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European Commission threatens to leave small firms in the lurch


23 Nov 2014Michaël van Straalen, president of MKB-Nederland, which represents small and medium-sized Dutch firms, during the SP’s day for smaller businesses

Since 2009 the Commission has been examining new legislation for its effects on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This ‘SME test’ forms part of the impact assessment which the Commission must in principle attach to every proposal. Evidently the Commission finds all of this work too much, because in new guidelines the SME test no longer forms an obligatory part of the impact assessment. Chances are then that the interests of small firms will be overshadowed, but we are not simply going to let this happen. In a motion which will be voted on this week in Strasbourg, we attempt to make it the Commission’s duty to perform an SME impact assessment on all new proposals. The SP stands up for the interests of the smaller business.

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Harry van Bommel: Does Foreign Minister Koenders really want to get rid of nuclear weapons?

20 Nov 2014Do you really want to get rid of nuclear weapons? I put this question this week to the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders. I remember very well the backbench Member of Parliament Bert Koenders who advocated the removal of nuclear weapons from the whole of Europe and a change to NATO’s nuclear strategy. As an MP Koenders wanted to ensure that NATO would never be the first party to a conflict to use nuclear weapons, by means of what is known as a 'no first use declaration’. Now he himself sits at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he can make the difference.

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Kox: ‘European diplomacy is not about making friends but reducing animosity’

18 Nov 2014'The Council of Europe must make better use of the possibilities that it has to act against the current crisis in Ukraine and the threat of a new Cold War. Too much is now being left to the European Union and the United States, who are clearly not in a position to bring about reconciliation. A treaty organisation of which every European country is a member has the right to call those members to account over their obligations under the treaty in order to preserve peace and protect wellbeing.’ So said SP Senator Tiny Kox following discussions in Brussels.

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SP Senator Kox: Isolating Russia would be dangerous

14 Nov 2014The Council of Europe is continuing to seek a means of restoring cooperation with the State Duma - the Russian Parliament - within Europe’s biggest and oldest treaty organisation, according to SP Senator Tiny Kox. Kox’s statement followed discussions this week in Moscow with the leadership of the State Duma and the Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

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'Honest firms and ordinary citizens are the victims of multinationals' tax evasion'

5 Nov 2014Because multinational corporations are having to pay less and less tax on their profits, ordinary citizens and small and medium-sized businesses must dig ever deeper.

This is confirmed by the Netherlands’ National Auditors following a comprehensive investigation into tax evasion by multinationals carried out on the initiative of the SP and the small parliamentary party the Green Left. According to the Auditors, when it comes to rates of tax on multinationals the Netherlands can even be compared to the notorious tax haven Luxembourg.

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SP: Take the European Court of Auditors seriously – end the senseless back and forth of money

5 Nov 2014For the 20th time in succession the European Court of Auditors has responded negatively to the European Commission’s budgetary accounts. The Court of Auditors’ report is alarming. With the revelations of a large number of irregularities at the Commission it is becoming ever clearer that for some time not all of the money has gone where it was intended to go.

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