EU campaign officially kicks off in France; Swedish social model in the spotlight

So over the next two weeks, we'll be bringing you reporting from across the European Union, portraits of first time voters and a look at how the EU impacts the everyday lives of those of us living on the continent. And for today's show, our Europe editor, Armin Georgian is with me. Hi, Armin. Hi, Nadia. And it is the first official day of campaigning here in France. But from roaming the streets of Paris this morning, you wouldn't know it. We can see some photos now. We're going to show you that I took of lonely billboards pining for election posters, but none were forthcoming. Now, later in the day there was a trickle of posters that did start to be put up, but you have to remember that France is voting on June the 8th and 9th, so that's very soon. And there's not a lot of time now for people to pass and digest 38 different lists with what seems to be quite a bewildering array of political programs, anything from animal rights to flex it. Now, of course, those who do follow politics will have noticed that there's a campaign going on. There have been two TV debates that have taken place already that pitted the far right National Rally, which is way ahead in the opinion polls against the centrist governing party of President Emmanuel Macron. Now, Macron now says he wants to debate Marine Le Pen, who's the head of the far right in the French parliament, even though she's not actually the main candidate for the National Rally in this election. So Macron, a highly experienced debater, clearly looking to close that gap in the opinion polls and idea indeed. And of course, for Marine Le Pen and for her party, immigration, one of the big issues. It's a big issue here in France, but also elsewhere in the EU in this election. Our reporter Clovis Kasali takes us now to Sweden, where it's also a big issue on the doorsteps there. The Stockholm suburb of Rinkaby is one of the poorest areas in Sweden. Over 80% of residents are first or second generation immigrants. This bridge was set to connect it with a richer neighbourhood, but it's uncompleted with the far right campaigning against it for years. What will happen with the real estate prices in that area? If this bridge leads to criminality spill over there? What will happen to the kids who are vulnerable to robbery attempt? Charlie Vamish, heads the Sweden Democrats, listed the EU elections. His far right party is not in government but supports the centre right coalition. So what I would do is to move the whole asylum process, including refuge outside European Union territory. Mustafa Zatara was born in Rinkaby. You see the high building there. There is my childhood. This entrepreneur of Palestinian descent says nowadays there are fewer social schemes and public services. Meanwhile, some say the rise of violence in recent years shows that integration has failed in Rinkaby. The riot is going always further to the right of their racist opinions. Clearly they are getting more supporters in the country. The people here just try to pull together and do the best they can in this situation. He set up a program helping local youths become entrepreneurs like him. I tell them Sweden is a land of possibility, so you've got to try to seize those opportunities and stay away from trouble. Here in Sweden. Voters will be electing 21. Questions of integration and reforming immigration laws have been at the heart of the campaign. Apart from the Greens and the Left Party, there appears to be a consensus over the need to introduce tougher laws, but still with some differences. Integration is currently a sensitive topic in Sweden. This Social Democrat MP for Stockholm is one of the few who agreed to answer our questions. We must have policy to include everyone in the society. We have a a big inequality when it comes to school, when it comes to how we live in Sweden. So we we mean that the government must have a policy that, you know, the rich people, they can afford to, to pay taxes to contribute to this equality for all. Backed by the far right, the Swedish government has vowed to combat what it calls a shadow society, foreigners who aren't integrating. That's Clovis Kasali with that report for us there. Well, let's stay with our special Europe programme this hour. And something a little lighter. We're going to talk about how the EU might be impacting what it is that you have for breakfast. Luke Brown's with me in the studio. Luke, you're gonna be telling us how the EU is trying to make our lives little better, a little tastier? I don't know. What are you going to tell us about? Yeah, this sounds a lot like the kind of thing maybe Brexit politicians would be talking about. The much maligned Brussels imposed red tape, the EU breakfast directive, A bit of jargon there, but actually it aims to better inform and protect consumers. The whole point is to reduce so-called food fraud and guarantee that what we eat is what we expect. The most emblematic measure is in one of these objects here, a honey pot. Yes, the idea is that a lot of imported honey is often unadulterated. Sorry. An EU investigation said that half of EU honey imports are fraudulently labeled. Up to 60% have been blended with added sugar. So clearly not necessarily you're not getting what you want to pay for. This one, for example, is produced in Argentina, Ukraine and Chile. Those countries don't necessarily respect EU hygiene norms. The new measures will impose the label will have to show that the country of origin and the vintage coming from each of those countries has also got to be shown. Luke. So you mean we don't know exactly how much added sugar there might be in that one that's imported, Right? It's impossible to know from outside of the EU. So apart from honey, what about this continental breakfast thing? Yeah. So the EU breakfast directive is going to try and clear up confusion about what's actually on the breakfast table around the continent. So there's New York rules for jams, fruit juices and dehydrated milk for jams. That means there's going to be less sugar, higher minimum fruit content. That'll increase to 450g per kilo of jam. That's 100 grams more than before for dehydrated milk. The idea is to allow lactose free variants that'll improve quality and choices for people with special dietary needs and for fruit juices. This is where Brussels is trying to make some progress. They want to give consumers more choice about choosing juice with less sugars. That means a new label will state reduced sugar, fruit juice. Bit of jargon. That means basically that's at least 30% of the naturally occurring sugars will have been removed. All in all, the measures go beyond just simple transparency. The idea is to really reduce unwitting sugar consumption for European consumers. It's already been passed through by the European Parliament. The European Council has given it the green light. However, for the moment, the European breakfast tables won't be changing. These won't be implemented for at least a year and a half around the European Union. So it's it's all about less sugar and healthy eating, I suppose, at the end of the day. Yeah, Can't complain too much about that, I suppose. Alright, well, we're going to move on now and have a look at what motivates younger voters and how they see Europe's future. Here's a portrait of Victor, a young French farmer, brought to you by our Enter team in association with Deutsche Vela. Our partner team at enter with that report. And that wraps up our first Europe vote. Thanks very much to Armour, George and Luke Brown as well. Much more from both of them at the same time tomorrow, so do tune in for that if you can. Time for a quick break. More from me after the break. Bye for now.

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