Monday, November 28, 2005

Europe on BBC

The Helsinki Cathedral
Originally uploaded by amsterboy.
Sunday evening. I was just back from the IDFA festival. After a film about a man whose mother was killed by a suicide bomber in Israel I felt like consuming something a bit lighter. Click..Zap..Dutch commercial channel Veronica showing Man In The Iron, zap..another video of the rap artist Ali B on the Dutch music channel The, zap..a train departing from a German station and then a text "Battle for Europe". Halt.

BBC's current affairs programme Panorama dove into a difficult subject, i.e. different views on Europe. The journalist gathered examples and interviewed politicians while he was travelling through Britain, France, Germany, Lithuania and Finland. Of course his this-is-the-Europe-Tony-Blair-wants comments were slightly simplifying but the programme kept the viewer watching. He interviewed for instance British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, trade minister of France (a clear look-alike of West Wing's CJ Cregg), new German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble, former Finnish prime minister Esko Aho, Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja, Lithuanian film studio boss, German family buying a new Volkswagen, French cheese producer etc. Marvellous programme.

His trip ended in Helsinki. I guess we Finns need someone to come from the outside to tell us that free-of-charge education and a genuine knowledge-based society together with a strong welfare system are marvellous things. His trip to Finland was introduced by saying:"There is a place, however, where strong welfare state meets a liberal and innovative industry. This is why I continued my trip to the small country in the North, Finland." I must say that I was proud when I heard the following comments:
"It is often portrayed as if competitiveness and welfare would be alternatives to each other. I disagree." - Esko Aho
"In Finland everyone contributes to the welfare state and everyone benefits from it."
- Erkki Tuomioja

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