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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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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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Fresh approach needed to economic crisis and international chaos

14 Oct 2014According to Tiny Kox, leader of the SP group in the Senate, a different approach is needed to the economic crisis and to international chaos, including from the Dutch government. The Senate is at the moment debating the budget for 2015 with the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who will shortly be taking up his post as a European Commissioner. The SP’s position is that it does not want to bear any responsibility for the plans as laid down. ‘The slogan of the plans is “out of the shadow of the crisis” but as so many Netherlands are left out in the cold, that is in our view not going to happen,’ says Kox. ‘This budget is a missed chance for a better future for everyone.’

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Bosnian mistrust of democratic institutions a threat to stability

14 Oct 2014'Last Sunday Bosnia elected three presidents and the country’s parliament, two regional parliaments and a new president of Republika Serbska, which together with the Bosnian-Croatian Federation forms the State of Bosnia,’ says Senator Kox. ‘These elections in no sense led to any enthusiasm amongst the population. Half of them stayed at home, while the other half voted without any belief in change occurring as a result. Faith in democratic institutions has largely disappeared. That’s dangerous.’

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