EU must demand ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal from Gaza

18 Jul 2014Yesterday Israel began a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. Halfway through the evening, thousands of soldiers crossed the border into Gaza. Infantry and tank units were amongst those involved. In the view of SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, the international community cannot ignore what is becoming a serious escalation of the conflict. 'The EU is an important partner to both Israel and the Palestinians,’ he notes. ‘This involvement means that the EU must demand an immediate ceasefire and Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.'

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SP leader: Mourning for victims of Flight MH17 and condolences to their families and friends

18 Jul 2014SP leader Emile Roemer describes himself as ‘shocked and distressed’ over the tragic news about the downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine. ‘This is news to leave you speechless,’ he says. ‘So many victims, what a tragedy. The SP sends condolences to those left behind and mourns the victims. All our thoughts are with those who have lost a family member or friend. ‘

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Flight MH17: SP Senate chair ‘horrified’ by death of Labour Senator Willem Witteveen

18 Jul 2014Amongst the victims of the disaster which overtook Flight MH17 was PvdA (Labour Party) Senator Willem Witteveen. Tiny Kox, who chairs the SP group in the Senate, reacted with shock to the news. 'I was with horrified to hear that my fellow Senate member Willem Witteveen was among the victims of the air crash over Ukraine,’ he said. ‘Dead probably due to a civil war which should never have begun which should certainly stop immediately. That’s a massive responsibility for all those involved. Willem was always a wise and congenial colleague in the Senate with whom we could invariably get along. It’s a great loss for those close to him and for the Senate and the PvdA group.’  

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Council of Europe and Russia meet on restoring relations

16 Jul 2014The president of the Russian State Duma – the national parliament – and the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will together be looking into the question of how severed relations between the Duma and PACE – which represents all of Europe’s parliaments - can be restored. So promised Duma president Sergey Naryshkin in Moscow this week, to three of PACE’s political group presidents, including SP Senator Tiny Kox, who heads the United European Left group. Pronouncing himself happy with the outcome, Kox said: ‘In times of crisis parliamentarians must not exclude each other but look for solutions together. That is the meaning of parliamentary diplomacy.’

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Van Bommel: Put more pressure on Israel and Palestine to agree cease-fire

10 Jul 2014SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is questioning Israel’s military reaction to the death of three Israeli teenagers and is also critical of the rocket attacks launched from Gaza. Van Bommel condemns the Palestinian attacks but does not accept that the Israeli reaction is in proportion. He is in addition concerned about Israel’s announcement of an incursion into the Gaza Strip. He has put a written question to Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, asking him to exert more pressure on both parties via the EU to impose a cease-fire.

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Thoughts on Thomas Piketty: There are two kinds of economist

4 Jul 2014Sometimes I feel just like a tee-shirt which has been lying for a long time in the cupboard and has suddenly come back into fashion. Many people have seen how inequality has grown and the consequences this has had for society. Now Thomas Piketty, a French economist, is saying it – in the language of economists. And these huge contradictions are also being taken seriously in politics. Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a classic book on economics, but also an item of clothing that has been taken out of the cupboard at just the right moment.

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