SP International

Brussels shows what it really is: a neoliberal straitjacket

19 Dec 2014That countries which don’t belong to the EU will now come under European Economic Governance reveals a dangerous level of audacity, argues SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel.

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SP: Timmermans’ list has little to commend it

16 Dec 2014With a great deal of fuss, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and his right-hand man Frans Timmermans – until recently the Netherlands’ Foreign Minister – today presented the Commission’s new work programme. The SP finds little to commend in this programme, as the leader of the party’s group in the European Parliament, Dennis de Jong, explains. ‘Some fifty-five of the eighty proposals which the Commission has withdrawn were in any case out of date,’ he says. ‘At the same time the Commission is taking new powers to itself with this programme. They do this with the “reform contracts” in the framework of economic governance, in relation to fiscal policy and energy policy, and via the launch of a “capital union”. Moreover the Commission is using its right to withdraw proposals for its own political ends: they will withdraw a proposal if the outcome of negotiations between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, who between us decide the final text, doesn’t suit them.’

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Jasper van Dijk: government needs to maintain credibility when it comes to schools in war zones

16 Dec 2014It’s beyond comprehension that the government has withdrawn from the struggle against the misuse of schools in times of war, says Jasper van Dijk.

The government must stay active internationally to back the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. In addition it should itself adopt the Guidelines in its military policy, doctrine and training. If not, it will have little remaining credibility as a leader in the struggle for peace and justice globally.

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‘Accepted but unwanted’: refugees from Syria seek aid in Turkey

11 Dec 2014Party Secretary Hans van Heijningen and Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut recently visited South-Eastern Turkey in order to see with their own eyes the situation of refugees there. Reporting on the visit, Van Heijningen says that ‘the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the flood of refugees which this has brought about have put the fragile peace process between Kurds and Turks under ever greater pressure.’

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SP: EU shouldn’t let up on the fight against corruption

3 Dec 2014According to those responding to the survey by Transparency International (TI) published today, ‘Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014’, corruption has somewhat declined within the EU. Commenting on the findings, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says that while ‘in itself this is good news’, nevertheless ‘the scores for countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Italy remain well below an acceptable level. Moreover, TI points out and with good reason that countries with good results can at the same time be giving wide leeway to multinationals to employ bribery elsewhere.’ De Jong will shortly be producing a new version of the action plan against corruption that he drew up with a group of like-minded MEPs in 2011, a plan which inspired the last European Commission to publish its own report on corruption.

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Closed! Israel refuses access to Gaza to Council of Europe delegation

1 Dec 2014Going back on previous agreements, Israel today refused access to Gaza to a delegation from the Council of Europe. The delegation, which wanted to look for itself at the results of the summer war, handed an official protest to the Israeli government and Parliament (the Knesset). SP Senator Tiny Kox, who was on the delegation, said that ‘Israel has closed Gaza to us. That’s in conflict with the rules of our Assembly, in which Knesset Members also take part as observers. Moreover, it’s counterproductive. People who close the door evidently have something to hide.’

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SP Senator Kox: 'Palestinians hope that Europe will now press on'

30 Nov 2014In Palestine hope is growing that European countries and the European Union will now press on with recognising their country and in so doing exert pressure on Israel to bring an end to almost fifty years of occupation of Palestinian territories. This was Senator Tiny Kox’s view of the situation during a Council of Europe working visit to Palestine and Israel.

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Invest, yes – but not Juncker-style

30 Nov 2014For years, the SP has been demanding an end to budgetary fetishism and a commitment instead to investment. Friend and foe now admit that we were right, that the current period of stagnating growth and mass unemployment is a direct consequence of wrongheaded policies that have eyes only for budgetary deficits. Even new European Commission president Jean-Claude acknowledges that something must be done. His plans for a ‘European Investment Fund’ don’t measure up, however. They lead indeed to more power for this same Commission.

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Kox welcomes pope’s message on poverty

26 Nov 2014SP Senator Tiny Kox has welcomed Pope Francis’ message to Europe delivered last week in Strasbourg. ‘During his speeches last week to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe, the Pope pulled no punches when it came to growing poverty, exclusion and indifference in Europe,’ says Kox. ‘Full of conviction he made it clear that human rights were incompatible with such injustice.’ The leader of the Catholic world took a position in plain language against the arms trade, people trafficking and the dominant influence of multinationals in politics and society. ‘I’d like to see European heads of government who dared to express themselves in such clear terms,’ adds Kox. ‘But at the moment they’re pretty thin on the ground.’

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