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CONNECT THE WORLD
Centrists Lose Ground In EU Parliamentary Elections; Salvini's Anti-Immigrant League Party Leads in Italy; Brexit Party Wins Most UK Seats in European Elections; Austrian Chancellor Loses No-Confidence Vote; Trump Says He's Not Bothered By North Korea Missile Tests; Netanyahu Threatens Fresh Elections as Coalition Talks Stumble; Pro-Environment Greens Make Big Gains in EU Elections; Interview, Philippe Lamberts, Co-President Green/EFA Group in EU Parliament; At Least Nine Deaths on Crowded Mount Everest; Disney's "Aladdin" Soars to $207 Million Global Box Office. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 27, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Amara Walker. Voters in the European Union have spoken,
changing the landscape of 28 countries for the next 5 years. Hala Gorani is following this from Brussels -- Hala.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Amara . Hundreds of millions of votes, 28 nations involved. Over and over those single-issue
parties scoring very big wins and establishment parties, well, suffering some big losses in some cases. It's day one of a new political landscape
in Europe as its elections reveal some surprising twists and turns.
For instance, in Germany, the Green Party flourished. In Britain, the New Brexit party battered both the ruling Conservatives and the opposition
Labour. While nationalists and far-right parties are not posting the gains some feared, they will be making their presence felt in the European
Parliament. In France, Marine Le Pen's National Rally beat President Emmanuel Macron's party to first place in this race. While in Italy, a
success for the deputy Prime Minister's anti-immigrant League Party serves he says to change the rules.
We are covering this story across the continent. Nic Robertson is in London. Melissa Bell is in Paris. Atika Shubert is in Berlin. And Barbie
Nadeau is in Rome. Let's start with Nic Robertson in London. The Brexit party making some big gains here. 32 percent almost of the total vote.
Tell us, you know, what is significant about the results in the U.K. -- Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's going to polarize politics going forward from here. The issue here was very much in Britain
about Brexit. What the Brexit party has shown is that there is a high tolerance for a no-deal Brexit.
That has come at a significant cost to the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party is in the process of picking a new leader and,
therefore, Prime Minister to lead those negotiations. They will worry, therefore, that if they don't shift more to the right and more to the
ground that the Brexit party has right now, then potentially they could lose out in a general election. So they will be minded to potentially more
likely go for a no-deal Brexit.
On the other side, however, you have what in essence was a balancing force on the other side between the Lib-Dems, the Green Party, The Scottish
National Party, Plaid Cymru, to name but some of them. Almost 40 -- they got almost 40 percent of the vote. On the issue of remain, on the issue of
a second referendum, and that's a message the Labour Party who did poorly as well, that they need to come out and be very, very clear. If they stand
for remain, if they stand very clearly for a second referendum. So here you see the politics moving separating, polarizing. Yet the new Prime
Minister is going to have to bridge those divides to get a Brexit deal. Politics here is going to become more toxic. That's the indications here -
GORANI: All right. So you have some big gain force the Lib-Dems. There were two trends there. The Brexit party doing well, the very pro EU Lib-
Dems as well on the collapse really of the Labour and Conservatives in these European elections.
Let's go to Atika Shubert. She's in Berlin. Because we've had breaking news in the last hour, Atika, of a vote of no-confidence in Sebastian Kurz
the Austrian Chancellor following a scandal involving his far-right vice chancellor. What is likely to happen in Austria?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is an unprecedented situation to happen in Austria. Just after the EU election.
It's actually a completely separate scandal. But basically, the far-right party, the FPO, was embroiled in this leaked video corruption scandal.
Sebastian Kurz had to essentially sack his coalition partner and that led to this no-confidence vote.
Now what's going to happen is the President of Austria will have to appoint a caretaker government. But they'll only be in temporarily. Snap
elections have already been called for September. And we could very well see Sebastian Kurz back again. You know, he still remains a popular
politician. And as the EU election results show, his party, the OVP, they still do very well. They were far and ahead the first in the polls getting
about 34 percent of the vote. So it is an unprecedented situation in Austria. But it's -- it is in one sense a political crisis, but there a
road map forward and once they get to the September elections, Austria could be right back where it started.
[11:05:03] GORANI: OK. Before I get to Mellissa, Atika, I want to ask you about the result of the European elections in Germany. Because we saw a
surge for the Greens. We were talking about these more marginal parties doing pretty well. And in Germany, the Greens made some big gains and the
party of the Chancellor, Angela Merkle, though still ahead, lost seats.
SHUBERT: Yes. This is the big story here. The fact that voters basically abandoned the centrist parties, particular the Christian Democrats, Angela
Merkle's party, but especially the Social Democrats. And they went both to the left and to the right. There was a little bit of a gain for the far-
right Alternative for Germany Party. But you're absolutely right, the big gain was the Green Party. The number one issue for Germany voters was
climate change. And that's a really big shift here. They're not talking immigration as much. They're not talking jobs, Social Security. The
climate emergency is what voters really voted on this time.
GORANI: All right. Let's go to Melissa Bell. This battle between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. It was round two after that presidential
election where Emmanuel Macron won so decisively in the presidential race. In this case, the new FN, the rebranded FN, came out on top. How
significant is that?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We had thought they'd done far better last night. In fact, they're within less than a
point of Emmanuel Macron's party, which comes in second, really disappointing to the government. But not as bad as they had feared
yesterday evening, Hala.
What is so interesting about France particularly in this European campaign is that as you say it had its round one. Everything that Nic was talking
about a moment ago, the increased polarization of politics, new parties coming up and old parties disappearing in terms of a popular vote. We
lived that in the 2017 election when Emmanuel Macron had transformed the political landscape. And so here two years on you really have in its
purest form that battle between a populist nationalist intent on retreating behind a national borders, claiming power back from Brussels. Up against a
pro-European anti-populist keen on pursuing globalization and very much in favor of the European project.
And to watch those go back-to-back, especially after what's happened all these last few months in France, however, there are yellow vests, all that
violence, all that anger, all that increased polarization not in ballot boost this time but on the street. How is that going to play out? Well
the verdict this morning and much of the French press is that Emmanuel Macron did lose but has done fairly well to get as close as he has of
Marine Le Pen's score of about 23 percent -- Hala.
GORANI: And in Italy, Barbie Nadeau. The Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini was very quick to tweet out an image of himself holding up a
victory -- having written my party is the biggest party. Sort of this victory tweet. But he scored even better than the initial projections
indicated around 29 percent. He's now well above 30 percent. Talk to us a little bit about those results.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, 34.33 percent and what's most interesting about that I think is that he scored twice as many votes
essentially as his coalition party, the Five Star Movement which only got 17 percent of the vote. And that's going to change the power dynamic here
in Italy. And that's something that we're really going to wait to see over the course I think of the summer.
But one of the things about Matteo Salvini that I think cannot be ignored is this momentum he is on. And that he's been able to pull these far-right
parties and supporters. He's been conducted around 200 campaign rallies since the first of the year. He has spent most of his time on the road
rallying the troops, getting people excited and keeping the momentum going. He's only been in power in Italy since last June and it's really
interesting to see how he has gone from sort of the margins in 2013. He only had 6 percent with the League Party. Now he's up 34 percent. The
biggest party by far in this European Parliamentary election. And his promise is to shake up Europe and to go in there and make some changes and
make the changes from the inside this time -- Hala.
GORANI: And what changes does Matteo Salvini want in Europe? Because we were discussing this with our guests, Barbie, earlier. This isn't Hungary.
This isn't a peripheral country. This is a founding member of the EU where you're seeing these extremely higher scores for Eurosceptics. What changes
does Matteo Salvini want, what likely reaction is he to get from his European partners like Germany or France, for instance?
NADEAU: Well, I don't think any of his plans and proposals are going to really sit well with his European partners.
[11:10:00] But he's really talking about economic changes, about Italy's budget has been very, very questionable. The European Union sent it back a
couple times last year when he was trying to pass it through. He's going to go in there fighting. He's going to go in there swinging, saying, you
know, Italy is doing what it can do. And we don't need to follow the European rules. He wants to take control back from Brussels. That's been
one of his mantras. That was his campaign promise.
And I think that a lot of people in Italy are tired of these austerity moves we get here, these regulations and things like that. His other big
quest is to get the rest of Europe to cooperate on immigration. And he's been able to close supports in Italy and virtually stop the flow of
migrants from North Africa. But there still trying to come and what he'd like to do is see that all of Europe take the bulk or the brunt of this
migration issue. Which is at the moment sort of on a standoff. But you know, it's summer again. And we're going to see boats coming. And he's
going to have to deal with that. And he wants the rest of Europe to pull their weight as well -- Hala.
GORANI: Well, we've got that story covered from all angles. Nic Robertson, I want to get back to you at 10 Downing Street. Because we were
saying there just a little bit earlier, that, yes, the Brexit party did well. But another party that did well was the Lib-Dems. I mean, they lost
so many MPs in the parliamentary elections in the U.K. These European elections are seeing a resurgence of this party because some people are
saying they have taking a very clear pro EU position. So they got some perhaps disenchanted Labour voters. Even Allister Campbell, the press
secretary for Tony Blair tweeted out that he voted for the Lib-Dems. Talk to us about the significance of that particular result.
ROBERTSON: Yes, Allister Campbell voting for the Lib-Dems has something that has everyone here talking. Because it's just so -- you just wouldn't
expect it. I mean, he was such a part of the sort of new Labour movement in the '90s that brought Tony Blair to power through the early 90s as well.
So and icon, if you will, of the sort of old Labour establishment, but disapproves of Labour establishment, Jeremy Corbyn.
What the Lib-Dems have done here. And they of course were punished by the electorate here for going into government with you know going into
government within David Cameron's Conservative Party 2010-2015. They have been on the back foot a long time.
But the Brexit issue has absolutely invigorated them. And it's because exactly as you say, they've been very, very clear, crystal clear with the
electorate. We stand for remaining in the European Union. 48 percent of people in Britain obviously voted for just that. So the Lib-Dems have
tapped into what is a very clear part of the population. A significantly large part of the population.
The message for Labour is, who have equivocated about whether or not stayed stand for a second referendum, to endorse the withdrawal agreement or
whether or not they might go so far as to say they'd stay that they were for remain. They've twisted themselves in loops and refer themselves back
to their party conferences.
But at the same time, the electorate has understood one thing. If they want to remain the Liberal Democrats are a party to vote for, so are the
Scottish Nationalists, so are the Welsh Nationalist, so are the Green Party as well. So that's the message that will emerge here for Labour. And we
heard Jeremy Corbyn a little earlier today saying that he was looking at this and examining it. But his party is fractured. Senior people in his
party, disagree with him. It is a big wakeup call for Labour in the same way that it is a Conservative here.
GORANI: Yes. Well, there is going to be some soul searching in both those parties, the Conservatives and Labour. Thanks, to all of you. Melissa
Bell in Paris, Nic Robertson at 10 Downing Street, Atika Shubert in Berlin and Barbie Nadeau in Rome. We'll have a lot more from Brussels in a little
bit. But for now back to Amara Walker at the CNN center -- Amara.
WALKER: All right, thanks so much, Hala. Still to come, but we will turn to Japan. President Trump meets the new Emperor and gets down to business
in trade talks. Find out what he has to say from North Korea. We'll be live from Tokyo.
Plus, bad weather and overcrowding making for a deadly week on Mount Everest. The latest from the world's tallest summit is ahead.
[11:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. You are watching CNN. And this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Amara Walker.
U.S. President Trump is getting down to business in Japan after a weekend of personal activities with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They met today on
trade with Mr. Trump suggesting a deal would come later this summer. However, a schism appears when it came to North Korea and its recent short-
range missile test. Mr. Trump said he wasn't, quote, personally bothered by the tests. For U.S. allies in the region like Japan, the launches were
unsettling, and according to Mr. Abe a great regret.
Mr. Trump's comments even put him at odds with his own national security adviser. CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is in Tokyo. Yes,
yet another extraordinary day with Mr. Trump. Tell us more about that moment. I mean how awkward was it that the President not only contradicted
his own national security adviser and also the man standing right next to him?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Shinzo Abe just a few feet to Trump's left as the President essentially said that he wasn't
bothered by the threat of ballistic missiles targeted towards some of America's allies in the region. The President raising eyebrows with his
remarks, not just on North Korea's ballistic missile test but also on Kim Jong-un's remarks regarding Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival. Plenty to
dissect from this kind of awkward press conference President Trump and Shinzo Abe held on Monday.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): President Trump insisting that recent short-range missile tests by North Korea do not bother him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not bothered at all?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I am not. I am personally not.
SANCHEZ: And that the missile launches have not violated United Nations resolutions.
TRUMP: I view it differently. I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. And perhaps not? Who knows? It doesn't matter. All I know is
that there have been no nuclear tests, there been no ballistic missiles going out.
SANCHEZ: Trump's view breaks with Japan's Prime Minister. Who directly contradicted him on the issue. Even the president's own national security
advisor, John Bolton, said a few days ago there is no doubt North Korea violated international agreements. President Trump also praising Kim Jong-
un on the world stage.
TRUMP: He knows that with nuclear that it's never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it
well. I'm in no rush at all. The sanctions remain.
SANCHEZ: The President used the press conference to attack the Democratic front runner.
TRUMP: Kim Jong-un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.
SANCHEZ: Trump and Shinzo Abe also making news on escalating tensions with Iran.
TRUMP: I know so many people from Iran. These are great people. We're not looking for regime change.
[11:20:00] I just want to make that clear. We're looking for no nuclear weapons.
SANCHEZ: President Trump indicating that he may lean on Japan to help broker talks between Iran and the U.S. Trump and Abe also discussed the
trade war with China.
TRUMP: I think we will have a deal with China sometime into the future.
SANCHEZ: The President, once again, falsely claiming that Americans only pay a small percentage of the new tariffs on Chinese imports.
TRUMP: No, no, no, it's not that way. They're paying a small percentage, but our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars. Our farmers
out of all of that money, the tens of billions of dollars we are giving a relatively small percentage to our farmers.
SANCHEZ: Now, President Trump, the first lady and Shinzo Abe and the Japanese first lady attended a banquet put on by the new Emperor, Emperor
Naruhito. The two leaders spoke of each other in glowing terms before the President turned in for the evening. A long day for the President,
tomorrow he's going to tour a joint Japanese and U.S. naval facility before speaking to some troops there and then heading back to Washington -- Amara.
WALKER: I have to ask you about this, Boris, because President Trump also met with the families of the loved ones who were abducted by North Korean
spies decades ago in the '60s and '70s. What was that moment like and did President Trump promise them anything?
SANCHEZ: Well, it was very emotional, which makes the comments that he made after about Kim Jong-un kind of even more head scratching. The
President and Shinzo Abe met with these families of Japanese citizens who had been abducted by North Koreans. This is a priority for Shinzo Abe. It
was very emotional listening to these families, talking about members of their families that they haven't seen for many years, mothers, daughters,
fathers and sons, et cetera.
The President seemed to feel moved by this. It appeared he was moved by this, nevertheless, this is something Shinzo Abe really wants to confront
Kim Jong-un about in a bilateral fashion. He says he has President Trump's support to meet one on one with Kim Jong-un and bring this up as a topic of
discussion. Unclear just how far President Trump is going to push for these two leaders to meet though.
WALKER: And notable that the Japanese Prime Minister willing to meet with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea without preconditions. Appreciate
you, Boris Sanchez, thanks very much.
Let's turn now to Israel where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running out of options as the deadline for forming a coalition quickly approaches.
With talks at a deadlock, Mr. Netanyahu is now threatening to hold fresh elections if a compromise cannot be reached by Wednesday. These
negotiations usually go down to the wire, but never before has Israel been forced to hold a new vote because it failed to form a government.
CNN's Oren Liebermann joining us now live from Jerusalem with more. I mean, Oren, it was weeks ago that Netanyahu won reelection. Now he's
talking about another vote. How did we get to this?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It'll be unprecedented if this actually happens. If Israel does go to new elections and they're called
less than two months after the last elections on April 9th.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had six weeks to form a government. This always comes down to the last second as all of the different political
parties play a game of brinkmanship to try to extract as many demands as they can from coalition negotiations. But never have we gotten to this
point. Not only is Netanyahu threatening new elections but a first reading of the bill to dissolve the Knesset and go to elections could still come in
the next few minutes or hours. It would still require a second and third reading, of course. But even if it's at this point is quite stunning.
The issue here is what is known as the draft law. And it pits former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's party against the Ultraorthodox. What
the draft law essentially does is draft more Orthodox Jewish youth into the Israeli military. Lieberman says he wants the bill passed as is with
absolutely no changes. The Ultraorthodox parties refuse to pass it as is. And that is what this impasse is all about. And so far, neither side is
showing any indication of budging. In fact, Lieberman gave a press conference a short time ago and said these were our conditions from the
very beginning and they remain our conditions.
So if Netanyahu doesn't work out some sort of agreement by Wednesday evening, Israel could very well go to new election. That being said having
spoken to political analysts, Amara, they say new elections even at this point remain unlikely. Netanyahu is going to find some sort of way or is
likely to find a way out of this scenario. As one analyst put it, as that deadline draws nearer, the number of creative solutions to this grows
WALKER: So let's talk about the unlikely event that Israel does go to new elections. I mean, because it seems like Netanyahu would be in a
vulnerable position despite the fact that his party has a majority. Who would be the potential winners and losers, if there were an election?
LIEBERMANN: It's a good question and a very difficult one to ask at this point. Even though one of the local newspaper here has already
commissioned its first election poll.
[11:25:00] Clearly Netanyahu thinks he's in a strong position. He came out ahead with 35 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset and it seems he believes
he can hang on to that. Critically for Netanyahu and for everyone else as well, the guy he's up against, Lieberman, also believes he's in a strong
position. And he can hang on to his seats even if it's only five, that he may come out stronger by standing up to Netanyahu and standing up for what
he says is right wing and secular.
Who could the losers be? Well, the opposition and his main rival former chief of staff, Benny Gantz, who was given his chance to unseat Netanyahu
and wasn't able to. Voters may turn away from him simply because of that. But it's very difficult to predict that at this point. But those whispers
are certainly growing louder, Amara.
WALKER: I mean, would this mean that Netanyahu's leadership could be on the table? Could it open up a window to Netanyahu's opponent to become the
next Prime Minister?
LIEBERMANN: Well, former chief of staff, Benny Gantz, is demanding a chance to form a new government to begin his chance to try to put something
together. Let's not forget he was a few thousand votes behind Netanyahu after the April 9 election and came out with the same 35 seats. But for
that to actually happen in Israel's system, in Israel's political system. The chance to put together a government would essentially have to go back
to the President and the President would have to reassign it to Gantz. That's incredibly unlikely to happen for the simple reason that Netanyahu
would have the Knesset vote on new elections before his rival were given that chance. So although he is calling for it, it's almost certainly not
going to happen, regardless of how this plays out over the next 48 hours.
WALKER: All right, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, thank you very much. Of course, we will be watching that closely with you.
Up next, no populist wave, good-bye to centrist dominance and growing support for the Greens across the continent. We're going to break down the
European Parliament elections when we come back.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WALKER: Hello, everyone, and welcome. You are watching what is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Amara Walker. We are watching election
results come in from across the European Union when we are seeing some remarkable shifts in the political landscape there. Our Hala Gorani is
tracking all of this for us from Brussels -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Amara, thanks, very much. The votes are in for the biggest multi-country election on the planet. Citizens from 28 European
countries chose representatives to the European Parliament, the building behind me. Centrist parties have lost ground, both on the left and the
Who made gains? Well, unsurprisingly, we weren't expecting this nationalists and populists made strong gains in some places. But overall
Europe's populist surge was halted because millions of voters backed pro EU parties like the Greens. The Greens came in second in Germany. Voter
turnout -- this is another big trend we have to look at. It was the high in 25 years. More than 50 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in this
Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels with more. So talk to us, first of all, Erin, about how the surge in the number of seats for populist national
movements, but also for some of these very pro EU Green parties, how that's going to affect the way business is conducted in the EU Parliament.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's interesting to look at the results in the context of three main camps here inside the European
Union. There's the camp that wants things to remain the same, the status quo, the establishment, if you like. Then there's the camp that wants to
see more EU. More European Union involvement. That includes the Greens, and the liberals and then you have the camp that wants to see less EU, the
And what we saw evolve, unfold last night was the status quo camp losing ground and the pro EU that wants to see more EU gaining ground and the
Eurosceptics also solidifying their gains from 2014 and also gaining ground slightly.
Now, in terms of what does that mean for the overall picture? A key test for that has already gotten under way. The jockeying if you will for the
EU's top jobs up for grabs, the council president, the commission president as well as the president of the ECB. The commission president really being
seen as the top prize at this point.
And the big question overhang all of this here in Brussels is how will last night's results impact the process. The decision making in terms of
choosing who specifically gets Jean-Claude Juncker's job. Who will fill his shoes come November still very much remains to be seen. But a big test
will be tomorrow. We understand meetings will happen in the morning here at Parliament as they decide whether or not to put forward an established
candidate or someone else.
GORANI: All right. So what impact will this all have on Brexit negotiations, I wonder?
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, well, in terms of Brexit negotiations, well, there aren't any negotiation at this point. From the perspective of the EU, those
negotiations are closed. Things could potentially get interesting, because remember the deal that was reached between Theresa May's government and the
EU still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament. That hasn't been done as yet.
We'll have to see how things unfold there in the United Kingdom. Who takes up the mantle. Who takes Theresa May's job and how they plan to push
Brexit forward in the future. But as things stand now, from the EU's perspective, it's very much status quo in terms of their positions when it
comes to Brexit.
GORANI: All right. We'll see who gets the job. Erin McLaughlin. As we've heard one of the headlines to come out of the European election was
the rise of the Green him Party. They made some big gains across Europe, especially in Germany where they took second place. The Greens are
obviously pro-environment, thus the name. And their wins came at the expense of more traditional parties.
So it shows more voters here in Europe are apparently saying yes to action on climate change and no to the status quo. And these were some big
celebrations, including a man size polar bear at the Berlin Green's Party.
[11:35:00] Very, very happy that the results that the results that came in revealed that their party had done quite well. So now that the Greens have
been given a mandate, what are their priorities? Philippe Lamberts is here. He's a member of the European Parliament and a pro-environment party
from Belgium. Thanks for being with us. Let's talk about what your group in Parliament is going to do. Because you have the power now -- not to
have a majority -- but to be a king or a queen maker.
PHILIPPE LAMBERTS, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER, BELGIAN ECOLO PARTY: Again, I've heard that expression quite a few times the last few days. But for
us, what is important is what it's for. In other terms, casting issues are issues that are important. But well you want to know to do what? And so
what is most important no us is the program of the commission for the next five years.
Five years ago, we had Jean-Claude Juncker belly dancing in front of the Greens to get our votes. And when he got some of them, he quickly forgot
about the promises he made to us. What we want is a promises to stick. And if you want them to stick, you need to cast them into a working program
of the commission. So what's at stake for us is negotiating the working program for the commission for the next five years. And based on that, we
will see who might be best placed to lead the commission.
GORANI: Have you been approached already?
LAMBERTS: Oh yes, we are. I can tell you.
GORANI: Tell us by what groups. Can you tell us?
LAMBERTS: All groups, the three most likely groups. If you want a stable pro-European majority, obviously, you will need the EPPs, you will need the
socialists, you will need the liberals, you can't do a stable majority without all three of them, well any of the three. And then the question
is, will they want the Greens on board as well? If you want the majority to be stable, you better have the Greens on board. Otherwise a majority
will be held off stage by the most extremist fringes of liberals, Social Democrats and EPP.
GORANI: So you already started the discussions in terms of what would be included really in documents that would ensure that your priorities are
part of what's worked on in the parliament.
LAMBERTS: We didn't start yet and I regret it. Because actually I would like us to get started as soon as possible. As you know the European
Council is meeting tomorrow. And we would like that work to have started before. We could have started tonight. Obviously, there was no
preparedness of the other three to start tonight.
GORANI: Why, obviously?
LAMBERTS: Maybe people are not available. I don't know. But I think that we should get at least clear as to how we are going to organize these talks
this week so that they can start in earnest next week.
GORANI: But that doesn't sound too promising.
LAMBERTS: Why is that?
GORANI: Because you are saying, obviously, we haven't started yet. We would've liked to the special step started. There is a big summit tomorrow
and yet it feels like you are disappointed with how things have started.
LAMBERTS: Well I would have liked the process to be kicked off before the European Council. It won't be the case. But we are going to start it
right afterwards. So, or maybe tomorrow at the Conference of Presidents. We will find an agreement as to the process. But then the process needs to
get started and it's too early to say whether it's will be successful. I do not know the degree of preparedness of the other three to welcome
significant parts of the agenda of the Greens on social justice and environmental sustainability and on rule of law and democracy and civil
liberties. These are the three pillars of Green policies.
GORANI: So you have been approached to do what, exactly, at this stage? To join a coalition. To have discussions --
LAMBERTS: To join talks. To join talks
GORANI: To join talks, OK.
LAMBERTS: That is where we are at the moment.
GORANI: You'd consider joining a coalition, obviously.
LAMBERTS: Absolutely, I mean when you look at what IPCC is saying, that we have 12 years to take the hard decisions if you want avoid the worst form
of climate change. We cannot afford to stand on the balcony and watch the others. We need to get in the fray and get things done. That's what the
climate marches are demanding from us. So staying away from those discussions is not an option. Now, don't count on us to be part of any
coalition that would not enact drastic change in policy making. I think that we are the bearers of a mandate for change. And we will see whether
the others are prepared to do something else than business as usual politics.
GORANI: Right, are you concerned -- I mean, even though it's not the clean sweep that it could have been, but these nationalize anti-European parties
-- you saw the performance of the Brexit party in the U.K. I mean, even if their MPs won't sit the full five years -- we don't know that yet. But
Italy, for instance, Matteo Salvini who initially was at 29 percent according to projection, now close to 34 percent in Italy.
LAMBERTS: That's worrying. That's really scary. And that tells you how much people feel left behind in economic terms, in social terms, in
cultural terms. And we need to get them back into the fray. In other terms, the more people feel disenfranchised from society, the more national
populist parties will win. So it's of the utmost importance that policies in the next five years are -- make these people feel included again. And
that's mostly social policy, economic policy.
[11:40:00] We don't stop, for instance with rewarding big multinationals or rewarding the one percent richest of societies.
GORANI: Quick last one. Though European Commission president is going to be a big one here. What do you make of Jean-Claude Juncker? What do you
think he did achieve in his term? Were you a fan?
LAMBERTS: Well I voted for him, to be honest. I didn't vote for his commission but I voted for the person.
GORANI: Did he do a good job?
LAMBERTS: No, he disappointed me. Because on a social policy, he's still -- well he tried to do somethings. But actually the carried on with the
nearly policies on free trade agreements and economic governance that is based on austerity. And on environmental matters, he really didn't get it.
He really didn't get it. So it was like he was sitting on another planet. So, no, if he was the president of the last chance commission, I think he
GORANI: Philippe Lambert, the leader of the Greens coalition in the European Parliament. Thanks so much for joining us. Amara, we'll have
more at the top of the hour. Back to you.
WALKER: Looking forward to it, Hala, thank you.
Up next, Mount Everest's rising death toll is raising concerns that overcrowding is making the ascent even more treacherous. We're going to go
live to Nepal. That's ahead.
WALKER: You are watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Amara Walker, welcome back.
Tragedy strikes on Nepal's Mount Everest. Four climbers have died trying to reach the tallest peak just this week bringing the climbing death toll
to nine. One of the victims was a British mountaineer who warned of overcrowding at the summit in his last post to social media. Last week,
crowds of climbers became stuck in a queue about the mountain's highest camp known as the "Death Zone". But tourism authorities in Nepal denied
that the deaths are related to the heavy traffic of explorers. Calling the claims baseless, just look at that photo. Makes me queasy.
Arwa Damon joining us live from Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, with more. I mean, there's a reason, just looking at that photo, looking at that narrow
line, it's frightening. And there's a reason why they call this the "Death Zone" -- Arwa.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Amara. And that's because in this last push to get to the summit, that
particular area has so little oxygen in it your body is literally deteriorating. Every breath you take in at that altitude only gives you a
third of the level of oxygen that you would be getting at sea level. This is why so many climbers go up taking oxygen tanks with them.
The problem is that when have you these weights that were lasting two-to- four hours in some cases, some climbers may not have necessarily had enough oxygen with them or if they lacked the experience to be able to read their
body and how it was reacting.
[11:45:00] And that is why other mountaineers, experts that we have talked to, are saying that this backlog that was created could have contributed to
these deaths. The Because a vast majority of them happened as people were coming down. You make it to the summit. But what is most dangerous, the
vast majority of deaths happen when you are trying to then make your way down. Altitude sickness, just destroying people's bodies.
Now, part of this, some are saying yes due to the backlog, but that backlog is because of a number of factors. Yes, there were a lot of permits that
were issued. This year a record number of permits. But Nepalese officials are telling us that 600 people actually made it to the summit. And they
don't think that the number of permits they issued contributed to this traffic jam.
Then you have the issue of weather. The windows that people had to make that final push to the summit significantly less. You had more people
trying really trying cram their way through and make it there. But all of this really underscores the dangers of trying to tackle a challenge like
Everest that is both physically and emotional grueling. And on top of all of this, it's become so commercial that some are saying you are getting
inexperienced climbers that really should not be attempting this kind of a summit when they don't really have the skill set to be able to handle it.
WALKER: And perhaps that's why the cues have become so long. Arwa Damon, I appreciate your reporting live there from Kathmandu.
Let's get over to Mount Everest now and Adrian Ballinger has climbed the mountain multiple times. He's joining us now on the phone from the north
base camp. That's about 17,000 feet in the air, about 5,000 meters. Adrian, I just want to ask you a simple question for us. Because if we can
pull up the picture of that long queue, how far away -- well first off, it's incredible to hear Arwa say that some of the weight is what two-to-
four hours at times. How close is that to the peak where these climbers are waiting?
ADRIAN BALLINGER, ALPENGLOW EXPEDITIONS (via phone): So where the photo was taken is near, call the Hillary Step on the Nepal side of the mountain
and it's only about 30 minutes from the summit. Well over 28,000 feet in altitude.
WALKER: And when you hear -- what are you hearing in terms of the wait? Is it truly two-to-four hours for most of those waiting in that line? Or
could it be longer or shorter?
BALLINGER: You know that specific day, yes. So that photo was taken on May 23rd of this year. And on May 23rd, you know a lot of people made what
I would call a grave mistake. They've followed, there was a very much of a herd mentality that on a season whether it had been very few good weather
days with low winds, there was one day, the 23rd of May that every forecaster predicted would be a fantastic low wind easy day to go to the
And so, so many teams chose to take that day instead of you know thinking about the situation practically that you just can't have that many climbers
up there. So everyone went, and yes, the waits were up to three hours long. And I absolutely believe that contributed to some of the fatalities
we saw that day.
WALKER: And that was just one day as you mentioned. But in general, the overcrowding has gotten worse. Hasn't not? I mean tell us more about how
bad it is and have you seen queues this long before?
BALLINGER: You know I have been on the mountain the last 12 years as an expedition operator with my company, Alpenglow Expeditions. And I sort of
see both sides of the coin. Yes, the mountain is getting more popular. And I don't think that's a bad thing. It's an incredibly powerful sacred
experience for people train for years to go and to test their bodies and minds in that way. So yes, it's getting more popular.
But I think the larger issue is the inexperience as you mentioned. Many companies are now accepting clients who really shouldn't be up there. And
many companies are forming with leadership and Sherpa and guides, but also don't have the experience to make the hard decisions up there. And when
you combine those things with a season like this here where there are very few good days, you end up in these situation where too many people are in
the wrong place at the wrong time.
WALKER: Yes, I want to talk more about -- I do talk, Adrian, more about what needs to be done to curb this overcrowding. Just back to that image
of that queue on that very, very narrow ridge there of the climbers just waiting. What is it like up there? How thin is the air and how fatal can
BALLINGER: It is incredibly difficult up there. I summitted the mountain eight times, while leading teams for my company. And you know, above 8,000
meters, in what you call the death zone. You really are struggling for every step, even with supplemental oxygen.
[11:50:00] And so, when things go wrong, you just don't have extra energy to help someone else or to even potentially help yourself. It's incredibly
challenging. But that that's also where the power of the experience is, that's why people are drawn to it.
BALLINGER: So what needs to be done. I mean, do you think the Nepali government is partially to blame? Because I mean, they do make a huge
revenue from the tourism of these climbers. I mean, do you think the government of Nepal is issuing too many climbing permits?
BALLINGER: I personally do not personally believe the mountain is overcrowded. I believe the mountain is getting too busy with low budget
operators for the cutting corners and in accepting climbers who are not yet ready to be on the world's tallest mountains.
WALKER: So who needs to crackdown on that?
BALLINGER: So I do think that Nepal's government is complicit in this. In that Nepal's government has to choose to begin regulating the mountain and
the commercial operators that are making money on its mountain. And until they do so, we're going to continue to see accidents like this and the
increased crowding of people who are just not ready to be up there. And it's truly unethical what some of the companies you need do up there.
WALKER: Unethical, as Adrian Ballenger says. We appreciate you joining us, sir. A warning from you that is overcrowded. We also heard a warning
from Hanes Fisher, one of the nine climbers to have died on Mount Everest in 2019's climbing season. We're going to have to leave it there. Thank
you so much. Adrian Ballenger, best of luck to you while are you up there.
You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Amara Walker. More after the break.
WALKER: Welcome back. We would like to ends our show on a magical note. Disney's remake of "Aladdin" soared to the top of the box office this
weekend, conjuring up more than $200 million worldwide. The film -- its composer says -- it was important for him to keep the magic of the original
while adding something fresh for the new generation.
WALKER (voice-over): We likely know the songs by heart. But the live action adaptation of "Aladdin" puts a new spin on those classics. Alan
Menken composed the animated "Aladdin".
ALAN MENKEN, COMPOSER: I have two jobs. One is the keeper of the flame of the original. I've got to protect that. And the other is I'm a part of a
new team that's going to do something new and I got to be a part of that. Truly and wholeheartedly.
WALKER: He recognizes the importance of original songs to the listener.
MENKEN: I am aware that a little bit of any of these songs is very powerful to people. So you know things you don't want to mess with. Also
you make it fresh with a whole new world rather than playing -- also we're doing --
I can show you the world -- and it's just, oh my God. You know, so the right rearrangement can be so huge and something feeling fresh
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): I won't be silent --
WALKER: And the something new, Jasmine's song "Speechless" performed by Naomi Scott.
MENKEN (singing): I won't be silent you can't keep my quiet
we'll trouble when you try it
[11:55:00] WALKER: This updated take on "Aladdin" is remake that's proving popular with long-time fans. One survey found that two-thirds of movie
goer say they would definitely recommend the new movie to friend. And nearly 40 percent of the audience said their love for the original was the
main reason for seeing the movie.
WALKER: I can't wait to see that film. Oh, by the way, before we go, we want to show you something cute. A fully albino giant panda has been
filmed in a bamboo forest in China. Which we are told is unprecedented. Footage of this cub was taken back in April at a nature preserve in Sichuan
Province but was only released now.
A researchers with Beijing's Beijing University told CNN no fully albino giant panda has been recorded in the wild before. Their reserve plans to
set up more cameras to observe the growing cub. Look at those eyes.
That is our time. I'm Amara Walker. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for being with me.