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French Prime Minister on Refugee Crisis; Johnny Rotten versus the Establishment; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 9, 2015 - 14:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: open your doors, says the E.C. chief, an impassioned speech by Jean-Claude Juncker, calling

for unity and bold action on the refugee crisis.


JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: There's a lack of Europe in the European Union. And there's a lack of union in this European



AMANPOUR: But will member states accept his new proposal? The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, joins me.

Also ahead, I get a take on the Queen from the king of punk -- John Lydon, aka former Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten, as Elizabeth II today passes Queen

Victoria being Britain's longest reigning monarch.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

The refugee crisis is testing the very soul of Europe. The European Commission president said that today as he once again called for the

continent's 28 states to share fair and square 120,000 refugees coming to Europe.


JUNCKER: Pushing back boats from piers, setting fire to refugee camps or turning a blind eye to poor and helpless people, that is not Europe.


AMANPOUR: And let's remember, those people are escaping 4.5 years of a bloody and brutal war in Syria that no country has yet seriously tried to


Let's take a quick look back at how this all started.



AMANPOUR (voice-over): With the Arab Spring underway in 2011, the people of Syria started asking for basic reforms of their own. That simple demand

led to Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown.

Within months, Syria had gone from street demos to civil war.

More than 200,000 dead so far and half its population of about 20 million on the move around Syria and outside the country, first to makeshift camps,

where now more than 4 million refugees are overwhelming Syria's neighbors: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey.

So then those with the means paid unscrupulous smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean, joining refugees fleeing war and persecution from

Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq.

AMANPOUR: It is incredible to see with your own eyes like that, not big; it's been crammed with 290 people.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Of course, these are a fraction of the tens of thousands who've made this perilous journey. First, Europe tried to rescue

them, then they stopped, thinking that would stop the tide. And when it didn't and when more than 800 were killed in a single sinking, Europe

couldn't look away anymore.

MATTEO RENZI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We think we must absolutely avoid the Mediterranean will become a cemetery. Is a sea, not a cemetery.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And still they came; after making it by boat to Italy and Greece they came by land to Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. And

when they were denied transport there, they just got up and walked west, a desperate tide of humanity that finally reached Europe's continent.


AMANPOUR: And now, as European leaders ponder the E.C. chief's mandate, France this week said it would take in 24,000 over two years and the

government has already started talking to French mayors and religious leaders about how and where to distribute and care for them.

I asked the French prime minister earlier this evening, Manuel Valls, whether the refugee crisis could in fact end while the war in Syria still



AMANPOUR: Mr. Prime Minister, welcome back to the program.

Let me start by asking you what your reaction is to the very serious and quite hard statements that Jean-Claude Juncker made today, saying this

crisis and Europe's reaction to it threatens Europe's very character.

MANUEL VALLS, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I already had the opportunity, as far as I'm concerned, to speak similarly with the same

degree of seriousness.

If Europe is unable -- look, another subject (ph) -- to keep Greece in the euro or if Europe, working together, can't deal with the terrorist threat,

if Europe can't -- if it does, it can't --


VALLS (through translator): -- prepare the climate problem and especially if Europe can't deal with this significant challenge, the refugees

arriving, yes. It may move out of history and therefore there is a challenge here for Europe.

But Europe is not a vague entity. Europe is a federation of nation states. Each state, each nation, each country must play its full role.

AMANPOUR: Well, do you think each state will play its full role?

This has been the crisis from the beginning: some states taking in a lot of refugees; others not letting any in.

Do you think what Jean-Claude Juncker has called for today, an equal and fair sharing of the burden, will actually be agreed to by you and your

other counterparts?

VALLS (through translator): France, with Germany, has already taken some initiatives. I would remind you, for example, France, for a year now, is

seeking to convince other member states to find, to look for a solution to the refugee crisis, which, a few months ago, was more to do with Italy and

there was no solution found in June.

France has already received several thousand Syrians during the last few years.

And I hope that the council of the interior ministers or home office ministers next Monday will be able to find common solutions.

AMANPOUR: Will France accept quotas, if it is told, if your government is told or asked to take more under a quota system -- because Jean-Claude

Juncker has said 120,000 as a start have to be shared out.

VALLS (through translator): The debates, that's not the problem. Let's leave the word "quota" aside. It's a tricky word in France, because when

you speak about quotas, it's first of all to do with economic migration, has nothing to do with our tradition. It happens in other countries and

taking, for example, Canada, and then "quota" has no meaning when dealing with asylum.

We must each take our share and France will take its share fully with enthusiasm and generosity. We've already responded to the commission but

there will be other requests for asylum.

So we're not going to set a ceiling on the right to asylum because anyone asking for an asylum has a right to be received in the country.

AMANPOUR: What do you say to countries like Hungary or even the Czech Republic, who've never seen immigration. unlike France, unlike Germany,

unlike other Western European nations and who, frankly, are worried about, hard as it is to say, non-Christians coming to their country?

You have had, you know, experience with changing demographics.

Do you understand their fears?

VALLS (through translator): We have populism rising all over Europe and in France, too. But we have to deal with that, to be brave. And the values

of Europe don't -- are far more important than this falling back upon, one says (ph), this message of hate coming from populists. I understand the

anxieties of various parties.

But one cannot choose on the basis of religion. We can't choose to receive people just -- who are just Christian. We had in France one of these young

girls who was tortured, raped.

We couldn't receive her because she's not Christian?

It has no meaning.

And also I'd remind you, Hungary and the Czech Republic, all those countries which have lived under Soviet dictatorship, Western Europe also

received refugees and asylum seekers, those who were threatened by Communist dictatorships.

So then -- and Poland, I think, is, at the moment, making a proposal which is on the right lines. We each have to take our share. But we have to

both denounce those statements of rejection.

And this wall, frankly, in Hungary has no meaning. We can see it's being crossed.

But at the same time, we must help Hungary.

AMANPOUR: Most believe that this flood will keep coming until the Syria war is ended.

Does France believe that it is sufficient just to join attacks against ISIS, just to try to defeat ISIS?

Or does Assad have to be tackled as well?

VALLS (through translator): This crisis cannot be solved just by receiving them, it has to be dealt with at source. At the moment, there

are millions of Syrians who are displaced. There are refugee camps in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Turkey, receiving 4 million to 5 million Syrians.

And we're not going to receive 4 million or 5 million Syrians.

So the problem has to be dealt with at source.

And of course, in Syria, so long as we haven't found a political solution - -


VALLS (through translator): -- so long as we haven't destroyed this terrorist group, the Islamic State, so long as we haven't gotten rid of

Bashar al-Assad, we will not find a solution.

AMANPOUR: Could you just briefly tell me when France will start striking ISIS targets in Syria?

And what do you make of Russia confirming that it is sending more equipment basically to help the Assad regime?

VALLS (through translator): Next Tuesday at the national assembly, at French parliament, I will be informing the representatives of the

objectives of France and that there will be strikes.

I'm not going to give very precise information on your channel or other channels. But I will advise when decisions have been taken on the basis of

objectives by the president.

And finally, we are having talks with Russia. Russia supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad but it also wants to find a political solution.

And anyway, there will not be any political solution without a dialogue with all the parties, who, directly or indirectly, are involved with Syria.

The president of the republic has regular talks with President Putin on this. In a few weeks, the president of the Republic of Iran will be coming

here to Paris.

So this dialogue is essential in order to find a political solution. We must support the moderate positions. We must see Russia go. We must

strike daish, the Islamic State. Those are all the necessary conditions for a solution.

And Iraq, we must ensure that the government continues to open itself to the Sunnis because we must avoid this attraction towards Islamic State by

the Sunnis, who may get the feeling that they're in conflict with Shiites. There is here a struggle for all Shiite, Sunni minorities against the main

enemy, which is the Islamic State.

AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Manuel Valls, thank you so much indeed for joining us from Paris tonight.

VALLS (through translator): Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: Now Britain also rejects quotas but it has agreed to take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years. Today here in Britain, Queen

Elizabeth has broken a record. She is now the nation's longest-serving monarch.


ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: Many, including you, First Minister, have also kindly noted another significance attaching to today although it is

not one to which I have ever aspired. Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception. But I thank you all and the many

others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness.


AMANPOUR: Next, we get a very anti-establishment view of that milestone. John Lydon, the punk icon formerly known as the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten,

after a break.


JOHN LYDON, PUBLIC IMAGE LTD, FORMER SEX PISTOLS SINGER: King of the punks always will tell it like it is.





AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Today the Queen of England passed an important milestone with typical understatement. She has become the longest-reigning British monarch,

surpassing the record held by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

But for Her Majesty, it was business as usual, opening a train station in Scotland. A good time then for a rendition of "God Save the Queen."


AMANPOUR (voice-over): This alternative anthem was written in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee by my next guest, John Lydon or Johnny Rotten of the

Sex Pistols, as he was known then. He's traveled.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): -- he's traveled from fringe to cultural icon over 40 years as musician, anti-establishment lightning rod and godfather of



AMANPOUR (voice-over): Amidst touring his new album, "What the World Needs Now," with his band, Public Image Ltd, he joined me here in the studio on

this historic day.


AMANPOUR: John Lydon, welcome to the program.

LYDON: And ho.

AMANPOUR: It's an accident, a brilliant coincidence, who would have thunk it, that the day Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in

England, of all people, John Lydon, Johnny Rotten --


AMANPOUR: -- was my guest?

LYDON: Thank God this is modern times because, if it was in the old days, by tradition, they've have had her head off by now.

AMANPOUR: And you of course, did a fabulous anthem.

Do you stand by those words that we just heard -- fascist, moron, H-bomb?

LYDON: Yes, so actually some of them turned out to be extremely, very seriously true.

The idea of monarchy annoys me. I'd rather see money spent on education and national health.


AMANPOUR: Does the idea of the Queen --

LYDON: -- as people, I had no animosity to them at all. And, in fact, almost like a sad sense of pity because I feel that they're born into a

gilded cage, not of their own design.

AMANPOUR: You are an outsider or at least you spent most of your life --

LYDON: Not willingly.

AMANPOUR: -- no.

But it -- did it stem from that really terrible childhood illness that you had at 7?

LYDON: Oh, yes.

AMANPOUR: Spinal meningitis.


AMANPOUR: What did it do to you?

LYDON: Well, it put me in a coma for nearly up to four months -- and thank God for the National Health Service, you see.

But when I came out of there, I had completely lost my memory of everything and even body motivation. I wouldn't know how to manipulate my own fingers

or do anything at all.

And it's screaming inside to try and communicate; what I thought was speech to everybody else was just mindless babble. So but basically a turnip.

And I stuck with the hairstyle, very, very bad.

But four years it took me to fully get those memories back and a year in hospital and then had to leave that. But sent back to school, not knowing,

even fully aware of who I was.

And it was a Catholic school and it was run by nuns. They were obviously the teachers. And they were the ones that threw in this dummy, dum-dum tag

on me. And --

AMANPOUR: Did they?

LYDON: Oh, yes. And that meant all --

AMANPOUR: So you were meant to feel sick.

LYDON: Yes. Yes, it was stupid.

AMANPOUR: And that pretty much --

LYDON: -- and they should have known better, because I could read and write at 4.

AMANPOUR: Well, and then you went on and you had the famous Johnny Rotten stare and that you told me --

LYDON: All from that time --

AMANPOUR: -- because you really couldn't see.

LYDON: Yes, no, it seriously affected everything. My eye muscles had been weakened. It's very hard for me to focus. The Johnny Rotten stare is,

where are you?

AMANPOUR: What about -- and, again, I ask you, because you have had a very interesting commentary on all that goes on in the world, with your songs,

with your books, with your new album.

Your first book was called, "Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs."


AMANPOUR: And that was because.

LYDON: That's the sign they used to put on the hotels and motels up and down this wonderful Great Britain of ours, where open racism and separation

was the order of the day.

AMANPOUR: So what do you think when you see all these refugees -- I mean, this crisis that Europe is undergoing right now?

LYDON: Isn't it amazing that these governments seem so ill-prepared for what was obviously going to happen after them foolish wars out there?

This is the catastrophic, ultimately completely predictable situation.


LYDON: And they're all now, running around and flustering around, adopting a picture of that poor, sweet little kid dead on the beach. And they're

claiming that as their own and that's their rallying point for doing something. They're not doing nothing.

AMANPOUR: What about the --

LYDON: And there's problems here, too, really, because I mean they're escaping something ghastly and terrible. But they have a religious concept

with them that they're going to introduce into Europe in vast numbers. And I think that --

AMANPOUR: Are you worried about that?

LYDON: Well, I don't know I should be or not. But I know it's not right to ignore that --

AMANPOUR: -- John Lydon is not an Islamophobe, is he?

LYDON: Islamophobe?

No, you're more than welcome to it. But don't be telling me what to do. And there goes that.

And every penny I would have read, if I was asked, I'd put into helping them poor people.

AMANPOUR: Are you still the punk inclination? You've got a new album out with Public Image, "What the World Needs Now."

Is that correct?

LYDON: Yes, which is clearly a most amazingly accurate title for the situation we're now finding ourselves in. What the world needs now is

transparency in politics, in everything and particularly religion and all these things that dictate and dominate our lives.

We need to know, as I said previously, why nothing was prepared for the most obvious mass immigration -- complete desperation -- but it was coming.

We all knew it. And it -- no one was prepared for it. That utterly disgusts me.

Now as for me and my lifestyle, I'm true to the same set of values I had when I recovered from meningitis. I decided, from that point on, I would

never lie to anyone ever again because I know what the pain of being lied to was. It was very important to me when I was younger. Everything said

to me, I had to believe it.


And so you know, I found my mommy and daddy again. But (INAUDIBLE) is there forever -- how could you forget people? And so there it is, yes.

King of the punks always will tell it like it is.

AMANPOUR: And what about -- you said politics and you expressed your continued disgust with mainstream politics. You are in the United States -


LYDON: Oh, please, you have to vote -- I'll tell you --

AMANPOUR: -- yes, yes, but you're in the United States, OK?

Now you're an American citizen; you can vote.

What do you make of what really is, in the early days, a circus on the campaign?

LYDON: Oh, yes. Well, there's a man there who's basically a real estate agent thinking he can buy the presidency.

AMANPOUR: Wait a minute.

Who are you talking about?

Donald Trump?

LYDON: Must I mention him?

Then there's Hillary and then there's all this nonsense going on about -- like the email stuff and that -- I don't know if that's half scaremongering

or she really is that clumsy.

I joined America because of ObamaCare. All right. That was my --

AMANPOUR: Not Obama, but ObamaCare?

LYDON: ObamaCare, yes.

AMANPOUR: How interesting.

LYDON: Yes, because it reminds me -- and it's what saved my life, the National Health Service. It also saved a brother a couple of years ago

from cancer and imminent death but for this -- the service being there.

I can't bear the thought of any society letting people die just because they don't have the money. And any society I connect with has to care

about its citizens.

AMANPOUR: On that note, John Lydon, thank you very much indeed.

LYDON: It's been fun.

AMANPOUR: It's been fun.


AMANPOUR: And go to to hear what John Lydon has in common with Oscar Wilde, Mahatma Gandhi and Mae West. And when we come back, we

go to Africa, which is where, in 1952, Princess Elizabeth learned of her father's death while on holiday in Kenya.

She promptly flew back here to be crowned the new Queen. That was 23,226 days ago -- a record.

We'll go back to Africa to discover the world's longest-ever serving monarch. He was less fortunate in his heir. Imagine ruling before you can

walk or talking. Speaking of Swaziland -- next.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, Queen Elizabeth has hit a monarchy milestone for Britain. But imagine trying to top Swaziland's record. That

country is nestled between South Africa and Mozambique and the previous king ascended to the throne when he was 4 months old and he reigned until

he was 82 years old.

His son, the notorious playboy king, Mswati III, then took over. He's not yet reigned longer, but he's definitely reigned larger. While Elizabeth is

touted as the first British ruler to stick her head in the car's engine and change a tire -- all that during World War II, Africa's last absolute

monarch is known for his fleets of Mercedes and BMWs and his 15 wives -- and counting -- one of whom he apparently kidnapped.

He also luxuriates in events such as the reed ceremony, where teenage girls, known as maidens, dance topless at his behest.

Meantime, two-thirds of the Swazi people live below the poverty line.

And on that note, that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see the entire show online at and follow me on Facebook

and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.