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Interview with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni; Debating What's Best for Britain; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 31, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET




CLARISSA WARD, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: a watery grave on Europe's doorstep. Italy's foreign minister tells me Europe is still turning a

blind eye, as record numbers of migrants and refugees drown in the Mediterranean.


PAOLO GENTILONI, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Now I think we need again a wake-up call because the risk is that the problem again could be considered

as an Italian problem. It is not an Italian problem.


WARD (voice-over): Plus, the island nation: is Britain safer in or out of the European Union?

The director of Europol and a former U.K. home secretary tell me why they disagree.


WARD: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Clarissa Ward, in for Christiane Amanpour.

The Italian coast guard has started to dread good weather. These days, blue skies and calm waters bring death at sea: 880 men, women and children

drowned in the Mediterranean last week, bringing the number of dead to over 2,500 this year alone.

The majority of migrants are dying on the dangerous crossing from Libya to Italy. This extraordinary footage from an Italian navy rescue last week

shows just how dangerous it can be.

The odds of dying are now as high as 1:23. I spoke to the Italian foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, who told me Europe needs to wake up.


WARD: Foreign Minister, thank you so much for being on the program.

Let's start out by talking about the numbers. More than 2,000 migrants now believed to be dead or missing; last year was an all-time record. But

already we're on course for this year possibly being even worse.

Why are these numbers still so high?

GENTILONI: Well, the numbers are high because the Central Mediterranean route is still going on. Obviously Italy is committed and has a long

experience on search and rescue operation. Just in the last 10 days, we saved something like 14,000 people.

But sadly, we are not able to save everyone. And the criminal activities of the smugglers is going always worse, because now they are filling these

boats of people but not filling their tanks of gasoline. So the boats are going just for dozens of miles and then asking for relief.

WARD: You mentioned some of those rescues. I'm sure you've seen by now this incredible video of a boat which was carrying more than 500 people

capsizing, the enormity of the rescue mission that went on. Give us a sense of how the navy and the coast guard are coping.

GENTILONI: Yes, and it gives you the sense also of the fact that you can reach the boats of migrants, even arriving very near to them, as was the

case in this case because it was a video taken, not from miles but from hundreds of meters.

But the conditions of these boats and of how the migrants are packed in these boats are so horrible that, even if you reach them, in certain case,

you are not able to save all of them.

I think everybody remember that, one year ago, it was a tragedy in the Mediterranean to give a wake-up call to Europe. Now I think we need,

again, a wake-up call because the risk is that the problem, again, could be considered as an Italian problem. It is not an Italian problem.

WARD: So are you saying that wake-up call has been ignored?

What support do you need from Europe that you're not getting?

GENTILONI: Well, Europe was doing very little until one year ago. There was disagreement with Turkey that --


GENTILONI: -- hopefully can help us to manage the Balkan route.

But now we shall not -- we have not to go again to a situation where Europe is again as lead. This is the reason why Italy proposed a new strategy; we

called it migration compact. It is something that needs to be concentrated in a dozen of African countries, helping them both with medium-term

projects and with short-term projects to manage migration.

WARD: Let's talk about Libya, because I think that really is the root of the rot that obviously is the country where most of these migrants are

crossing from.

Do you think enough is being done to tackle the problem on the ground and in the seas of Libya?

GENTILONI: Well, we, as Italians, we are seizing all the opportunities at the international level to concentrate the attention of the international

community on Libya. I think we had some results. There is now a gradual but still very fragile process of stabilization.

There is also a strong initiative of the new Libyan government and especially of militias connected to the new Libyan governments against

daish in the Sirte areas. We are training as European Union their coast guard.

But we have to be, I think, very clear on the fact that the problem will not be solved in a few weeks by Libya.

Libya will be a medium-term story. It will be a wonderful success if we are able to stabilize the country. But to reduce the flow, especially of

economic migrants, we need a European commitment with several countries that are south of Libya.

WARD: Obviously right now there are far fewer people crossing from Turkey to Greece, which had been the most popular route.

Are you concerned that by shutting down that route, you're going to see even more of a swell of people traveling to Libya and trying to cross to


GENTILONI: It was not the case for the moment. For the moment, we have more or less the same numbers that we had in the previous two years. And

the migrants arriving in our ports, in Sicily, are mostly coming from Africa and not from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

But for the future, it's difficult to be sure.

WARD: Foreign Minister, thank you so much for being on the program.

GENTILONI: Thank you very much.


WARD: Well, as the refugee crisis deepens, some are willing to avoid it at any cost. One of the richest villages in Switzerland has chosen to pay an

eye-watering $300,000 fine rather than accept 10 refugees into their care, because, quote, "they wouldn't fit in."

The influx of refugees is providing just as much division here in the U.K. ahead of the crucial E.U. referendum. We'll be debating that topic and

what's best for Britain after the break.





WARD: Welcome back.

The U.S. is cautioning Americans heading to Europe this summer. The State Department warns of the risk of a potential terrorist attack that could

target, quote, "major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation."

It names the Euro 2016 football championships in France in June and the Tour de France in July.

Security is a top concern for many Europeans right now, especially in the aftermath of recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris.

And it's one of the biggest issues dominating the U.K. debate over whether to remain in or get out of the E.U. Joining me now for a discussion is Rob

Wainwright, the head of Europe's Police Agency, Europol, who believes that Europe (sic) is safer inside Europe.

And taking the opposite view is Michael Howard, who was, of course, the British home secretary and leader of the Conservative Party.


WARD: Gentlemen, thank you both for being with us.

Let me start with you, Rob Wainwright. You have said this would be a real error to leave the E.U.

Explain that to us, why?

ROB WAINWRIGHT, EUROPOL: Well, as your introduction shows, I think the threat that we face from terrorism and, indeed, many forms of international

crime at the moment, are much more threatening and complex than we've seen at any point in the past.

It requires Britain and, indeed, its European partners to enjoy the maximum possible cooperation, making use of course of their unique relationship

with the Americans and in the intelligence community.

But what I see in my job in the seven years I've been director of Europol is the great strides forward that E.U. cooperation measures have taken to

provide now, I think, one indispensable part of the way in which Britain can protect its people and protect its borders.

WARD: And can I just ask -- I'm coming to you in one second, Michael Howard.

But I just wanted to ask, why is it that you feel leaving the E.U. would preclude and end those agreements?

Could those agreements not continue if Britain was not in the E.U.?

WAINWRIGHT: Well, it wouldn't preclude access to them in absolute terms. It would change the nature of that access. And, in some areas, such as

access to the Schengen Information System, which is the largest security database in Europe and something which British border officials use every

day to identify suspected offenders coming over, I think it would be very unlikely that the U.K. would continue to have access, because there would

be no precedent for a country, the U.K. within find yourself being in having -- being granted access to that system.

Other arrangements like Europol would mean that it would have a rather indirect relationship with us, still useful, but not, overall the point is

Britain's relationship with the European Union just wouldn't be quite as effective in securing itself from these threats.

WARD: OK. I'm sure Michael Howard has something to say about that.

You've said the E.U. might as well be hanging a welcome sign to terrorists.

MICHAEL HOWARD, FORMER BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: Well, it wasn't me who said that. It was --


WARD: It was actually the former head of Interpol.

HOWARD: -- head of Interpol who said that. And of course we can continue with the arrangements that Rob has described. In fact, if I'm not

mistaken, Norway, which isn't a member of the E.U., has access to the Schengen intelligence information.

We actually contribute much, much more to those arrangements than we get from them. So the European countries have every reason to continue to make

these arrangements with us and to continue with them. There are some specific, undeniable ways in which we're less safe because we're members of

the European Union.

WARD: What are those ways?

HOWARD: They all have to do with the European Court of Justice, which is supreme. I don't know what Americans would think of that, making your

Supreme Court subordinate to a North American court of justice sitting in Mexico City. That's the position we're in.

The European Court of Justice has said we can't stop European citizens who are involved in terrorism from coming into our country. It said we can't

have systematic checks of E.U. citizens' passports.

Today, scores of people have been arrested in Greece for forging passports. We know a lot of the passports are forged. European Court of Justice said

we can't have systematic checks.

And it's even going to decide, in a few weeks' time, whether the surveillance regime, passed by our Parliament, is consistent with the

European Charter of Fundamental Rights. And it may well overrule an Act of --


HOWARD: -- Parliament that's been established in the United Kingdom. So the European Court of Justice, which has the last say on the arrangements

we can make, as long as we remain members of the European Union, is indisputably making our country less safe than it would otherwise be.

WARD: And we're hearing this a lot from people, that the lack of Britain's ability to have autonomous control over its borders, what's your say to


WAINWRIGHT: Well, I think the important point here is that Britain needs to have access to the information intelligence system that allow them to

identify the serious offender at the point at which they cross the border.

And notwithstanding the point about the European Court of Justice, Britain has made use of what is a clear security exemption in the free movement

directive. Been 6,000 cases in the last few years. So the system is working.

The point is that if we leave the European Union, we must be very careful about what we wish for, because at that point we still have the task of

managing our borders and identifying the serious offenders. We would then have less access to the information that we currently rely on to keep our

borders safe in the first place.


HOWARD: That's not the case.

Look, Rob admitted earlier the closest intelligence relationship we have is not with the European Union at all. It's with the United States, Canada,

Australia, New Zealand.

WARD: Right.

HOWARD: And so we can continue to have a close intelligence relationship with countries without a formal arrangement --


WARD: But the European Union does offer some areas of expertise, for example, North Africa.

HOWARD: We would continue to benefit from that because they benefit much, much more from what we contribute. We have the best intelligence services

in Europe and they benefit from that.

Look, there's something called the European arrest warrant. I'm in favor of it and there's a discussion about whether it will continue if we leave

the European Union.

The number of applications for arrests from other European countries in the U.K. is 10 times the number that we ask for from them. So they're going to

benefit hugely by continuing with those arrangements.

And I'm sure that's what they'll do. They're not so stupid as to cut off their nose to spite their face, just because we decide to leave the formal

arrangements of the European Union.

WARD: Well, Rob Wainwright, you are speaking to -- these are your colleagues across the continent every day.

What are they saying?

What is their impression?

Would this have a major impact?

WAINWRIGHT: To be honest, I've met no serving police chief either in the United Kingdom or across Europe who thinks that it's a good idea in

security terms if Britain leaves the E.U. because we've grown up in the last five to 10 years with a practical use of these systems on an everyday


The Schengen Information System, which, by the way, Norway only has access to it because they're part of the Schengen free movement area.


HOWARD: -- earlier said no one outside the European Union could have access.


WAINWRIGHT: -- precedent in which the U.K. would find itself, which is being --


WAINWRIGHT: -- the European Union and not being a member of the free --

HOWARD: But you can't deny the specific examples that I've cited, of ways in which the European Court of Justice's rulings makes our country less

safe than it would otherwise be.

We're less safe if we can't keep out people who we know are involved in terrorism.

We're less safe if we can't systematically check passports.

We're less safe if we can't have the surveillance regime which Parliament has passed.


WAINWRIGHT: -- stopped at British border every time that they need to. And there's nothing that the European Court of Justice stops us from doing


HOWARD: You must know the case of Zed Zed, where someone, a European citizen, who we knew was involved in terrorism, the home secretary wanted

to keep him out because it was a Labour home secretary, who said his presence wasn't conducive to the public good and the European Court of

Justice said, you've got to let him in. That makes us less safe.

WARD: Let's talk about very specific cases that we all know -- Paris, Brussels. There were obvious failings, Rob Wainwright.

Tell us, what was learned from them?

Has enough been learned from them?

WAINWRIGHT: Well, the biggest learning lesson was, first of all, how complex and dynamic the threat was. And going back to your point about the

U.S. travel warning, we are concerned about what that means for the Euro Football Championships, for example.

It shows that the threat from the so-called Islamic State is very viable. It targets the United Kingdom like it does France.

The big learning lesson from those two investigations was that intelligence cooperation was not good enough and that we needed to reach out and find

better ways to connect our information systems, of course with the Americans, of course with the intelligence community.

But my biggest lesson from that was that the majority of the terrorists that were responsible for those awful attacks have criminal backgrounds.

That means we need to reach into police databases that my organization, Europol, has. Many of the E.U. instruments to have in a more systematic

way than we've ever done before. Now is not the time to disengage.

HOWARD: But we can do all that. We can do all that and it's in the Europeans' interest to allow those arrangements to continue. And they will


WARD: Well, let me ask you --

HOWARD: But what we -- what I don't want to do is for us to continue to be unable to keep out of our country people who we know are involved in


WARD: Right. You have a lot of good points about the system --


WARD: -- and the problems with the system.

What do you intend to replace it with, though?

And this is the question that many people have. There's so much ambiguity about what comes next, what damage will be done.

How will that void be filled?

HOWARD: Oh, I don't think it will be a difficulty at all. I think we'll be able to continue to trade freely with the European Union because they

have a huge surplus on their trade with us.

We won't be members of the --

WARD: But I'm talking specifically about security.

HOWARD: I would be willing to continue with the European arrest warrant, to continue to share intelligence through the network that Rob is


We don't share intelligence with all members of the European Union equally now. So we could continue to have those arrangements. And it would be

very much in their interest to continue with those arrangements, because they benefit from them much, much more than we do.

WARD: Do you agree?


WAINWRIGHT: I agree, actually, with Michael that the U.K. would continue to have the relationship, that they would negotiate a pretty good deal; it

just wouldn't be as good as it is now. And it's fraught with difficulty, frankly, and uncertainty.

How long will that take?

And what will be the final result?

The minimum we can say it will not be as effective as it is now.


HOWARD: You can't say that. You can't say that. That's conjecture. But I can point to specific facts as a result of the decisions of the European

Court of Justice, undeniable, irrefutable facts --

WARD: But if you look at the --

HOWARD: -- that make us less safe.

WARD: -- let's look at some of the former intelligence, the heads of MI-5, heads of MI-6 --

HOWARD: Well, they're on both --

WARD: -- they're on both sides.

HOWARD: -- on both sides.

WARD: It's down the middle. I mean, there isn't really a clear --

WAINWRIGHT: -- down the middle, we have one former head of MI-6, who left his job 12 years ago and hasn't had the experience --


HOWARD: -- of Interpol, who said the --

WAINWRIGHT: -- well, and it's in the United Kingdom, you know, that the -- much more recent heads of both MI-5, MI-6 and GCHQ, backing what I'm

hearing privately from all current serving chiefs.

HOWARD: You can have as many opinions as the cows come home.

WAINWRIGHT: But these are professionals, Michael. They have an objective view of what's --

HOWARD: I've put forward a specific series of facts.


HOWARD: You haven't been able to deny those facts. Those facts make the United Kingdom less safe than it would be if we left.

WARD: Let me ask you one final question, I have to ask you, Michael Howard, if Britain votes to leave the E.U., does David Cameron, Prime

Minister David Cameron, have to resign, in your opinion?

HOWARD: No, not at all. I -- he said he would stay. I hope and believe he will stay. We wouldn't want to be distracted at that time by a Tory

Party leadership contest. I hope, believe David Cameron will stay.

WARD: Thank you, gentlemen, both, for an enlightening debate.

HOWARD: Thank you.


WARD: And as more voices wade into the Brexit debate, one of the world's pre-eminent scientists is strongly backing the Remain camp, physicist

Stephen Hawking, telling British television today that Brexit would spell disaster.


STEVEN HAWKING, PHYSICIST: Gone are the days we could stand on our own against the world. We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both

for our security and our trade. The possibility of our leaving the E.U. has already led to a shortfall in the pound because the markets judged that

it will damage our economy.


WARD: When we come back, we go beyond the facts and the figures to the heart of the refugee crisis looming large over this E.U. referendum.

Imagine a world discovering a shared humanity -- next.





WARD: And finally tonight, we imagine a world away from political headlines, peeling back the rhetoric to find the humanity at the heart of

today's refugee crisis.


WARD (voice-over): This video from Amnesty International is offering a look beyond borders. The organization asked Europeans and refugees to look

into each other's eyes for four minutes, an opportunity to see each other as human beings.

So did it work?

Take a look for yourself.



WARD: And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

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