty they find acclimatizing in their -- in their cultures. But in this tiny Sicilian town, where these
old men still sit there, playing backgammon and they sit on the square, these kids have found a home. And Karim (ph) represents that -- the
possibilities, I think, if they're supported.
AMANPOUR: Nima Elbagir, thank you very much indeed, really amazing because, as I say, we've been reporting just the numbers, the statistics;
we've been seeing what's happening on the Mediterranean. But to follow them and see what happens to them is remarkable. Thank you very much.
ELBAGIR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And of course, this is probably a perfect moment to remember the most famous immigrant of all, Lady Liberty, who traveled from
France across the Atlantic and landed in New York 130 years ago today. And this statue has welcomed generations of immigrants who have made the United
States a superpower.
When we come back, imagine the world's migrating climate. It's leading polar bears to freeze their leftovers. We'll explain, next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we live in a world buffeted by rising tides and temperatures wrought by climate change. But imagine the animal
world taking some of the most drastic survival measures.
For years we've heard about Arctic polar bears roaming ever-shrinking habitats in search of dwindling food supplies. But now according to a new
study, they are showing remarkable powers of adaptation.
These clearly starving polar bears have been feasting on dolphins for the first time ever instead of their preferred diet of seals. The
Norwegian bears are freezing their food, burying it under show to save it for later. And the dolphins sustaining the starving bears shouldn't even
be there this time of year. Disoriented by warmer seas and stronger winds, they swam straight towards their predators.
Tomorrow we explore the pope's campaign to slow down climate change and prevent further irreparable damage. It's not even published yet, but
it's already causing a storm among the usual suspects. I speak to Cardinal Peter Turkson and to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences' Professor
Schellnhuber. Faith and facts of our climate.
And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see the whole show online at amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.