SP International

Harry van Bommel: Foreign Minister must recognise Palestinian state

29 Oct 2014Van Bommel: Get serious about a two state solution by recognising Palestine (photo: Rusty Stewart, CC by-nc-nd/2.0)

Good exanples should be followed: the Netherlands must emulate other European countries and recognise the Palestinian state, argues Harry van Bommel.

The new centre-left government in Sweden recently made it clear that they wished to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. The British House of Commons has expressed the same desire. A handful of EU countries, including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia already recognise Palestine, but this dates to before they joined the EU. If the new Swedish government carries out its intention, Sweden will be the first country in its capacity as an EU member state to recognise Palestine. I very much hope that this good example will quickly be followed in Europe, starting with Dutch recognition.

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Van Bommel: Use of cluster bombs in Ukraine unacceptable

22 Oct 2014The use of cluster munition in populated areas is under all circumstances unacceptable. This was SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel’s reaction to the news that the Ukrainian army had deployed these weapons. Van Bommel is urging the Dutch government to reprimand Ukraine.

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SP votes to reject Juncker team

22 Oct 2014The SP delegation in the European Parliament today voted against the appointment of the new European Commission under the leadership of Jean-Claude Juncker. Explaining the decision, SP delegation leader Dennis de Jong said ‘The Juncker team is unfortunately no break with the past. Budget fetishism, which has led to the current economic stagnation in Europe, will simply be continued. Moreover, Juncker has announced that in the policy areas of energy, foreign affairs and defence he wants more Brussels rather than less. Also, this team consists once again of people who are never satisfied with how much power they have. No heed has been paid to the message which those who voted in the European elections sent: less power to Brussels.’

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Wisdom disappears in the back rooms of compromise and game-playing

21 Oct 2014 
Dennis de Jong in conversation with Alex Brenninkmeijer
additional text by Claire Jansen


Dr Alex Brenninkmeijer, formerly the Netherlands’ national ombudsman has since 1 January 2014 been the Dutch member of the European Court of Auditors. Brenninkmeijer is a big supporter of more transparency within the EU and its institutions, a subject on which he spoke recently at a meeting organised by the SP’s European Parliament group. That is why the SP enthusiastically supported both his candidature for the office of European Ombudsman and his candidature for the European Court of Auditors. The latter was successful, and SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong spoke with Brenninkmeijer about the accountability of European Union finances just after his appointment to the Court of Auditors. That this accountability must be improved and above all be made clearer was a conclusion they both shared. Below is a report of their dialogue.

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‘The Netherlands must bring knowledge and expertise to the fight against Ebola’

21 Oct 2014The Netherlands must contribute far more in the struggle against Ebola. This was the reaction of SP Member of Parliament Henk van Gerven to news of the ever-increasing numbers of victims. The outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has already taken the lives of more than 4,500 people and the end is nowhere in sight. Aid came far too late and took too long to get going.

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Mission impossible in Mali

20 Oct 2014SP Member of Parliament and spokesman on defence issues Jasper van Dijk on a working visit in Mali

Fleeing Chinese guards, broken toilets, the UN as 'black-box'. The Mali military mission is no bed of roses. SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk paid a working visit to Dutch soldiers. Below are his impressions.

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Minister must allow experiments with regulated cultivation of cannabis

18 Oct 2014Anyone who says, as Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten does, that the regulation of soft drugs – rather than an absolute ban – is in conflict with international treaties, should take a closer look at the history of how these treaties came to be, as well as treaty law and international developments.

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Juncker to clip wings of Transatlantic Treaty

18 Oct 2014President-elect of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker wants to see the controversial dispute resolution system ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) eliminated from the free trade treaty between the US and the EU currently being negotiated, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. His views were discovered by Dutch journalist Caroline de Gruyter of leading daily paper NRC when she spoke with him last Wednesday, when Juncker also said that he was looking to win back the public’s confidence. The SP has a few questions.

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SP: limit must be put on MEPs’ extra earnings

14 Oct 2014The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) today launched ‘EU Integrity Watch’, a database giving details about the moonlighting jobs held by Euro-MPs. Commenting on the initiative, one of SP’s own MEPs, Dennis de Jong, said ‘A few years ago I contributed to the writing of the Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament. With this we wanted to put an end to all forms of corruption and shady practices by Euro-MPs and in particular to prevent conflicts of interest. TI’s overview shows that Euro-MPs, over and above their more than ample salaries and expenses, moonlight for thousands of euros per month. I want as quickly as possible an end to be put to this by the imposition of a limit on such earnings. In addition, when reports are allocated to Members we need to take a much closer look at where they are getting their additional earnings. MEPs should not be writing reports on subjects in which as a result of their sidelines they have a personal interest.’

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